BOISE, Idaho — Less than a week after clinching the Mountain Division title, the Boise State football team will play its final game of the regular season on the road against Colorado State.
The No. 20 Broncos (10-1, 7-0 MWC) and Rams (4-7, 3-4) will kick off Friday at 1:30 p.m. Mountain Time. The game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.
Boise State's 56-21 victory over Utah State last Saturday guaranteed that the team will host its third straight Mountain West Championship game, set for Dec. 7 against Hawaii, which secured its spot in the title game by beating San Diego State last weekend.
Despite an 8-0 all-time record against the Rams, and having already locked down their bid to the title game, Boise State coach Bryan Harsin insisted on Monday that his team is motivated for Friday's tilt in Fort Collins.
"The 2019 Broncos have a chance to something that no other Boise State team has ever done - they can go undefeated in conference play in the Mountain West for the first time," Harsin said. "When you get a chance to do something for the first time, if that doesn't fire you up as a competitor, then something is wrong with you.
"We’re back on the road," Harsin added. "We don’t underestimate that."
If the Broncos need more motivation, there is still the possibility that they could earn a bid to one of the prestigious New Years Six bowl games. They'll need to be the highest ranked Group of Five conference champion, and will need to win this week and next to keep that dream alive.
As for Colorado State, which will not be bowl-eligible even with a win against the Broncos, this will be the final game of the season. They will be playing for pride, and trying to send their seniors off on a high note.
Coach Mike Bobo said on Monday that facing a ranked team at Canvas Stadium creates its own incentive for his players.
“It’s a big, big test for our team,” Bobo said. “But we’re excited to have at least one more opportunity and hopefully end the season on some kind of positive note.
"Any time you’re playing somebody that’s considered one of the best teams in the country, I think that gives you an extra incentive as a football team to go out and prove that you can play with anybody," he added.
Junior quarterback Patrick O'Brien said the Rams are treating this game like a bowl game.
"It’s an opportunity for us to show what type of football team we are and play well against a really good opponent," he said.
Sophomore linebacker Dequan Jackson was a bit more direct.
"We’ve got plans on upsetting them," he said.
Boise State at Colorado State
- Friday, Nov. 29
- Canvas Stadium, Fort Collins, Colorado
- Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. MT
- Weather: Cloudy, 36 degrees at kickoff
The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network (Rich Waltz, Aaron Murray, AJ Ross), which can be found on the following channels:
- Sparklight (formerly Cable One): Channel 139 / 1139 (HD)
- DirecTV: Channel 221
- Dish Network: Channel 158
- Cox: Channel 234
Live streams of games televised on CBS Sports Network are available on fuboTV. The service offers a free 7-day trial.
ON THE RADIO
Fans can listen to the game on the Bronco Radio Network (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender), which can be found online or on the following stations in the Boise area:
- KBOI 670 AM in Boise
- KTIK 93.1 FM in Boise
- KDZY 98.3 FM in McCall
- KSNQ 98.3 FM in Twin Falls
Here is a list of Bronco Radio Network stations outside the Boise area.
BRONCO ROUNDUP GAME DAY
KTVB's Bronco Roundup Game Day show will be live from Canvas Stadium before the game from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KTVB, KTVB.COM, and in the Bronco Roundup app. A second live show will air online and on 24/7 (digital channel 7.2) from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Join Jay Tust and Will Hall for a look at all of the major storylines surrounding this matchup.
POLL POSITION & NY6 CHANCES
Boise State held steady at No. 20 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, released Tuesday evening. The Broncos are sitting directly behind No. 18 Memphis and No. 19 Cincinnati, both of the American Athletic Conference. All three teams are still in play for a New Years Six bowl berth, which goes to the highest-ranked Group of Five conference champion.
If the Broncos hope to make the Cotton Bowl this year, they will need to win this week at Colorado State and next week in the Mountain West Conference championship game. They'll also need some help from the aforementioned AAC teams. The Tigers and Bearcats are set to play Friday afternoon in their respective regular season finales. With a win against the Rams, the Broncos will likely jump the loser of the Memphis-Cincinnati game but remain behind the winner.
Those two teams are expected to play again the very next week in the conference championship game. The best case scenario for the Broncos would be for Cincinnati and Memphis to split the wins in their final two games.
Week 14 College Football Playoff Rankings:
- Ohio State, 11-0
- LSU, 11-0
- Clemson, 11-0
- Georgia, 10-1
- Alabama, 10-1
- Utah, 10-1
- Oklahoma, 10-1
- Minnesota, 10-1
- Baylor, 10-1
- Penn State, 9-2
- Florida, 9-2
- Wisconsin, 9-2
- Michigan, 9-2
- Oregon, 9-2
- Auburn, 8-3
- Notre Dame, 9-2
- Iowa, 8-3
- Memphis, 10-1
- Cincinnati, 10-1
- Boise State, 10-1
- Oklahoma State, 8-3
- USC, 8-4
- Iowa State, 7-4
- Virginia Tech, 8-3
- Appalachian State, 10-1
CLOSING IN ON 1,000
An ongoing topic of conversation among sports media and fans this season has been the Broncos' national-best streak of 1,000-yard rushers.
Up until last weekend, it was looking as though that streak would end at 10 straight seasons. That is, until George Holani went off on Utah State to the tune of 178 yards on 16 carries. He also picked up two touchdowns in the 56-21 win over the Aggies.
The performance put the true freshman within striking distance of the magic number. He needs just 130 yards over the next three games - an average of 44 yards per game - to reach 1,000 yards rushing this season.
On Tuesday, Holani gave his first interview since arriving on campus. He talked about what he has learned from the other Bronco running backs and the importance of keeping the rushing streak alive.
"Coming into Boise, I knew it was like running back university," Holani said. "They produce a lot of great running backs like Jay Ajayi, Doug Martin and these other great running backs."
Over the past five games, Holani has become the Broncos' feature back, rushing for 501 yards and six touchdowns.
"Coach is always emphasizing that practice performance equals game reality, so just going out there and practicing hard, it means a lot," Holani said. "A big opportunity this week going into this game and just trying to get that 1,000-yard mark and just hit it."
WHO WILL START AT QB?
Through 11 games so far this season, the Broncos have started three different quarterbacks, with Hank Bachmeier, Chase Cord and Jaylon Henderson each displaying the ability to lead the team to victory.
After Bachmeier and Cord were sidelined with injuries earlier this month, Henderson stepped in, completing 31 of 56 passes for 479 yards, 6 touchdowns and 1 interception combined in blowout wins over New Mexico and Utah State. He also had a combined 53 rushing yards in the two contests.
Both Bachmeier and Cord were suited up and on the sideline for the two games that Henderson started.
On Monday, coach Bryan Harsin declined to give an update on injuries, other than to say, "no season-ending injuries."
So the question heading into the regular season finale is the same as it was last week. Who will start at QB for the Broncos?
Harsin could opt to stay with the hot hand and give a third straight start to Henderson. But if Bachmeier is 100% healthy, it would be difficult to sit him.
We likely find out the answer shortly before kickoff on Friday.
The Broncos and Rams have played eight times with the Broncos winning each contest between the two teams. The first game came in 2011 (a 63-13 win in Fort Collins), Boise State's first season in the Mountain West.
The most memorable game in the series was also played in Fort Collins. In 2017, the Broncos had claw their way back from a 25-point deficit to beat the Rams in overtime.
KTVB sports analyst Tom Scott takes a trip down memory lane in his Scott Slant column:
"The Broncos had a pretty good team two years ago. Heck, they went 11-3 and roughed up Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl. But on Veterans Day that season, they endured a punch-in-the-mouth drive and fell behind Colorado State 7-0. Then came a second one, and a third one, and a fourth one, and a fifth one. The Rams were having their way, racking up 335 first-half yards. Boise State clawed its way back into the game, but found itself trailing 52-38 with three minutes left. Then, two Brett Rypien touchdown passes sandwiched around a stunning onside kick recovery by Cedrick Wilson allowed for a 59-52 win in OT."
Boise State's all-time record against Colorado State:
- Oct. 19, 2018 - W - 56-28 (Boise)
- Nov. 11, 2017 - W, 59-52 (OT) (Fort Collins)
- Oct. 15, 2016 - W, 28-23 (Boise)
- Oct. 10, 2015 - W, 41-10 (Fort Collins)
- Sept. 6, 2014 - W, 37-24 (Boise)
- Nov. 2, 2013 - W, 42-30 (Fort Collins)
- Nov. 17, 2012 - W, 42-14 (Boise)
- Oct. 15, 2011 - W, 63-13 (Fort Collins)
Watch more Boise State Football:
See them all in our YouTube Playlist: