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Jay Tust breaks down the stats behind the changes on Boise State's roster

Jay Tust breaks down what injuries on defense mean for the Broncos and the changes the team is making in the trenches.
Credit: Rick Bowmer/AP Photo
Boise State safety Alexander Teubner celebrates a fumble recovery against BYU during an NCAA game Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Provo, Utah. Boise State won 26-17.

BOISE, Idaho — After six weeks of the college football regular season, the Boise State Broncos will enter conference play riding a wave of momentum from their 26-17 win over previously No. 10 BYU last week.

On Saturday, Oct. 16, the Broncos (3-3, 1-1) will host the Air Force Falcons (5-1, 2-1) on The Blue at 7 p.m. The game will be nationally televised on Fox Sports 1. Click or tap here to find more details on how to keep up with Boise State's week seven conference matchup.

Before the Broncos take on the Falcons on Saturday, here are some of the biggest stats and storylines that Bronco Nation should know.

JUST WIN, BABY

The Boise State football team improved to 8-4 all-time against BYU and got back to .500 on games played in Provo, with a 26-17 victory last Saturday.

The Broncos pulled off something few have been able to against the Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium: Winning without a ton of total yards.

BYU has a 46-4 record at home when they hold opposing offenses under 320 total yards, dating back to the beginning of the 2005 season.

Two of those losses came against Boise State in the last five years:

  • 2017: BSU - W, 24-7 (300 total yards)
  • 2021: BSU - W, 26-17 (312 total yards)

With favorable field position most of the game due to forced turnovers, the Broncos only accumulated 312 total yards of offense. It’s just the eighth time in the last 21 seasons that Boise State has gone on the road and won with under 340 total yards.

SPEAKING OF TURNOVERS

In addition to their two failed attempts on fourth down, BYU also turnover the ball over four times on Saturday. Boise State improved to 89-6 since 2000 when they get at least three turnovers in a game, something they have done in each of their wins this season.

CHANGES IN THE SECONDARY 

On Monday, Boise State head football coach Andy Avalos confirmed that starting cornerback Markel Reed will miss the remainder of the season with an injury.

Reed added in an Instagram post that he tore his ACL during practice, but vowed to come back "strong and better."

Reed started four of the first five games this season. He was limited against Utah State and didn't play at all this last weekend against BYU.

The loss of Reed sparked a number of changes on the depth chart. Senior Caleb Biggers, a transfer from Bowling Green, moves from the backup at field corner to the start at the boundary position.

Explainer: Depending on the location of where the ball is spotted, the field corner plays on the wide side of the field, while the boundary plays on the smaller side.

Senior Damon Cole will continue to back up the boundary corner, meanwhile, redshirt freshmen Kaonohi Kaniho and Semaj Verner will back up start Tyric LeBeauf at field corner. It's worth noting that Verner is still listed as a safety on the Boise State roster.

THE UPDATE ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE - FINALLY

The Broncos debuted a new starting five on the offensive line against Nevada, but leading up to the BYU game the depth chart remained unaltered.

Senior John Ojukwu remains at left tackle, but right guard Jake Stetz has transitioned to left guard with Will Farrar sliding over to center. Senior Uzo Osuji was inserted into the starting lineup at right tackle, bumping Ben Dooley inside to right guard.

Offensive line coach Tim Keane explained this week that they've just been trying to get the five guys with the best chemistry on the field at the same time.

"The big thing is establishing our mentality. As coaches, we get locked into scheme and footwork and technique," offensive line coach Tim Keane explained. "But we just want those guys to play extremely confident."

Behind the starters, Dallas Holliday has following Stetz from right guard to left guard, Donte Harrington will serve as the second-string center, and Jacob Golden will be the primary backup at the left and right tackle position, along with the right guard.

Both center Kekaniokoa Holomalia-Gonzalez and Garrett Curran were removed from the two-deep as well.

RUNNIN’ RUNNIN’

Boise State picked up 140 net rushing yards on 40 carries against BYU. As a result, the Broncos improved to 56-7 over the last decade, and 2-0 this season, when the totals up at least 40 carries as a team.

Seniors Cyrus Habibi-Likio and Andrew Van Buren split duties against the Cougars. Each finished with 18 carries. Habibi-Likio had 75 yards and a score, while Van Buren finished with 60 yards and a touchdown.

They became the first Bronco duo with at least 60 yards rushing in the same game since sophomore George Holani (28 carries, 126 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Van Buren (9-85-1) did it against SJSU on Nov. 11, 2019.

Habibi Likio also had a career-high five receptions for 32 yards.

Here is a list of Boise State players with at least five catches and 75-or-more rushing yards in a single game since 2000:

  • Alexander Mattison
  • Jeremy McNichols (7x)
  • Jay Ajayi (4x)
  • Jeremy Avery
  • Brock Forsey (4x)

Habibi-Likio joins Forsey as the only players to accomplish the feat on the road against an opponent with a winning record.

ONE CHANGE ON THE DEFENSIVE LINE

For the first time this season, nose tackle Divine Obichere wasn't listed on the depth chart. Instead, freshman Herbert Gums, who made his 2021 debut against BYU, will back up junior Jackson Cravens at nose tackle.

Obichere played in the first three games of the season, but an injury has limited him ever since.

Due to injuries and other circumstances, heading into Week 7 of the season, Boise State has made 20 total changes to the original two-deep depth chart that was revealed prior to the season-opener.

GREAT SCOTT!

Junior defensive tackle Scott Matlock continues to have a phenomenal season. He has five tackles and a sack against BYU, which mimicked a stat line he had three weeks ago at Utah State.

Over the last two decades, eight different Broncos have recorded at least five tackles and one sack multiple times in a single season.

The only defensive lineman to do it?

  • Tyrone Crawford, 2011 (4x)
  • Andrew Browning, 2006 (3x)
  • Shea McClellin, 2011 (2x)

JUST KICKIN’ IT

In the last 12 months, sophomore Jonah Dalmas has gone from a walk-on fighting for a roster spot to one of the best place-kickers in the country.

Dalmas went 4-for-4 on field-goal attempts against BYU. He also went 4-for-4 against UTEP earlier this season. Over the last 20 seasons, there have only been nine occasions where a Boise State kicker has booted four or more field goals through the uprights in a single game.

He’s one of only three kickers in all of college football to do that this season.

The last Bronco with multiple games of 4+ field goals in a single season? Tyler Jones in 2004.

Dalmas is now ranked No. 2 in the FBS in field goals made (14) and field goal attempts (16), and he leads the Mountain West with 63 points this fall.

Editor's Note: To never miss a beat of Boise State football news this season, make sure to download the KTVB app for the latest updates, stories and scores.

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