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Game Day Guide: Boise State takes on New Mexico on Senior Night

The Lobos might be struggling again this season, but the Broncos can't afford to overlook their triple-option offense or confusing defensive schemes.

BOISE, Idaho — Editor's Note: The video above originally aired on Nov. 15.

The 2021 college football regular season is drawing to a close already, and few things signify the end like Senior Night. When the Boise State Broncos take to The Blue and play the New Mexico Lobos Saturday night, the football team will honor two dozen seniors.

For those still reeling from the fact that the football season is down to the final two weeks of the regular season, please pause here and regain your bearings before moving along.

Now, Boise State (6-4, 4-2) will host the Lobos (3-7, 1-5) at 7 p.m. MT on Saturday, Nov. 20, at Albertsons Stadium. The game will be nationally televised and streamed on Fox Sports 1. Click or tap here to find out more ways to keep up with the game.

The Lobos might be riding at the back of the struggle bus this season, but neither Bronco Nation nor the team should overlook or underestimate New Mexico.

From New Mexico's triple-option offense to their unique defensive schemes, the Broncos' coaching staff will have their hands full on Saturday night.

Co-defensive coordinator Spencer Danielson said earlier this week that it doesn't matter if they're playing a ranked team or not, everyone will give Boise State their best shot.

"You're going to get everybody's best every single week, and our guys know that," Danielson said during Monday's weekly press conference. "New Mexico, they got some really tough schemes that they'll throw at you, from different ways they run triple option, to different sets."

There are 130 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision. In total scoring offense, New Mexico ranks dead last, with an average of 13.6 points scored per game. New Mexico's total offense ranks 129th in the FBS, averaging a paltry 253.1 yards of offense per game. In their six conference games, the Lobos only scored two touchdowns in a single game twice and averaged 11.5 points per game.

On Saturday night, the Lobos' offense will go up against one of the best defenses in the nation on The Blue, at least in terms of keeping opponents out of the end zone.

The Broncos' scoring defense ranks 22nd in the country, allowing an average of 20.1 points per game, but 70th in total defense, averaging 386.3 yards gained by the opposing offense per game. Through their three-game winning streak, the Broncos' defense has allowed an average of 15.3 points per game.  

New Mexico's triple-option offense may be able to rack up yardage, but will likely run into a brick wall once they reach the red zone, if they do.

New Mexico's scoring defense is tied for 72nd, with an average of 26.9 points allowed per game. On the other side of the ball, Boise State's scoring offense ranks 58th in the FBS, with an average of 29.7 points scored per game. 

While the Lobos' defense may be statistically porous, the Broncos' coaching staff isn't underestimating New Mexico defensive coordinator Rocky Long, the former head coach of the San Diego State Aztecs.

Long, both in San Diego and New Mexico, has utilized a 3-3-5 defensive scheme, which features three defensive linemen, three linebackers and five corners and safeties. The defensive scheme uses quicker, smaller edge rushers and multiple looks, motions and formations to confuse the offensive line and the quarterback.

For a more in-depth analysis of Long's unique 3-3-5 defense, read this deep dive breakdown.

Offensive coordinator Tim Plough said on Monday that he has gone against Long's 3-3-5 defensive when Long was still at San Diego State and he was coaching FCS teams in California. He said he thinks Long is one of the greatest college football coaching minds in history.

"The structure of it doesn't make sense logically sometimes to the quarterback or to the offensive line, because there's so much movement going on that it's not the normal targeting or the normal coverages that you're gonna see," Plough explained. "So what he's done is created a defense that, for them, is very simple, but for the offense is very chaotic."

Head coach Andy Avalos said that he knows the Broncos will have their hands full on Saturday between Rocky Long's unique defense and the triple-option on offense.

"There are going to be challenges that we've got to be ready to handle, and that's what really what we're focusing on," he said during Monday's press conference.

GAME INFORMATION

New Mexico Lobos (3-7, 1-5 MWC) vs. Boise State Broncos (6-4, 4-2 MWC) 

  • Saturday, Nov. 20
  • Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
    • Capacity: 36,387
  • Kickoff: 7 p.m. MT
  • Channel: Fox Sports 1
  • Weather: Kickoff temperature of 42 degrees, 37 degrees with the windchill.

Click or tap here for more ways to watch the game.

ON TV

The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1, which can be found on the following channels:

  • Sparklight (formerly Cable One): Channel 146 / 1146 (HD)
  • DirecTV: Channel 219
  • Dish Network: Channel 150
  • Cox: Channel 78

BRONCO ROUNDUP GAMEDAY

KTVB's Bronco Roundup Game Day show will be live on KTVB Channel 7.1 and KTVB.COM from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. MT Saturday. Join Jay Tust and Will Hall for a look at all of the major storylines surrounding this matchup. KTVB's sports team will feature interviews and updates from former and current players during the show.

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE

KTVB will live stream the postgame press conference on KTVB.COM, the KTVB YouTube channel, and on the KTVB mobile app.

Interviews with coach Andy Avalos and players and/or other members of the coaching staff will be posted online soon after the press conference ends, so Bronco Nation can watch the press conference whenever and wherever they want.

Stay tuned to KTVB.COM after the game for a game recap, highlights, and slideshow from the game.

BRONCOS-LOBOS SERIES

Because of a shortened 2020 regular season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Broncos and Lobos did not play each other for the first time since Boise State joined the Mountain West Conference in 2011.

Before Boise State joined the Mountain West, the Broncos and Lobos only played twice -- in 1999 and 2000. Since then, the series has been an annual matchup, and normally an annual win for the Broncos.

The Broncos are 10-1 all-time against the Lobos, with New Mexico's lone win happening in 2015, when they beat Boise State 31-24 on The Blue. Following the end of that game, the Lobos gathered around on The Blue to take celebratory photos. Since then, Boise State has beaten New Mexico by an average of 26.5 points.

Boise State's all-time record against New Mexico:

  • Nov. 16, 2019 - W - 42-9 (Boise)
  • Nov. 16, 2018 - W - 45-14 (Albuquerque)
  • Sept. 14, 2017 - W - 28-14 (Boise)
  • Oct. 7, 2016 - W - 49-21 (Albuquerque)
  • Nov. 14, 2015 - L - 31-24 (Boise)
  • Nov. 8, 2014 - W - 60-49 (Albuquerque)
  • Nov. 30, 2013 - W - 45-17 (Boise)
  • Sept. 29, 2012 - W - 32-29 (Albuquerque)
  • Dec. 3, 2011 - W - 45-0 (Boise)
  • Sept. 2, 2000 - W - 31-14 (Albuquerque)
  • Sept. 25, 1999 - W - 20-9 (Boise)

SENIOR NIGHT

When the Broncos storm The Blue on Saturday night, it will likely be the last time for two dozen players. On Senior Night, Boise State will be honoring 24 seniors and upperclassmen.

The players who will be honored on Saturday are:

(Alphabetical order by first name, followed by their position)

  • Andrew Van Buren (RB)
  • Aisa Kelemete (DE)
  • Cyrus Habibi-Likio (RB)
  • Caleb Biggers (CB)
  • Damon Cole (CB)
  • Daniel Cantrell (LS)
  • Davis Koetter (WR)
  • Divine Obichere (DT)
  • Donte Harrington (OL)
  • Ezekiel Noa (MLB)
  • Jack Sears (QB)
  • Jake Stetz (OL)
  • Joel Velazquez (P)
  • John Okjukwu (OL)
  • Kekaula Kaniho (Nickel)
  • Khalil Shakir (WR)
  • Kurt Rafdal (TE)
  • Octavius Evans (WR)
  • Riley Whimpey (WLB)
  • Shane Irwin (DE)
  • Tyler Visser (WLB)
  • Tyreque Jones (S)
  • Uzo Osuji (OL)
  • Will Farrar (OL)

Co-defensive coordinator Spencer Danielson said during Monday's press conference that it will be emotional to see some of these players take to The Blue for the final time and to say goodbye to them as they start their next journey.

For head coach Andy Avalos, the seniors have been awesome in how they helped lead the team's turnaround this season.

"It's just -- it's been such an honor, and even the ones that weren't here previous too -- it's been such an honor to be able to spend this year with them and to be able to see their growth over the season and really what they've done to help this team grow here in the last month and a half," Avalos said.

Unlike any other Senior Night, some players who are seniors still have an opportunity to return to Boise State next season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacting Spring sports in 2020, the NCAA gave affected student-athletes another year of eligibility, meaning some players could return next season.

However, the university has not publicly stated which football players intend to stay next season. Scholarships for those who do return for 2022 will count towards the NCAA's limit of 85, so if a player does return to the football program, the team will have fewer scholarships that usually go to new recruits or transfer players.

Bronco Nation may have to wait until the regular season ends and for the Broncos to return from their likely bowl game before individual players begin announcing their intent to stay or leave.

Given the depth on the roster, it may be best if Andy Avalos and his staff can hold onto as many seniors for a fifth, or in some cases, a sixth year with the program, rather than recruiting players who may not see any in-game action for a season or two.

While new, fresh faces every year are part of what makes college football so exciting every season, the Broncos could be saying their final goodbyes to a core group of veterans on the defensive and offensive lines and in the receiving corps. Some players, like Aisa Kelemente, are leaving the program for medical reasons, but others could also leave the Broncos to transfer to a school where they may see more playing time in their last year of college football eligibility.

With so much up in the air for players and coaches when it comes to an additional year of eligibility, the team will honor all designated seniors on Saturday night against the New Mexico Lobos.

During Monday's press conference, head coach Andy Avalos teased some of the Senior Day festivities when he mentioned that Bronco Nation should come early on Saturday to see what they have in store.

"There will be some things too that we are even working to improve for this last opportunity at home in the pregame and what that atmosphere of that environment looks like, so we'd invite everyone out to come out and even get in the stadium a little bit earlier because it is Senior Night," Avalos said. "That's what I'll leave it at for that."

Boise State has won 20 out of its last 21 Senior Nights.

TRAFFIC, PARKING & FREE SHUTTLES

Expect increased traffic on all streets surrounding Boise State before and after the game. University Drive, from Capitol Boulevard to Broadway Avenue, will be congested throughout the morning and afternoon. Because of limited public parking on-campus, fans are encouraged to park off-campus and walk, bike or use a shuttle to get to the game.

Parking in Boise city parks:

Parking is allowed in designated parking spots within Julia Davis Park, Ann Morrison Park, Idaho Fallen Firefighters Memorial Park, and Kristin Armstrong Municipal Park. Parking for Boise State home games is free on a first-come, first-served basis.

Towing will be delayed at those parks until 3 a.m. the following morning regardless of kickoff time.

Overnight parking is prohibited.

Off-campus parking:

The Downtown Boise Association coordinates free shuttle buses from five convenient downtown locations to Albertsons Stadium.

These shuttles run every 15 minutes starting two hours prior to game time, and immediately after the game for one hour.

  • 6th & Grove (Bardenay)
  • 8th & Main (Bronco Shop)
  • 8th & Main (Diablo & Sons)
  • 8th & Broad (Solid Grill & Bar)
  • 6th & Broad (Boise Brewing)
  • River Street between 12th & Ash (Payette Brewing)

Here is more information on the Bronco Gameday Shuttle, and game day parking options.

ENTRY TO THE GAME

Bronco fans should arrive early. Those whose seats are not in the Stueckle Sky Center may enter the stadium through any gate. Fans are encouraged — but not required — to leave their bags at home or in the car. For faster entry into the stadium, come to the game without a bag or bring a clear bag. Prior to entry, fans will pass through metal detectors, and any bags carried in will be subject to search. Remember to leave prohibited items behind, including all weapons, alcohol, glass, and coolers. Face coverings are also required.

BRONCO BASH AT THE ALUMNI AND FRIENDS CENTER

The Bronco Bash at the Alumni and Friends Center is open to Broncos fans three hours prior to every home football game and closes 30 minutes prior to kickoff. The event features a family-friendly atmosphere with live music and activities for all ages.

Returning this year is the Bronco Bash Cash Dash, a series of one-minute challenges, that guests can play to compete for time in the Mountain America Credit Union cash machine, Boise State merchandise and other prizes. Find out more about the Bronco Bash here.

FAN COLOR SCHEME

Credit: Boise State Athletics

For Boise State's home game against New Mexico, Bronco Nation is asked to wear blue when they attend the game at Albertsons Stadium. The fan color scheme for the entire stadium is blue.

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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