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Enemy Scouting Report: Boise State Broncos

Boise State comes to Provo to take on a top 10 BYU team. How can the Cougars avoid the big upset?

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Game location: LaVell Edwards Stadium- Provo, UT

Game time/channel: 1:30 PM MDT/ABC

Spread: -5.5 (BYU)

Head coach: Andy Avalos

Former head coach Bryan Harsin jumped ship to take the head job at Auburn after seven seasons in Boise. Avalos played for Boise State from 2001-2004 and was on Boise State’s coaching staff from 2012-2018. He spent two seasons as Oregon’s defensive coordinator before returning to Boise State to take over as head coach.

2021 Season Thus Far

The last time Boise State started 2-3 was 2001. Certainly, times are different in Boise. It seems like, for now, the days of them consistently competing for a New Year’s Six bowl are put on pause. They last went to a New Year’s Six bowl in 2014, Harsin’s second season.

They started the season with a tough loss across the country to UCF. They had a 24-7 lead late in the second quarter and squandered it, losing 36-31. Boise State then dispatched of UTEP before dropping a tough game to Oklahoma State after failing to score in the second half.

The one common opponent between BYU and Boise State is Utah State. BYU is coming off of a 34-20 victory against the Aggies. The week before, the Broncos stifled Utah State in Logan, 27-3.

Last week in Boise, the Broncos struggled to stop Nevada’s high-powered offensive attack. Boise State committed three turnovers and looked uncharacteristically flat and undisciplined on their home blue turf in a 41-31 loss.

2021 Team Rankings

Scoring offense: 45th

Total offense: 74th

Passing yards: 18th

Rushing yards: 124th

Scoring defense: 57th

Total defense: 96th

Pass yards allowed: 62nd

Rush yards allowed: 107th

Penalty yards: 39th

Biggest Strength- Passing offense

Hank Bachmeier is the latest of a long string of solid quarterbacks to play at Boise State. With injuries, he is yet to play a full season for the Broncos. This year, in five games, he has amassed 1,520 passing yards, which is the ninth-most in the country, with 11 touchdowns against four interceptions.

Boise State ranks 18th in passing yards per game. They also have several solid receivers, starting with Khalil Shakir. His 518 receiving yards ranks 10th in the entire country. The Broncos have three receivers with at least 200 receiving yards through five games.

Biggest Weakness- Run Defense

This is a weakness BYU should be able to exploit to the fullest. Boise State ranks 107th in rushing yards allowed per game and 98th in yards per carry allowed. UCF, Oklahoma State, and Utah State all ran for at least 230 yards on the Boise State defense.

It just so happens that BYU has one of the most physical and grueling run games in the country, led by the bowling ball that is Tyler Allgeier at running back.

Best Player- Hank Bachmeier, QB

As mentioned, Bachmeier ranks in the top 10 in several passing categories. He has a solid arm and distributes the football with efficiency. BYU’s pass defense ranks 99th in the country and will need to be on their toes.

How BYU Can Win

The formula seems pretty clear. Establish the run early with Allgeier behind that dominant offensive line. This will help them control the clock and keep Bachmeier and the Boise State offense on the sidelines. Plus, nobody outside of the BYU coaching staff knows who is going to start at quarterback for the Cougars on Saturday afternoon. If it’s the freshman Jacob Conover, a physical, effective run game will alleviate the pressure off of him and limit chances for mistakes. As each win mounts for BYU, the target on their backs gets bigger and bigger. They will need to be sharp to beat a cornered Broncos team.