MWC Game Preview: No. 21 Boise State vs. Wyoming

Otto Kitsinger III

The Boise State Broncos (6-1, 3-0) travel to Laramie to take on the Wyoming Cowboys (1-6, 0-3) at War Memorial Stadium Saturday in what is expected to be a very scrappy game on the CBS Sports Network.

WEEK 9: Boise State Broncos vs. Wyoming Cowboys

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, 1:30 PM MT

WHERE: War Memorial Stadium (29,181)

CONFERENCES: Mountain West Conference

WEB SITES: Boise State, Wyoming

2012 SEASON: Boise State, 6-1, 3-0 MWC | Wyoming, 1-6, 0-3 MWC

COACHES: Wyoming: Pete Kaligis (in for Dave Christensen) | Boise State: Chris Petersen 79-7 at BSU (7th year).

TV: CBS Sports Network.

RADIO: Boise: KBOI 670 AM, KKGL 96.9 FM. Laramie: Cowboy Sports Network (25 stations); KFBC 1240 AM in Cheyenne, Wyo. (Flagship Station).

ONLINE: GameTracker

SERIES RECORD: 6th meeting. Boise State leads series 6-0.

LAST MEETING: November 26, 2011, in Boise, ID., WYO 14, BSU 36.

When the Boise State Broncos (6-1, 3-0) travel to Laramie to take on the host the Wyoming Cowboys (1-6, 0-3) at War Memorial Stadium Saturday Wyoming will be playing without head football coach Dave Christensen. He has been suspended for the game at a time when his team is facing one of their toughest opponents of the season at home. Instead, assistant head coach Pete Kaligis will be on the sidelines calling the shots for the Cowboys and that could prove problematic for the Broncos who won't know what expect in the play action of Kaligis and his other coaches.
There just might be some unexpected fireworks to ignite the Poke Nation.

But the basics will probably still be there. Wyoming will prefer to go with two quarterbacks and will use both sophomore Brett Smith, 6-3, 195 lbs, and freshman Jason Thompson, 6-2, 205 lbs, in their lineup. And why not? Together, they have thrown for 1,567 yards and 15 TD's because the Pokes also have a nice cadre if receivers. Six of them have at least 10 catches each. Two of those are WR Chris Neill, 6-1, 180 lbs, and Dominic Rufran, 6-0, 185 lbs, who are both making significant catches this year.

But the Cowboys passing game will need to get by the 6th ranked Broncos defense. That defense is only allowing 158 yards per game and given up a miserly average of 13.5 points per game. And don't expect the Cowboys to be able to muscle their way past the Boise State D-line. In the past two games the Broncos held Fresno State to 56 rushing yards and last weekend held UNLV to 139. But it took 42 carries for UNLV to get there.

But that doesn't mean Wyoming can't get that job done, either. They have several runners who could bust out for big yardage: D.J. May, 5-11, 190 lbs, for one and Shaun Wick, 5-10, 190 lbs, for another. Boise State head coach Chris Petersen and his Broncos can't afford to let their guard down. Four of Boise State's first seven games have been very close this season.

That is why Wyoming's struggling defense could be the greatest hope for success against the Broncos' once high-scoring offense. There is a whole new look to the Boise State offensive squad with new OC Robert Prince at the helm. Without a superstar QB in the lineup, the whole program has been revamping and rebuilding around QB Joe Southwick, 6-1, 187 lbs. So far this season he is 129 of 199 for 1,480 yards. That includes 9 TD's with 5 interceptions. You have to think he will be looking to post some good passing numbers against a very mediocre Wyoming defense who has given up an average of 34 points per game this season. And that could be key for the Pokes to coalesce around.

But the danger the Cowboys need to be aware of is the more balanced Boise State offense can catch them off guard. Specifically, the Broncos have employed a very successful running game this season. Their ground attack is led by RB D.J. Harper, 5-9, 205 lbs, and backed up by rising star RB Jay Ajayi, 6-2, 222 lbs.
And the danger to the Broncos is what new game angle Kaligis and his band of coaching brothers will bring to the field. The Broncos seem to expect that, however.

"In our conference, I believe we're the best," Boise State senior nickel Dextrell Simmons said. "I think every other team thinks that too, so they're going to give it their all. We're not going to get poor effort from Wyoming. I know they're going to come out with everything they have."

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