Boise State Broncos vs. Colorado State Rams: Game Preview

Hughes Stadium - Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Boise State heads to Fort Collins to take on Colorado State in Mountain West Conference action

WEEK 10: Boise State Broncos vs. Colorado State Rams

WHEN: Saturday, November 2, 6:00 PM MT

WHERE: Hughes Stadium ( 32,500)

CONFERENCES: Mountain West (Mountain Division)

2013 SEASON: Boise State, 5-3, 3-1 MW; Colorado State, 4-4, 2-1 MW

COACHES: Boise State head coach Chris Petersen (89-11); Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain (8-12)

TV: CBS Sports Network

WEB STREAMING: GameTracker

RADIO: Northern Colorado’s Sports Station: ESPN 105.5 in the Fort Collins area--- Bronco Radio Network: KBOI (670 AM) and KKGL (96.9 FM) in the Boise area

SERIES RECORD: 3rd meeting. Boise State is 2-0 against Colorado State

LAST MEETING: 2012, in Bronco Stadium, Boise, ID, Boise State 42, Colorado State, 14

WEB SITES: Boise State official | Colorado State official

The Boise State Broncos and the Colorado State Rams will square off in Fort Collins Saturday night in what could decide the leadership of the Mountain Division. Both are locked in a contest with Utah State to decide who will be challenging the West Division champion for the outright Mountain West Championship title. Boise State is on the road and still recovering from a grueling loss at the hands of the BYU Cougars last Saturday in Provo, while Colorado State is returning home from the Islands with a win over Hawaii.

What to expect when Colorado State has the ball: This game could be decided in the first half if both teams remain true to form. Last week against Hawaii the Rams chalked up 35 points and put up 313 of total offense before halftime. When you consider that the Broncos defense gave up 24 points and 376 total yards to BYU in their own first half last week, you know the Rams coaching staff would like nothing better than a repeat performance by both teams. In each of their past four games the Rams have scored no less than 24 points in the first half. That’s thanks in part to playmaker RB Kapri Bibbs, 5-11, 203 lbs. He toted the ball 33 times for 87 yards in the first half last week and scored 3 TD’s. So far this season Bibbs is averaging 6 yards a carry and has 12 TD’s. That is why he is certain to get a lot of carries right off the bat. Also keep an eye on RB Donnell Alexander, 5-11, 205 lbs. He’s been coming off the bench and getting a few carries lately. In the past four games he ran 34 times for 250 yards, averaging 7.35 yards a pop.

Both of those guys will need to get by Bronco defenders that include C Bryan Douglas, 5-9, 170 lbs, LB Ben Weaver, 6-0, 233 lbs, and DE Demarcus Lawrence, 6-3, 244 lbs. They are the reason you can expect the Rams to balance the run with a few throws from QB Garrett Grayson, 6-2, 220 lbs. He was 15 of 26 for 177 yards through the air last week, including a 20-yard touchdown pass to TE Crockett Gillmore, 6-6, 255 lbs. One of the reasons that could suggest an air attack is that Boise State safety Jeremy Ioane, 5-10, 189 lbs, is questionable, and his replacement, Dillon Lukehart, 6-0, 202 lbs, will not be playing in the first half due to a penalty last week at BYU. If cornerbacks Bryan Douglas, 5-9, 170 lbs, and Donte Deayon, 5-9, 151 lbs, don’t step up this week and instead leave the Ram receivers open, Grayson could have a good outing Saturday.

What to expect when Boise State has the ball: Boise State continues to struggle offensively as well as defensively. QB Brian Hedrick completed 25 of 42 passing attempts for 232 yards and a TD last week, with most of his short throws to the sidelines for modest gains. Gone this year are most deep threats and screens over the middle that were used so effectively in years past. Instead, the two-dimensional attack has relied more on short passes and a running game behind RB Jay Ajayi, 6-0, 215 lbs, who last week romped for 151 yards but who coughed up a fumble on a scoring drive. It was his third on the year, so look for the Ram defenders to try and strip it. All told, the Broncos turned the ball over 4 times last week.

A trio of Ram linebackers Shaquil Barrett, 6-2, 250 lbs, Max Morgan, 6-1, 225 lbs, and Aaron Davis, 6-0, 220 lbs, along with DB Kevin Pierre-Louis, 6-1, 212 lbs, account for 246 of the 614 Ram tackles this season. Barrett also leads the team with 7.5 of the 17 sacks. That might force Hedrick to the air in attempts to reach WR Shane Williams-Rhodes, 5-6, 158 lbs, or WR Matt Miller, 6-3, 218 lbs. And that might be where Boise State could make their money: Colorado State is ranked last in the conference in passing defense.

The Rams have home field advantage coming into this game. But even with Boise State in disarray, the Rams are still a year away with the rebuild of their team. That is why the Broncos are a 7 to 10-point favorite to win this contest.

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