Boise State Broncos vs. Wyoming Cowboys: Game Preview

BOISE, ID - NOVEMBER 26: Boise State Broncos mascot Buster Bronco runs the school flag onto the field ahead of the team before the game against the Wyoming Cowboys at Bronco Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/G - Otto Kitsinger III

Boise State to host Wyoming at Bronco Stadium in Mountain West Conference action

WEEK 12: Boise St. Broncos vs. Wyoming Cowboys

WHEN: Saturday, November 16, 8:15 PM MT

WHERE: Bronco Stadium (37,000)

CONFERENCES: Mountain West (Mountain Division)

2013 SEASON: Boise State, 6-3, 4-1 (MW); Wyoming, 4-5, 2-3 (MW)

COACHES: Boise State head coach Chris Petersen (90-11); Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen (26-33)

TV: ESPN2

WEB STREAMING: GameTracker

RADIO: Cowboy Sports Network with 25 affiliate stations: KOWB/KCGY 1290 AM/95.1 FM in the Laramie area--- Bronco Radio Network: KBOI (670 AM) and KKGL (96.9 FM) in the Boise area

SERIES RECORD: 8th meeting. Boise State is 7-0 against Wyoming

LAST MEETING: 2012, at War Memorial Stadium, Laramie, WY, Boise State 45, Wyoming, 14

WEB SITES: Boise State official | Wyoming official

When head coach Dave Christensen and his Wyoming Cowboys roll into Boise to play the Broncos on Saturday night they will be arriving riding a 3-game losing streak. Last week the Cowboys lost to conference leader Fresno State after leading that game in most of the first half. This week Christensen would like nothing better than to hand fellow head coach Chris Petersen and his Broncos a loss and get a Cowboy victory over a team that holds seven straight wins over the Laramie team. Many think the Cowboys will be over matched once again, but Christensen has other ideas. For one thing, Boise is more vulnerable this year than any in recent memory and have dropped three games on the year. For another, the Cowboys are 16th in the nation in total offense and can play off any defense with a balanced attack that incorporates both passing and rushing.

What to expect when Wyoming has the ball: Wyoming is second in the Mountain West Conference in total offense, averaging 491.6 yards per game. Led by QB, Brett Smith, 6-3, 206 lbs, Wyoming is also ranked the 27th best team in the nation in passing offense. That is because Smith has two excellent targets to throw to: WR’s Robert Herron, 5-10, 187 lbs, and Dominic Rufran, 6-0, 188 lbs. He also has RB Shaun Wink, 5-10, 204 lbs, in his tool chest for handoffs. Wink is another Wyoming player having a good year with 823 yards on 127 carries, and 9 TDs under his belt. But can he get past a Boise State rushing defense anchored by Broncos defenders C Bryan Douglas, 5-9, 170 lbs, LB Ben Weaver, 6-0, 233 lbs, and DE Demarcus Lawrence, 6-3, 244 lbs? When they work together they are certainly capable of stuffing any run.

More than likely the passing game is where the Cowboys will concentrate their main effort. The Broncos are #104th in pass defense and are giving up an average of 269 passing yards per game. Last week Colorado State burned the Boise secondary for almost 400 passing yards of the 626 yards they put up overall against the Broncos. You can bet those errors and miscues by Boise State have been studied and restudied by Christensen and his staff and will be incorporated into any Wyoming attack plan.

What to expect when Boise State has the ball: Boise State has had a bye week and time to get healthy after a rash of injuries going into midseason. The team has used that time to solidify the offense under new starting quarterback, Grant Hedrick, 6-4, 200 lbs. By the way, that offense is now ranked 18th nationally. Two weeks ago Hedrick completed 19 of 27 passes for 305 yards and 5 TD’s against the Colorado State, with most of those throws going to WR Shane Williams-Rhodes, 5-6, 158 lbs, WR Matt Miller, 6-3, 218 lbs, and Geraldo Boldewijn, 6-4, 215 lbs.

But don’t expect the Broncos to rely solely on the pass this week. Boise State’s rushing offense is now ranked a respectable 23rd nationally averaging 4.81 yards a touch and 212 yards per game. RB Jay Ajayi, 6-0, 215 lbs, is a big part of the reason for that with his ground game. He has chalked up 1,008 yards on 171 carries and punched in 12 TD’s. Now consider that Wyoming is ranked a dismal #113 in rushing defense among all FBS teams. That doesn’t spell success for the Cowboys in trying to contain the Broncos offense. But it doesn’t mean the Cowboys are totally defenseless, either. DE Eddie Yarbrough, 6-3, 257 lbs, and LB Sonny Puletasi, 6-3, 251 lbs, both lead the team in tackles for loss, and LB Jordan Stanton, 6-0, 246 lbs, is the #2 tackler in the conference with 109 total tackles (57 solo).

Special teams: Many games are lost or won by the effort of the special teams and both Boise State and Wyoming are no exceptions. Wyoming punter Ethan Wood is averaging 43.61 yards a punt while Boise State punt returner Shane Williams-Rhodes is leading the conference with an average of 18.45 yards per return. Boise State kicker Dan Goodale leads the league with field goals made (10 of 11 for 90.9 %) and making 92.9 percent of his PAT‘s. Goodale is also the top kickoff specialist in the league averaging 63.06 yards a kick while Wood is averaging a little less at 61.06 yards.

Coming off a bye and having home field advantage gives the advantage to Boise State. The odds makers have the Broncos by a 23-point spread.

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