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BYU vs. Boise State game preview: Broncos defense gets shot at freshman quarterback

Boise State's defense will have the chance to go up against true freshman quarterback Taysom Hill.

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Not surprisingly, Boise State enters their most difficult game of the season as favorites coming into Saturday night's showdown with the BYU Cougars in Provo. Fresh off a marquee victory over the departed and beloved Chris Peterson and Washington in the opener, the Broncos are 2.5 favorites over BYU in what at least for the time being appears to be their most difficult test of the season.

The Boise State defense has had good luck against Cougar back-up quarterbacks in the past. Most recently, the Broncos had their way with incumbent Quarterback Christian Stewart last year against the Cougars on their way to a 55-30 victory on the blue turf. On that outing, BSU held Stewart to 23-38 and just one touchdown and an interception, and that was far from putting the Cougars in contention as told by the 41-16 lead BSU took to halftime. But to be fair, freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum is better than Christian Stewart.

Only recently gaining national attention from his game-winning hail mary against Nebraka, Mangum is not new to the opportunities ahead of him. Following his Senior year of High School, Mangum was invited to the Elite 11 QB camp where he was named Co-MVP with Jameis Winston. After BYU QB Taysom Hill went out last week with his third season ending injury in four years, BYU received a big boost from their new general as Mangum went 7-11 for 111 yards and a touchdown, with three of those incompletions being completed only to be caught out of bounds. Boise St will need to prepare for a very accurate passer.

For Boise State, they have already proven this year that highly-touted freshman Quarterbacks will not intimidate them. Against Washington quarterback Jake Browning, 2013 California Gatorade player of the year, the Broncos defense allowed just 150 yards passing and 179 total yards of offense. Browning looked rattled at times and the team scored all of their 13 points by way of their special teams. The Broncos held Washington to 4-14 on third down conversions and Browning struggled to ever put a decent drive together.

Without a miracle touchdown punt return and two field goals set up by sizable punt returns, the Bronco defense may very well have a put together a shutout on their former Coach on opening night. Boise St definitely appears ready for the next challenge. This week they will not have the comfort of their home-field and face a more experienced opponent and confident quarterback, but no doubt the tough Bronco defense will be set as they look to go 5-1 all-time versus BYU.