Week seven of the college football season has already arrived! The Broncos travel to Reno coming off of a head scratching loss against the San Diego State Aztecs. The Bronco offense sputtered in every way possible and looks to regain form against the Wolf Pack in a showdown between old rivals. Here are some things to watch for:
Location: Mackay Stadium (Reno, Nevada)
Time: 8:30 PM MT
Television: CBS Sports Network
Does Ty Gangi play?
The Wolf Pack proved last weekend that their offense is not the same without Ty Gangi. Backup quarterback, Cristian Solano, struggled mightily against one of the best defenses in the Mountain West, completing only 22 of 43 passes for 195 yards and throwing three interceptions. The task does not get any easier for the Wolf Pack this week as they face a Bronco defense that feasts on turnovers.
Is Nevada good on defense?
This is the million dollar question. The Wolf Pack only gave up 271 yards against Fresno State last week and kept the team in the game until the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs managed only 30 yards rushing on 24 carries. This is a bit worrisome for a Bronco team that has been very one dimensional on offense to this point. Nevada has also had games like Toledo and Vanderbilt where they surrendered over 500 yards of offense. I guess we will find out what they are made of Saturday night.
Can the Broncos offensive line get the job done?
If the Broncos can protect Rypien and open up some holes in the running game, this contest should be over by halftime. However, the Broncos have a reputation for making contests in Reno interesting. I have a feeling the offensive line will still have their issues on Saturday.
Will Rypien get his swagger back?
Through the first four games of the year, Rypien looked like a potential NFL quarterback. He was making all of the throws and showing off some mobility in the pocket. Then San Diego State happened. Rypien looked like he had lost velocity on his passes, was throwing behind receivers, and missing on the deep ball. The opportunities were there against the Aztecs, but Rypien could not capitalize on them. Yes, the offensive line deserves much of the blame, but Rypien needs to play better.
Can the Broncos figure it out on special teams?
Special teams have been an enigma up to this point. Every time it seems like they figure something out, another problem occurs elsewhere. Skillin needs to be more consistent in the punt game. For every 50 yard punt, there seem to be two that only go 30 yards. The Broncos have also had way too many penalties on special teams that have negated some nice plays. If the Broncos are going to recover and find their way into the championship game, special teams needs to play better.
Was last week a sign of things to come?
I don’t think so. All season long, teams have been stacking the box and stopping the running game, forcing Rypien to beat them. Up until last weekend, Rypien and his wide receivers have made teams pay for selling out against the run. Last week, they were out of sync. If Boise State can get the tight ends more involved, it should open things up for the receivers. I can’t say I am super confident, but I do think the Broncos will recover and finish the season strong.
Boise State 38, Nevada 20. The Broncos offensive line still has its issues, but Rypien recovers nicely and leads the Broncos to a comfortable victory.