Week three is here, and the Broncos are headed to Stillwater for a much anticipated showdown with the 24th ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys. Boise State fans have had this game circled on their calendars for a few years now. For the first time this season, the Broncos will enter a game as the underdog. This is probably the most anticipated game for Broncos fans since Chris Petersen returned to the Blue for the season opener in 2015. Here are some things to watch for in this battle between top 25 teams.
When: Saturday 1:30 MT
Where: T. Boone Pickens Stadium (Stillwater, Oklahoma)
Can the Broncos bottle up Hill and rattle Cornelius?
Oklahoma State hasn’t played a formidable opponent yet, and it is hard to gauge how good they are. Hill looks like the real deal, and Cornelius has been solid for the most part. South Alabama was no match for Oklahoma State, but they did some things that are worth watching for Boise State coaches. The Jaguars were able to slow down the Cowboy running game, holding them under four yards per carry. They were also able to intercept two passes. The Broncos need to find a way to hold Hill under 100 yards and put pressure on Cornelius early and often. I expect the Broncos to dial up some blitzes early and see how Cornelius responds to pressure; the quarterback has a tendency to make some dangerous throws.
Will the Broncos be at full strength?
The depth of Boise State has been on full display throughout the first two games. Against the Huskies, the Broncos were without David Moa, Tyson Maeva, and Octavius Evans. If the Broncos have these three guys in Stillwater, they have a great chance to come out victorious.
Will Rypien rise to the occasion?
One knock on Rypien during his time in Boise is that he has been turnover prone in big games. It looked liked he kind of got over that late last season, but this game will test that theory. A huge game in Stillwater will cement Rypien as one of the greatest in Boise State history and will likely go down as Rypien’s signature win.
Is this a must win game?
If the Broncos are going to be considered for a playoff game, this is a must win game. A G5 team has to go undefeated to be considered for the playoff and they need some signature, non-conference wins. The Broncos might be able to lose this game and still have a chance at a NY6 game, but they will need a lot of help.
Alexander Mattison needs to have a huge game
The passing game has been so lethal that Alex has not been forced to carry a heavy load. That will likely change this week. Mattison has only carried the ball 25 times the first two games. He has been effective, averaging almost seven yards a carry. I expect Alex to get the bulk of the carries this week and have 20+ carries.
Pick up the pace
I expect the Broncos to keep the Cowboys on their toes by running more no huddle. The Broncos have played with a big lead for most of the first two games. They need to wear down the Oklahoma State defense with some tempo.
Oklahoma State -3.5
Boise State 42, Oklahoma State 38
What are your keys to a Boise State victory? What is your score prediction? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.