The 8-1 Boise State Broncos will look to make a statement against the 2-7 New Mexico Lobos Saturday night. This is a critical game for the Broncos, as they will travel to Logan the following week with a chance to wrap up the Mountain Division. Let’s look at some questions the Broncos need to answer Saturday night.
When: Saturday 8:15 MT
Where: Boise, Idaho (Albertsons Stadium)
How to watch: ESPN2
Head-to-head: Boise State leads the series with eight wins to one loss.
How banged up are the Broncos? Will Bachmeier be ready to go?
It is late in the season. Plenty of teams have been bit by the injury bug, but the Broncos always seem to have major injuries late in the season. With Harsin’s policy on injuries, it is hard to know what to expect entering Saturday’s game. Hank Bachmeier met with media for the first time this past week and was seen in pads, but he wasn’t healthy enough to face the Cowboys? DeAndre Pierce left the game with what appeared to be a significant injury. Chase Hatada did not suit up, and Robert Mahone did not see the field.
Perhaps the biggest concern for this game should be whether or not the Broncos can avoid further injuries, especially in the secondary where they will need to be at full strength to slow down Utah State’s passing attack next week.
Can the offensive line take steps in the right direction?
We could realistically ask this question every week. For three consecutive seasons, the offensive line has been the weak link for Boise State. This is a game where the unit could look to gain some confidence in pass protection, because they will likely need the arm of Bachmeier or Cord to win it for them in Logan. The lack of pass protection has not only put the outcome of games in question, it has also put the health of the quarterbacks in question. The Broncos need a strong showing from their offensive line this week, because the most important game of the year is only a week away.
Can the Broncos finally make a statement against an inferior team?
Boise State will face an emotional Lobo football team that will be looking to build some confidence. Boise State needs a statement game that leaves no doubt. Ideally, the Broncos can use this week to play some reserves and get healthy, but that just isn’t the way this team has operated this year. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Boise State offense will be motivated to put up some points on this struggling Lobo squad.
Things to watch for:
- Who will play the majority of snaps at quarterback?
- Who sits out for the Broncos? This team has plenty of injuries; we will learn just how significant they are on Saturday.
Vegas Line: Boise State -27
My Prediction: These games are becoming harder and harder to predict when you don’t know who is going to play. But, I will say this, if the Broncos aren’t motivated to make a statement this weekend, I would be very worried about the outcome in Logan. With that being said, I expect some continued frustration with the offensive line, but a comfortable win for the Broncos. New Mexico 17-Boise State 35