It was not the game we expected, but it was entertaining nonetheless. The Spartans came to play on Saturday night and they gave the Broncos everything they had. Boise State traveled to San Jose on Saturday night to take on a Spartan squad that is vastly improved over previous seasons. San Jose State gave Boise State everything they could handle, but the Broncos were able to escape with a 52-42 victory, to remain unbeaten in conference play. Let’s take a look at my keys to the game and see how they turned out for the Broncos:
Will Hank be ready to go, or will the Broncos roll with Chase Cord?
Hank was ready to go and played well for the most part. He attempted only 17 passes and left the game with an injury in the third quarter, before returning on the next series. Hank continues to show his toughness, but luckily for him, all he really had to do was hand the ball off in the second half. If you would have told me that Boise State would attempt 17 passes and score 52 points, I would have thought you were crazy.
The offensive line did an excellent job of run blocking in the second half, after only gaining 17 yards on the ground in the first half. The young tandem of George Holani and Andrew Van Buren combined for more than 200 yards on the ground.
Can the Bronco defense return to form?
Nope. This was easily the worst showing of the year for the Bronco defense. The secondary was completely dominated by a talented Spartan receiving corps and the absence of Kekoa Nawahine was noticeable in the Boise State secondary. Josh Love finished the game completing 29 of 53 passes for 438 yards. Big plays down the field killed the Broncos. They will not face another pass heavy team for the next two weeks, but fans should be concerned.
Will the Broncos have the dominant performance that they are capable of?
The obvious answer is no. But when you look deeper, the offensive line and the Broncos run game completely manhandled the Spartans defensive line. Boise State managed to put 35 points on the board in the second half, while only throwing the ball three times. George Holani and Andrew Van Buren looked unstoppable in the second half.
However, the defense was completely outmatched against the versatile receiving corps of the Spartans. It was a tale of two sides of the ball and two halves. Boise State has to play better on that side of the ball if they are going to win the Mountain West.
My Prediction: I predicted a 42-21 victory for the Broncos. I thought the defense would start slow and return to form, boy was I wrong. I figured Josh Love would challenge the Bronco secondary, but it was much easier for him than I expected. Boise State completely abandoned the passing game in the second half, but for good reason, as the Spartans could not stop the run. The final score was 52-42, the Broncos were fortunate to leave California with a victory, and now they move on to a critical division showdown with the Wyoming Cowboys.