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Game Preview: Portland State @ Boise State

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The Broncos will look to clean some things up against a solid FCS opponent

NCAA Football: Marshall at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos will play host to Portland State on Saturday night. Boise State is coming off of a victory over the Marshall Thundering Herd. They may have dominated statistically, but the Broncos struggled to put points on the board. They will look to fix those issues on Saturday. Meanwhile, Portland State hung close with Arkansas week one and destroyed a Division II team from Canada this past week.

Time: Saturday 8:15 MT

Location: Boise, Idaho (Albertsons Stadium)

Television: ESPN2

Can the Broncos finish drives?

This has been a consistent issue this season. Boise State has been able to move the ball at will until they get into opposing territory. This will be an excellent week for the Broncos to work on their red zone execution. After re-watching their first two games, Boise State left 34 points on the board in FSU territory and 42 points on the board against Marshall. I got those numbers by looking at the amount of points Boise State received each time they reached the opposing team’s side of the field. Boise State entered Marshall territory six times without scoring points. That needs to improve significantly.

Will the defense come out strong?

Zero yards given up in the second half. That is an impressive stat. However, for the second straight week, the Boise State defense looked confused to start the game. In the first quarter, Marshall had no issues moving the ball down the field. Credit to the Broncos for making adjustments, but they need to do a better job of making tackles and getting off the field early in games.

Will the Broncos dominate like they should?

Traditionally speaking, the Broncos play things very safe in these kind of games. That should not be the case this Saturday. Portland State is a decent FCS squad and will be excited to play on “The Blue.” This is an excellent opportunity for the Broncos to put their young talent to the test. Give Holani and Andrew Van Buren the bulk of the carries, and let Bachmeier sling it around the field.

Will injuries continue to pile up?

It seems like the Broncos are forced to deal with significant injuries on a regular basis. The Broncos need to get out of this game without any significant injuries. Last time the Broncos hosted an FCS opponent, their starting quarterback went down with a season-ending injury (Ryan Finley). Boise State will likely be without DeAndre Pierce, John Ojukwu, CT Thomas, and Robert Mahone for this one.

Will the Broncos play it safe?

I hope not. If Boise State really wants to be the top Group of Five program, these games should not be close and backups should be playing the bulk of the second half. Bachmeier needs to fine tune his throws downfield, and this is the game to do it.

Vegas Line: Boise State -31.5

My Prediction: Boise State wins comfortably but doesn’t get too creative. Portland State scores late, and Boise State fails to cover the spread. Boise State 45-Portland State 17