The Broncos are fresh off of an impressive comeback victory over the Florida State Seminoles and will be hosting the Marshall Thundering Herd in the first of three straight home games. The Broncos have plenty of questions to answer after an up and down performance in Tallahassee. Here is what you need to know before the game Friday night.
Time: Friday 7:00 MT
Location: Boise, Idaho (Albertsons Stadium)
Which version of the Boise State defense will show up?
We saw two different teams on Saturday. One that struggled to make tackles and looked completely outclassed and another that looked well prepared and better conditioned. There were a lot of extrinsic factors that the Broncos had to deal with this past weekend, and they shouldn’t have those same problems on Friday night. However, Marshall is solid offensively and could challenge the defense at times. But, if the Bronco defense is going to be the dominant force they were expected to be entering the season, they should be able to limit this Marshall squad.
Can the Broncos avoid a let down?
This is a question that the Broncos will face every game until/if they lose. Boise State will likely be favored in all of their games from this point forward. They won’t be able to play the underappreciated underdog anymore. Can the Broncos do their job and take care of business? Or will the Herd stick around and make this game? The Harsin era has had one head scratching loss each season. Is this the 2019 version?
Which true freshmen will be key contributors this year?
I think we can already identify Bachmeier and Holani as key contributors this year. Markel Reed and JL Skinner also saw snaps on defense and special teams, but there were a number of other true freshmen that traveled without seeing the field. Will Khyheem Waleed, Isaiah Bagnah, and Casey Kline find their way on the field? This may be the game where we find out.
Will the run game continue to shine?
I am going to be honest, I wasn’t completely sure that Robert Mahone had that in him. Over 140 yards rushing against a great defensive line, that was impressive. George Holani also had quite a showing, and outside of a bad fumble, Andrew Van Buren also had some solid runs. If the Broncos continue to play at that kind of blistering pace, there will be plenty of carries to go around. Can the Broncos have two 1,000 yard rushers? I think it’s possible.
Can Hank avoid a freshman slump?
Hank looked like a freshman in the first half against Florida State. He was overthrowing the ball and missing some open receivers, but it is hard to blame him with the hits he was taking. I don’t expect him to throw for 400 yards every game, but if he can hold on to the ball and limit his interceptions, it is hard to see the Broncos losing many games this season.
Are the Broncos the top Group of Five team?
If they are, they should be able to take care of this Marshall squad at home. No disrespect to Marshall, who will likely finish the season as the top team in Conference USA, but Boise State needs to win this game and win it comfortably.
Vegas Line: Boise State -12.5
My Prediction: I will be the first to admit that I doubted Boise State’s chances last weekend. They had a long flight, followed by a long bus ride. Now, the Broncos are hosting a team that will be completing their own long flight. I do think that Marshall is one of the better Group of Five teams in the country and will hang tough for a little while, but the size and speed of this Bronco squad is on par with most Power Five teams and will prove to be too much. Boise State 45-Marshall 24