This would have been week two of the college football season and with Mountain West football nowhere to be seen. Danny and Zach thought it would be fun to look at how we thought the games would have played out. We give our keys to a Boise State victory and a prediction on how we think the game would have played out.
Key #1 Linebacker Play
Zach: Whenever Boise State struggles to beat Air Force it is because the linebackers struggle to come off of secondary blocks and make tackles. Last year, the Broncos had one of their best defensive showings against Air Force and it is no coincidence that Riley Whimpey played one of his best games as a Broncos. Boise State’s three starting linebackers finished with 31 tackles, each with at least ten. There were not a lot of tackles from the secondary and that tends to be a good sign when you are facing the triple option.
Key #2 Score Some Points
Danny: The conversation buzzing around Boise on Air Force game weeks is understandably focused on the Falcons triple option attack. It is anxiety inducing for Bronco fans, and with good reason. However, there is another factor that has decided the outcome of Boise State vs Air Force games that doesn’t get as much attention: when the Broncos score over 30 points they win.
Boise State has averaged 21.3 points per game in their three losses to Air Force and averaged a whopping 40.2 points per game in wins. The lowest scoring output in a Boise State win is exactly 30 points. If Boise State pulls out the victory against the Falcons, expect Bachmeier and company to light up the scoreboard.
Key #3 Limit Long Drives
Zach: You are always going to lose the time of possession battle to Air Force, that is a given. The goal is to keep it as close as possible. Last year, the Broncos had control of the ball for nearly 26 minutes, that is pretty good considering AIr Force uses the play clock as well as anyone in the country and is known for having drives of at least ten minutes. If Air Force does not consistently cross midfield, the Broncos should have an excellent chance to come away with a victory.
Key #4 Do Your Job
Danny: The Boise State defense has a reputation of high-energy swagger with a swarming ballhawk mentality. That isn’t to say the group isn’t technically and schematically sound, but there is an energy and attitude that transcends scheme with the best Bronco defenses. When defending the triple option, that intensity isn’t always the recipe for success. The Boise State mantra on defense against the Falcons needs to be “Do Your Job.”
The relatively inexperienced defensive line needs to fill their gaps on each snap. The deep and talented linebacker group must show discipline in accomplishing their assignments and show trust that their fellow linebackers will handle theirs. The secondary must balance that fine line between assisting with run support without losing track of streaking wide receivers.
Against the triple option, all the clichés apply; bring your lunch pail, have a short memory, play assignment football, and most importantly, do your job.
Zach: Before the news of Donald Hammond’s suspension, this game was as scary as any game on the schedule. The Falcons minus Hammond just aren’t the same squad. Boise State is going to key in on limiting Remsberg and the fullback dive. It won’t be an easy victory, but the Broncos improve to 2-0. Boise State 27-Air Force 17
Danny: Boise State makes it four in a row against Air Force. On defense, Air Force loses six of their top seven tacklers from 2019, an absolute beast at DT in Mosese Fifita, and the secondary must replace three starters. If that wasn’t bad enough, on offense the Falcons will be without QB Donald Hammond III. Meanwhile, Boise State has as much depth and talent at linebacker to limit the triple option as they’ve had in a long while and the offensive firepower to do some damage on the scoreboard. Boise State 37-Air Force 20