This would have been week three 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: Avoid a Slow Start
Zach: Last year’s game was a bit of a snoozer. Both teams struggled to score and the Broncos squandered multiple opportunities to pull away. They can’t afford to do that on the road. When it comes to talent at the skill positions, the Broncos have a significant advantage. I’d love to see the Boise State come out in a no huddle and see if Marshall can keep up. Put some points up early and build a lead, Marshall isn’t built to play from behind.
Key #2: Stop the Run
Danny: Returning running back Brenden Knox rushed for nearly 1,400 yards for Marshall last season (including 71 yards on 10 carries against BSU), and has picked up right where he left off this season. Through two games Knox has rushed for 223 yards and two touchdowns while averaging nearly five yards per carry.
Boise State’s retooled defensive line will focus on limiting Knox, but that’s easier said than done. If the Broncos are able to corral Knox and the Thundering Herd rushing attack, the pressure will be on Marshall’s Redshirt Freshman QB Grant Wells to win the game. Wells has looked good two games into his career, but with the talent and experience in the Bronco secondary, if Boise State can force Marshall into being one dimensional it could be a “welcome to college football” moment for the young quarterback.
Key #3: Run the Ball and Take Shots Downfield
Zach: Holani and Van Buren should be key contributors and see significant carries. Boise State has the size on the offensive line to open up holes. Setting up the run game, will also allow Bachmeier to capitalize on some play action passes down the field. Khalil Shakir, CT Thomas, and Stefan Cobbs should have plenty of opportunities to make some big catches.
Key #4: Be Boise State
Danny: Boise State does not lose non-conference football games to Group of Five teams. If we stick to the Mountain West era of Bronco football, Boise State is undefeated against non-conference Group of Five teams. In fact, the last time Boise State lost to an out of conference team that would now be considered a Group of Five team was way back in 1999 when the Broncos were in the Big West Conference and lost to Hawaii who was a member of the Western Athletic Conference. 21 years of history supports a Bronco victory.
Zach: Marshall has already proven to be a capable team and this is starting to look like one of the tougher games on Boise State’s schedule. But the fact is, Boise State should never lose to a Conference USA team, not under any circumstance. BSU will struggle to score points during stretches of this game and Marshall will put up a nice fight. But the Broncos will start to pull away in the third quarter. Marshall will score a late touchdown to make the game closer than it actually was. Boise State 27-Marshall 13
Danny: If we somehow pretend that everything that has happened in this real timeline also happened in the timeline that this game would have been played in, then Boise State has to travel across the country on short rest to play against a ranked Marshall team. Marshall can run the ball and would do well to try and turn this game into a rock fight. However, as Zach stated above, Boise State has no business losing this game, and they won’t. The Bronco skill position players have too much talent. Boise State 34-Marshall 17