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Boise State at Air Force: Three Questions, Prediction

After a deserved bye week, the Broncos face their toughest test in conference play.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Fresno State at Boise State Marc Sanchez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado (Falcon Stadium)

Date/Time: Saturday, October 22nd at 5:00 p.m. (Mountain Time)

Television: CBS Sports Network (CBSSN)

Streaming: CBS Sports app

Radio: Bronco Radio Network and KBOI/KTIK

Head-to-Head: Boise State leads the all-time series 6-4. Last year, the Falcons left The Blue with a win, 24-17. Prior to that, the Broncos had won four straight.

Three Questions

  1. Can the Boise State defense meet the challenge of Air Force’s triple option attack?

Every year, the Broncos circle their matchup with the Air Force academy because of their unique offensive play style. If you only get one shot to play an option offense in a given year, then it is difficult to prepare for it. There are only a handful of teams in the FBS that employ this system, and despite Boise State having to play the Falcons every year, it seems to never get easier. In 2022, QB Haaziq Daniels and RB Brad Roberts lead the way for Troy Calhoun’s squad. Roberts is currently fourth in the nation in rushing yards with 853 yards to his name.

As a whole, Air Force leads all of the FBS in team rushing with an astounding 2,519 yards at 5.93 yards per carry. For reference, the second team on that list is Army with 1,901 yards. Excluding their game against Navy, their two lowest totals in team rushing have led to losses (264 yards against Utah State, 171 yards against Wyoming).

With leaders in the linebacking corps in D.J. Schramm and Ezekiel Noa, this Bronco defense appears to be more ready than previous teams to slow down the ground game. Boise State is top-20 in the nation in rushing defense, allowing an impressive 101.8 yards per game.

2. Will the Boise State run game continue its torrid pace?

The trio of QB Taylen Green, RB George Holani and RB Ashton Jeanty have freed up the Bronco offense in a way few thought possible after the clunky start to the 2022 campaign. Multiple instances of more than one 100-yard rusher on a given night hasn’t happened for those in blue and orange in quite some time, yet, these three have done just that. A caveat should be noted as the games against San Diego State and Fresno State involved offenses that couldn’t allow their defensive counterparts to get a breather before being ushered back onto the field of play. With that being said, Boise State ran for over 300 yards in both of those games while they kept passing to a minimum.

Air Force has a renowned defense of their own, ranking ninth in the country in total defense. As always, they are sure tacklers who know their assignments to a tee and hardly, if ever, shoot themselves in the foot on the defensive side of the ball. Boise State will be forced to put the ball in the air more than they would like if they want to win this game. Back in 2019, QB Jack Sears put on a spectacular performance in Colorado Springs, passing for over 250 yards while finding his receivers in the endzone on three occasions. Even if the efficiency isn’t there, the aerial threat needs to be real to keep the Falcons honest.

3. Can Boise State start out the second half of the season with a bang?

Since the departures of QB Hank Bachmeier and OC Tim Plough, this season has had a second life brought onto itself. Reeling off of the loss to UTEP, the Broncos regrouped and have been humming in what was supposed to be the toughest three-game stretch of the 2022 season. However, with everyone in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West already suffering a loss in conference play, the Broncos control their own destiny. Getting a win against Air Force would be monumental in their hopes to win the division title and reach the conference championship game.

To me, this is the most difficult game left on Boise State’s schedule. BYU has returned back to earth and the rest of the divisional slate doesn’t appear extremely daunting heading down the stretch. It always seems like coach speak when the non-conference portion of the season wraps up and they claim that their season goals are still in their sights.

Credit where credit’s due, this team has come together and stayed in the moment.


A bye week can have an impact, but how much?

For Boise State, there is rumor that RG Ben Dooley may be close to making his season debut after dealing with lingering injuries to start the season. Getting players healthy and reenergized for the second stint is crucial in any season, but the Broncos were fortunate for the bye to actually land in the middle of the season.

Taylen Green had a full week of film study with one of the greatest offensive minds in college football in Dirk Koetter.

That never hurts.

Air Force is always a thorn in the Broncos’ side despite Falcon head coach Troy Calhoun’s rosy remarks about the Boise State program. Detailing how Boise State deserves to be in a Power Five conference and that Green reminds him of college great Vince Young sounds fine and dandy. Calhoun is a terrific personality and a good person, don’t get me wrong.

But it’s akin to the Venus Flytrap.

It coaxes its prey into comfortability, then strikes with precision.

The spread, brought to you by DraftKings, is currently set at -1 towards Air Force. I see the Broncos pulling the upset with Taylen Green making strides in the passing game. Boise State solidifies its position atop the Mountain Division.

Final score.

Boise State 27 - Air Force 24