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Utah State Aggies Opponent Preview: Boise State

A quick look at Utah State at Boise State

NCAA Football: LA Bowl-Oregon State vs Utah State Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This is the next edition in the preview series for the Utah State Aggies football team. Each new preview covers a different opponent for the upcoming 2022 Aggies football team.

Game 12: at Boise State

Date/Time: Friday, November 25th at 9:00 AM PST

Location: Boise, Idaho


Line: TBD

Series history: Utah State trails Boise State in the series, 5-21. Utah State has lost the last six games to Boise State, in 2016 (21-10), 2017 (41-14), 2018 (33-24), 2019 (56-21), 2020 (42-13), and 2021 (27-3). The last time the Aggies beat the Broncos was in 2015, a 52-26 game in Logan. Utah State has lost in most years from 1998 to 2014, losing 12 games in that time period. Utah State has averaged 20.5 points per game.

Players to Watch

Senior quarterback Hank Bachmeier

Hank Bachmeier started all 12 games in 2021, and led the team with 3,079 passing yards, going 252-401 (62.84 percent), and threw 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions, throwing a long pass of 69 yards.

In 2020, Bachmeier missed time due to COVID-19 but did start all five games that he played in. He attempted 156 passes and completed 96 (61.5%) and threw for 1,150 yards and six touchdowns. Bachmeier would throw two interceptions and would also throw a long pass of 55 yards.

In 2019, his freshman season, Bachmeier attempted 219 passes and completed 137 (62.6%). He would miss six games due to a hip pointer injury but would still throw for 1,879 yards and nine touchdowns. Bacchmeier threw six interceptions and a long pass of 76 yards.

Redshirt junior George Holani

George Holani is another Boise State player that has been consistently injured during his time with the Broncos but looks to be in good health now. Holani rushed 119 times for 569 yards and scored a touchdown. He also recorded 14 receptions for 169 yards.

Holani did not see much playing time in 2020 due to a knee injury but rushed 19 times for 108 yards and scored a touchdown in his limited action. He also had seven receptions for 52 yards and scored twice.

In his freshman season, George Holani rushed 192 times for 1,014 yards and scored seven touchdowns on the ground. Holani would also have 26 receptions for 206 yards and scored three touchdowns.

Senior wide receiver Stefan Cobbs

Stefan Cobbs put up good numbers last season, grabbing 34 receptions for 421 yards and five touchdowns. Cobbs was used more as a deep threat and averaged 12.4 yards per catch.

In 2020, Cobbs had four receptions for 72 yards and did not score.

In 2019, Cobbs had three receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown. Stefan Cobbs is set to replace elite Boise State receiver Khalil Shakir.

Sixth year wide receiver Davis Koetter

In 2021, Davis Koetter grabbed 14 receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown, averaging 11.4 yards per catch.

Koetter grabbed 38 receptions for 626 yards and scored eight touchdowns in 2019, averaging 16.5 yards per a reception.

In 2018, Koetter had four receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 121 yards per catch.

Redshirt senior wide receiver Billy Bowens

Billy Bowens caught 12 passes last season and went for 140 yards on an average 11.7 yards per catch.

In 2020, Bowens had five receptions for 39 yards and averaged 7.8 yards per catch.

Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Latrell Caples

Latrell Caples came to Boise State last season from Lancaster High School in Lancaster, Texas, and was rated as one of the top receivers in the nation and the number 58 prospect in Texas.

Caples had four receptions in 2021 and put up 56 yards, averaging 14 yards per reception.

Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Austin Bolt

Austin Bolt has primarily appeared on special teams for Boise State but is set to finally have a breakout role. In high school, Bolt was rated as a three star recruit and the number three recruit in Idaho.

Redshirt senior tight end Riley Smith

Riley Smith caught eight passes for 86 yards in 2021 and scored a touchdown, averaging 10.8 yards per reception. In 2020, Smith had 15 receptions for 155 yards and scored a touchdown, averaging 10.3 yards per reception.

Redshirt senior tight end Kurt Rafdal

Kurt Rafdal is a transfer from Nebraska and came to the Broncos in 2021. Last season, he saw action in 12 games and had eight receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown, averaging 11.9 yards per catch. The coaches have spoken highly of the development that Rafdal has had over the summer and he should be seeing more action on the field.

Redshirt senior tight end Tyneil Hopper

In 2021, Tyneil Hopper had seven receptions for 132 yards and scored two touchdowns, averaging 18.9 yards per catch. In 2020, Hopper had two receptions for 19 yards and averaged 9.5 yards per catch.

Offensive linemen John Ojukwu, Garrett Curran, Ben Dooley, Kekaniokoa Holomalia-Gonzales

In years past Boise State has struggled to be consistent on the offensive line, a big part of that due to not being able to find the right combination. The Broncos now have better experience and have hit the transfer portal has well. Overall, there are 86 career starts for the offensive line and if the group can stay healthy, this should be be best unit the Broncos have had in quite a few years.

Redshirt senior nose tackle Jackson Cravens

During his redshirt junior season in 2021, Jackson Cravens started 11 games in which he appeared. Cravens recorded 36 tackles and made 2.5 for loss.

During his redshirt sophomore season in 2020, Cravens appeared in five games and made a solo tackle in his first game. Cravens is set to make a bigger impact this season.

Redshirt senior defensive tackle Scott Matlock

Scott Matlock might be one of Boise State’s most important players on defense. He was named to both the Bednarik Award Watch List and the Outland Trophy Watch List for the upcoming season. Matlock started all 12 games, making 41 tackles and seven sacks while also forcing a fumble and recovering a fumble.

In 2020, Matlock started all seven games that the Broncos played. Matlock made 22 tackles and two sacks.

Last season was a big one for Scott Matlock and he is going to be very important in leading the Broncos pass rush this year.

Redshirt senior Demitri Washington

In 2021 coming off of an injury, Washington made 41 tackles and two sacks while recovering a fumble. In 2020, Washington totaled nine total tackles in limited playing time. In 2019, Demitri Washington made 33 tackles and 4.5 sacks while forcing a fumble and recovering one.

Redshirt junior linebacker Isaiah Bagnah

In 2021, Isaiah Bagnah appeared in 12 games and made six starts. He recorded 36 tackles and made seven tackles for loss and six sacks.

During his redshirt freshman season in 2020, Bagnah appeared in six games and made two starts. He made 12 tackles and three sacks.

6th year middle linebacker Ezekiel Noa

Middle linebacker Ezekiel Noa has been a force for the Broncos since the start, but last season was his biggest season. In 2021, Noa made 66 total tackles and made three sacks. In 2020, Noa would make 39 tackles in the shortened season and also force a fumble. In 2019, Ezekiel Noa made 28 tackles and also had a sack. In 2018, Noa would register 34 tackles, 0.5 sacks, and a forced fumble. He is going to be a very important part of the Boise State defense.

6th year nickelback Tyreque Jones

Tyreque Jones is another member of the defense that has been with the Broncos for quite some time. He was named an All-Mountain West Honorable Mention in 2021 and was named to the Athlon Preseason All-Mountain West Second Team in 2022.

In 2021, Jones started all 12 games, making a total 52 tackles and he would also force a fumble and grab two interceptions. In 2020, Jones made five tackles and a pass deflection. In 2019, Tyreque Jones made 27 tackles and had a sack, a fumble recovery, and an interception. In 2018, Jones would make 33 tackles and force a fumble while deflecting two passes.

Senior cornerback Markel Reed

In 2021, Markel Reed made 21 tackles and and had a pass deflection. In 2020, Reed made 17 tackles and had three pass deflections. In 2019, Reed had 13 tackles and forced a fumble in addition to having a pass deflection.

Fifth year cornerback Caleb Biggers

Caleb Biggers is a transfer from Bowling Green, where he was able to make a big impact. He became a starter in the final four games of the 2018 season as a freshman and didn’t look back, starting all games until he joined Boise State.

In 2021, Caleb Biggers appeared in 12 games for the Broncos, making eight starts. He registered 34 tackles and five pass breakups, tied for the second most on the team.

Senior safety JL Skinner

Last season, JL Skinner made 92 tackles for the Broncos, forced two fumbles, recovered three fumbles, and had two interceptions. He was named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List and the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List and Pre-season All-Mountain West in 2022.

In 2020, Skinner started the six games in which he appeared. He made 37 tackles and had a interception that he returned for 21 yards.

In 2019, Skinner made 14 tackles over 14 games and made one start against Marshall.


Every year this proves to be a challenging game for Utah State as the Broncos are usually pretty good. Last year an early September loss to Boise State almost hurt the Aggies, but in the end Utah State would make it. Last year was a weird year for Boise State, going 7-5 and struggling in the run game and pass protection under first year head coach Andy Avalos.

Year two is going to be different. The Broncos bring back good experience at several key positions and though they do lose Khahlil Shakir, they bring back a lot of talent in the receivers group. The key for Utah State to slow down Boise State is going to be to get after the offensive line, tackle George Holani, and get pressure on Hank Bachmeier.

Boise State is also expected to have one of the top defenses nationally with key players at every position on defense. The key for Utah State is to find something that works, whether it be short passes or the running game, and tire the defense out.

Overall, this is going to be a very important game for both teams but it does feel like the Broncos have an advantage due to the players they are bringing back, especially on defense on what should be a very cold day after Thanksgiving game.