BOISE STATE VS SAN DIEGO STATE
Location: Boise, Idaho (Albertsons Stadium)
Date/Time: Friday, September 30th at 6:00 p.m. (Mountain Time)
Television: Fox Sports 1 (FS1)
Streaming: Fox Sports app
Radio: Bronco Radio Network and KBOI/KTIK
Head-to-Head: San Diego State leads the all-time series 4-3 and won last year’s season finale in San Diego, 27-16. Boise State’s last win was back in 2017.
- Can newly-appointed offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter pump some life into the offense?
Even for a football mind like Koetter, only having six days to put your twist on the offensive scheme is damn-near impossible. What we have heard is that, if anything, he has taken responsibilities off of the plates of his quarterbacks. Many described Tim Plough’s system as difficult for college quarterbacks as it put extreme pressure on them to make the right adjustments at the line of scrimmage and call out certain protections. With senior quarterback Hank Bachmeier transferring out, redshirt freshman Taylen Green has been thrust into the spotlight. Last week was horrendous offensively as only two possessions resulted in points and the Broncos couldn’t eclipse 100 yards on the ground or in the air.
Beyond Dirk Koetter’s impact, the offensive line is still a glaring issue in 2022. Projected starting right guard Ben Dooley has yet to play a snap this season and his backup, redshirt freshman Mason Randolph, has been sidelined after his appearance in the Oregon State game. This forced true freshman Roger Carreon to fill the spot in El Paso where he succumbed to typical freshman mistakes. Starting center Kekaniokoa Holomalia-Gonzalez was benched last week due to lingering injuries, causing multi-use lineman Will Farrar to take over.
The wide receivers have been underwhelming so far, but there is still time for them to make an impact. You would expect Dirk Koetter to implement short passing plays that allow said receivers to make plays after the catch. We have seen how shifty Stefan Cobbs and Latrell Caples can be when they get space to maneuver. The running backs should have more opportunities to run despite facing a very good Aztec front. With Green serving as a threat to scramble each play, taking one defender out of the play can make a huge difference.
2. Will Taylen Green be able to carry the offense with his versatility?
This may be an unfair question that can only be answered after this season, but I still believe that we will get a good inkling of what should be expected moving forward. There is no doubt in my mind that Koetter will let Green utilize his strengths while creating some semblance of balance. The Oregon State loss gave us a sneak peak into what Green can do via his improvisation and athletic ability. His heroics in that game aren’t sustainable as opponents will simply load up the box if he isn’t a willing passer. The last offensive drive in Corvallis may be the blueprint used on Friday night. As a refresher, Green led a drive down the field that involved gains of four, seven, eleven, four, five, four, six, six, four, six, seven, and one. It was methodical and didn’t force Green to make a spectacular play.
The biggest no-no that Green has to avoid is turnovers. Hank Bachmeier committed five turnovers on the season (3 interceptions and 2 fumbles) before his departure. Playing mistake-free football is vital in allowing the defense to do their job to the best of their ability.
3. Can the defense return to form after an uncharacteristic performance against UTEP?
Admittedly, you can’t put a ton of stock into last week’s defensive performance due to the Miners having possession for over 40 minutes. No defense is going to play lights out when they are back on the field after four plays. The bigger shock to me was toward the middle stages of the fourth quarter when UTEP began to march their way down the field and dominate the line of scrimmage. Yes, Boise State doesn’t lock down the trenches as much as they used to, but there appeared to be a signaling of the white flag that is rare. Perhaps knowing that the offense was putrid enough that there was no shot despite being down only ten is a confidence-killer. On that same note, with the changes made in the program, a new focus and determination should be on display against San Diego State. Their offense is anemic in its own right, escaping against Toledo last week with only 17 points to their name.
Your guess is as good as mine.
There is no tell-tale sign that the offense will be substantially better with Koetter in charge for less than a week. Maybe I’m underselling his knowledge and repertoire, but we are talking about altering a system that 18-22 year old men need to understand. I do believe we will see much more emotion out of Koetter, whether he is on the sideline or in the booth.
Taylen Green is a physical specimen that gives off Colin Kaepernick vibes (*dodges thrown tomato). Boise State fans know how difficult it is to stop a guy who can beat you with his legs or his arm. While Green’s arm may not be there, his wheels certainly are, and in a down year for Mountain West football, that could make more of a difference than it would otherwise.
The defense will go toe-to-toe with the Aztecs, producing a gritty, tough-nosed game that has nearly no shot of eclipsing the point total set at 39 according to DraftKings.
The spread is currently favoring the Broncos by 6.5, a surprise to some. I see the Aztecs covering the spread, but not coming out on top Friday night.
Boise State 21 - San Diego State 17