BOISE STATE VS. WYOMING
Location: Boise, Idaho (Albertsons Stadium)
Date/Time: Saturday, October 28th at 3:30 p.m. (Mountain Time)
Television: Fox Sports 2
Streaming: Fox Sports app
Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KBOI 93.1 FM (Bronco Radio Network)
Head-to-Head: Boise State leads the all-time series 16-1. The lone Cowboy win came back in 2016 when NFL star quarterback Josh Allen headed the Pokes’ offense.
Tale of the Tape
- Out of the bye week, some thought that the Broncos would settle on a more definitive QB1. Andy Avalos shut down those thoughts quickly during his weekly presser, reiterating that the two-QB system is going to stay. I will say that he, along with offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan, are very fortunate to have two personalities in Taylen Green and Maddux Madsen that are uplifting and positive towards one another.
Will this lead to consistent winning?
I wouldn’t bank on it.
- The biggest revelation to come out of the bye is that George Holani is back in the fold. The multi-year starter has been sidelined since Boise State’s opener against Washington in early September. While he may not ready yet to split carries with Ashton Jeanty, any relief that can be afforded to Jeanty in terms of rest is vital if the Broncos want to ground-and-pound their way to a Mountain West title appearance.
- The passing game wasn’t much of a factor in Boise State’s collapse against Colorado State.
Not a single receiver was able to muster over 35 yards.
I get that Jeanty, Holani, and Green can create a dynastic running game that is nearly impossible to stop, but in order for that component to reach its full potential, you need just a little production through the air.
- According to Avalos, the entire offensive line unit should be 100% healthy for Saturday’s matchup. The big guys up front have more than done their share this season and have looked substantially better with more mobile quarterbacks under center. That’s not meant to be an indictment on the Broncos’ previous QB1 (Hank Bachmeier), but seeing the same scenario play out over and over the last few seasons caused serious concern about the offensive line.
- Looking at the Wyoming Cowboys, they are having one of their best years in recent memory. Their only two blemishes have come at the hands of #7 Texas and #19 Air Force. Add to that wins against Texas Tech, Appalachian State and Fresno State, and this Cowboys team has proved that they are for real in 2023.
- At quarterback, Andrew Peasley has been “the guy” in Laramie. His heroics against Texas Tech placed him in Pokes folklore and he has continued to be a steady rock for the offense. While he isn’t necessarily a deep-ball thrower that makes NFL scouts gawk at his arm talent, Peasley takes what the defense gives him and moves the chains for Wyoming. Combine that with the level of fire and competitive juice he showcases and he is an underrated weapon for head coach Craig Bohl.
- Wyoming always prides itself on being able to run the rock and have a tailback that can muscle his way through the gaps. This year is no different with Harrison Waylee in the backfield. After having a torrid start to the 2023 campaign, Waylee was absent in the Cowboys’ loss to Air Force.
However, with a bye week to recoup, the junior made it clear to Wyoming News’ Alex Taylor that, “I missed too many games, man. I’m ready to get back. A lot of people have been talking about this Boise game all year. I’m excited to see what the blue turf can provide for me.”
Wyoming RB Harrison Waylee told me he’s playing Saturday at Boise State.— Alex Taylor (@alex_m_taylor22) October 26, 2023
“I missed too many games, man. I’m ready to get back. A lot of people have been talking about this Boise game all year. I’m excited to see what the blue turf can provide for me.”https://t.co/AGHg13QkoG
- When it comes the receiving room, Wyatt Wieland is the number one target for Peasley. With 26 catches to his name, he has racked up 250 yards and hauled in four touchdowns. Ayir Asante isn’t too far behind with 218 yards and four touchdowns as well.
- The Boise State defense did quite well for most of the Colorado State game, but for whatever reason, they just fell flat during crunch time. Considering the continued discussion by Avalos and defensive coordinator Spencer Danielson around the defense getting ready to turn the corner, that has yet to come to fruition.
- A good omen for the Broncos this week is that veteran linebacker DJ Schramm will be returning into the fold. While Marco Notarainni and Andrew Simpson have performed well in his absence, having Schramm back in the rotation will only allow each of the three to last longer into the game.
- The secondary was attacked profusely in Fort Collins. Part of that is the Rams don’t have much of a rushing attack in 2023, but the Broncos’ defense on the backline has continued to be a weakness. While Wyoming may not have the pass-heavy offense of Colorado State, the Cowboys can sneak a few over-the-top throws on you.
- Wyoming may not lead the country in any specific defensive stat, but the unit as a whole performs well in timely situations. They rank top-50 in the nation in allowed passing yards and while they are outside the top-100 in rushing yards allowed, that comes with one giant caveat.
The Cowboys have only allowed six rushing touchdowns this year.
Despite allowing 48 yards less per game than Wyoming, the Broncos have given up 14 rushing touchdowns.
In a humorous turning of the tide, Wyoming is the one who has taken on the “bend, but don’t break” philosophy on defense in 2023, not Boise State.
- When it comes to the turnover battle, the Pokes have been tremendous at forcing a change of possession. With five interceptions and six forced fumbles, they sit at a +6 margin.
They rank 114th in FBS with a -5 margin.
Also, the Cowboys have recovered every fumble they have forced in 2023 (six for six).
- Nickel Wrook Brown leads Wyoming with three interceptions thus far despite only being a sophomore. Craig Bohl always prepares his teams to be opportunistic and feisty, so expect the Cowboys to come out looking for an edge early.
- Jonah Dalmas and James Ferguson-Reynolds continue to be reliable and consistent. Dalmas was a perfect three for three with a long of 49 against Colorado State and Ferguson-Reynolds only was called on three times for the Broncos.
- Wyoming’s special teams unit had a bit of a field day against Air Force. Lou Groza watchlist kicker John Hoyland went zero for two and missed an extra point in Colorado Springs. In fact, in his last two games, Hoyland is one for four on field goal attempts.
Before that, he was a perfect eight for eight on the season.
As for the punting game, Clayton Stewart had steadily improved over the course of 2023. He averaged a season-long of 48.5 yards against the Falcons and nailed his longest punt of the season with a 65-yard boot.
- After weeks of multiple Bronco starters being out, it appears that Boise State is back to full strength. While players like Schramm and Holani may not be 100% straight out of the gate, it will be a welcome sight for Bronco fans.
- For Wyoming, the return of RB Harrison Waylee is a great sight for those in Laramie. He is the workhorse that the Cowboys will need if they look to defeat Boise State on The Blue for the first time in program history.
Why Wyoming Will Win
The Cowboys are a tough as nails team that will grind you down if you let them. This is one of the first times since Josh Allen’s departure to the NFL that Wyoming looks to have a tried-and-true identity on offense. Andrew Peasley is what many would describe as a gamer, and those type of quarterbacks will keep teams in the fight and not get frazzled by stadium noise.
Craig Bohl has always prided himself on his defenses punching you in the mouth (metaphorically, of course). Linebacker Easton Gibbs is a mirror image of DJ Schramm in the way that he leads the Cowboy defense and has a knack for clogging up running lanes.
This is the year where Wyoming smells blood in the water despite being on the mystical blue turf. They nearly clipped the Broncos at War Memorial Stadium a year ago, but after already being tested early this season, they seize the moment and, essentially, eliminate the Broncos from Mountain West title contention.
Why Boise State Will Win
The reintroduction of George Holani into the offense allows Bush Hamdan to utilize some of the schemes and gameplans that he spent all offseason preparing with. Sets with both Holani and Jeanty in the backfield behind Taylen Green is what this offense was supposed to be based around.
The talent behind the offensive line can’t be understated, and when it is firing on all cylinders, it is a dynamic attack.
The Bronco defense doesn’t have to stymy Wyoming, but it needs to do just enough to force the Cowboys into 3rd and long situations. Even though it feels like Boise State opponents have been able to convert in these spots, I don’t see the Pokes being able to consistently convert from seven yards out or further.
Spread: Boise State -5 (-112), Wyoming +5 (—108)
Total: 49 points (-108 for the over and -112 for the under)
Straight Up Money Line: Boise State -218, Wyoming +180
I want to believe that this is the game that jumpstarts a potential run for Boise State as we head into November.
But with a 3-4 record and a deflating loss to the Rams not far behind them, I don’t see the Broncos making significant strides against a tested team such as Wyoming.
Namely, the two-QB system is going to be put under a different level of stress with Cowboy defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel sending blitzes from seemingly every direction in an attempt to confuse the QB in the game.
Boise State may have more talent than Wyoming, but I would say that the Cowboys have a major coaching advantage.
We have seen that this can make or break a game.