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Boise State at #10 Washington: Game Info, Preview and Prediction

A nationally-ranked, big time Power Five opponent on the road week one? A few games come to mind from yesteryear...

NCAA Football: Colorado State at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports


Location: Seattle, Washington (Husky Stadium)

Date/Time: Saturday, September 2nd at 1:30 p.m. (Mountain Time)

Television: ABC

Streaming: ESPN App

Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KBOI 93.1 FM (Bronco Radio Network)

Head-to-Head: Washington holds the all-time series edge with a 3-2 record against the Broncos. The two times that Boise State has traveled to the Emerald City, both resulted in lopsided losses (24-10 in 2007 and 38-6 in 2013).

Tale of the Tape

  • Boise State returns an immense amount of offensive talent via nine starters for 2023. On defense, the Broncos bring back six starters from a defense that was stifling a year ago. For the Huskies, seven players come back on offense while the defense retains seven starters.
  • Both teams bring back their respective star quarterbacks (Taylen Green for BSU and Michael Penix Jr. for UW). Each of them are expected to contend for postseason accolades and lead their teams to lofty standards in 2023.
  • The Broncos hold the edge at running back with George Holani and Ashton Jeanty being a dynamic one-two punch. Washington lost their projected starter, Cam Davis, to injury during fall camp.
  • At wide receiver, the duo of Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan is an electric combination that can torch the best secondaries in college football. Boise State brings back all of their starting wideouts from a year ago, but a key cog in the machine, Latrell Caples, was announced as out for the 2023 season due to an injury during fall camp. Caples was projected as the go-to slot receiver for the Bronco offense. Stefan Cobbs will slide into that vacancy while Eric McAlister and Billy Bowens lineup along the hashes.
  • Both the Broncos and Huskies are implementing some youth in the trenches. Coincidentally, each program’s starting right guard for the opener is a redshirt freshman (Roger Carreon for BSU and Parker Brailsford for UW). An incredible statistic from UW’s 2022 campaign was that the o-line only allowed SEVEN sacks all year. Instead, the Huskies brought down the opposing QB 37 times.
  • On the defensive side of the ball, UW co-defensive coordinators William Inge (linebackers) and Chuck Morrell (safeties) have a ton to work with on the defensive line. The Huskies bring back Tuli Letuligasenoa, Faatui Tuitele and stud Bralen Trice, a national watchlist player that accounted for nine of Washington’s 37 sacks last year. Boise State head coach Andy Avalos lost multiple guys in the trenches, including fan favorite Scott Matlock, to graduation and the NFL. Nose tackle Herbert Gums will be a key factor in putting consistent pressure on Penix Jr. and giving the Broncos a fighting chance at limiting the Husky offense.
  • At linebacker, the Broncos have the best of the position in D.J. Schramm. Andrew Simpson will complement Schramm in the starting lineup while Washington will put out a returning starter in Alphonzo Tuputala.
  • The secondary is a point of interests for both squads, but for different reasons. Boise State has to replace the production of third-level stalwarts JL Skinner and Tyreque Jones while Washington looks to improve upon their subpar pass defense that ranked 108th in allowed passing yards per game (268.3 average).
  • Special teams is where Boise State has the upper hand. The Broncos bring back Lou Groza semifinalist Jonah Dalmas as he looks to break the all-time career field goal record held by Kyle Brotzman. On the other side, the Huskies have to replace their all-time leading scorer, Peyton Henry. Grady Gross has won the starting job, but being put on the big stage is a whole other animal.

Notable Changes/Announcements

  • Boise State will have a new signal caller in offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan. The Bronco alum has bounced around the collegiate landscape and NFL community. The name may ring a bell to Husky fans as he was the offensive coordinator in 2018 and 2019.
  • When the Bronco depth chart was released Monday, two different names were absent from the PDF. Offensive lineman Mason Randolph, a bright young star that started ten games last year as a freshman, was nowhere to be seen after he was recently tabbed as the starting center in fall camp. Wide receiver Austin Bolt has worked his way back from a severe leg injury that cost him his 2022 season, but, it appears that he is still working through the process to be 100% back. There were hopes that he could be a wild card on the perimeter and that he could help in the return game on special teams. Boise State has made no official announcement on either of the two.
  • It has been repeated (even in this article), but Washington will be without RB Cam Davis for the 2023 campaign. Mississippi State transfer Dillon Johnson will take on the majority of snaps in the opener and the remaining plays will be dispersed by committee.

Why Washington Will Win

Great offense beats great defense.

Simple as that.

Michael Penix Jr. and his receivers are a handful for perennial PAC-12 contenders to deal with, let alone a Mountain West program that is integrating new personnel into the starting rotation. The Huskies race out of the gates, exciting the near sold out crowd on hand. This forces Boise State to jump into the air attack a bit prematurely, leading to a turnover or two that blows the game wide open. The rapid pace that Washington plays with challenges the Broncos and causes some sloppy tackling and missed assignments to arise.

On the other side of the ball, Washington is able to stifle the Bronco rushing attack just enough to force Taylen Green to beat them through the air. While TG10 does show improvement, it isn’t enough to Superman the blue and orange over the edge.

Why Boise State Will Win

The trio of Green, George Holani and Ashton Jeanty are able to keep the offense ahead of the chains and prevent an abundance of 3rd and long situations. While Hamdan may want to go up tempo from time to time, Boise State will rely on chewing the clock and slowly grinding their way down the field. A handful of over-the-top passes put the pressure on Washington as the offense is able to punch their way into the endzone more often than not.

Defensively, the corners and safeties are able to keep the action in front of them, preventing any major gains happening via the passing game. The hallmark for Boise State defenses in the past is to be physical and get in the air space of their opponents. There is a certain ferocity that previous teams have played with that led them to beating programs that they were not supposed to compete with.

They will need that to make Washington uncomfortable.

3 Players to Watch

Obviously, the star players (Michael Penix, Taylen Green, Justin McMillan, etc.) will have the eyes of viewers come Saturday afternoon.

I want to highlight three players that, while they may not be household names, may be the difference-makers in this matchup.

Ahmed Hassanein (Defensive End - Boise State)

  • The 6-3 lineman out of Egypt (you read that right) has had moments of dominance on the field when he is healthy and his motor is revved up. If he can find his way into the backfield early, Hassanein could inflict some damage on the left side of the Washington o-line.

Alexander Teubner (Boundary Safety - Boise State)

  • The redshirt senior made his biggest impact a year ago when injuries short-staffed the secondary. Immediately, his energy on the gridiron was infectious as he put his body on the line each and every tackle. His ball skills haven’t been on consistent display, but a good outing by Teubner could alleviate some pressure away from Rodney Robinson (field safety) and Seyi Oladipo (nickel).

Jabbar Muhammad (Cornerback - Washington)

  • At 5-10, the sophomore out of Desoto, Texas, has been a tremendous addition to the Husky secondary. Muhammad transferred to Washington by way of Oklahoma State, starting all 13 games with the Cowboys. He is a tenacious presence who will make his presence felt against the Bronco receivers.

DraftKings Odds

Spread: Boise State +14, Washington -14 (-110 money line on both bets)

Total: 58.5 points (-110 money line)

Straight Up Money Line: Boise State +455, Washington -625


My heart wants this to be the game that jumpstarts Boise State’s resurgence back to the national stage, but I just don’t see it.

Washington has too many weapons on the perimeter and Michael Penix Jr. is no joke. After USC’s Caleb Williams, you can make an argument that Penix Jr. is the next best quarterback in the PAC-12.

The Broncos will be competitive, though. In fact, I believe they will cover the spread and show a much more polished offense compared to last year’s opener against Oregon State.