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Broncos-Rams: Role Reversal

The Colorado State-Boise State game last night and the one played last year in Fort Collins have some similarities. With 11:13 to go in the half, CSU led 28-3 in 2017.  Boise St closed the gap at the half to trail 35-17. Last night, Boise State led 28-0 with 10:11 to go in the half and settled for a 35-7 halftime lead. CSU carried the momentum into halftime with a late score and based on the wacky 2017 game, I am sure they felt anything could happen.

But, Boise State had a different answer in the 2nd half.

The defense provided a key sack by Curtis Weaver to end the first CSU possession, but then gave up a big run and TD to allow CSU to get with 21 points, 35-14. This is where Mike Bobo went for broke and put the game on the line with 6:13 to go in the 3rd. The Rams had scouted Boise State’s kickoff return team and thought they could steal a possession with a popover kick and recovery. It backfired. The special teams magic that Cedrick Wilson had last year in recovering a BSU onside kick was just not there for CSU. It was a more difficult play and they kicked it too far and Boise St easily recovered.  When you are playing the best Mountain Division team on the road, you have to take some risk, especially down 3 TD’s. Rypien led Boise State to a TD with a red zone 3rd down scramble and Collingham took a tight end reverse in for a score and that was it for CSU, 42-14. On the next possession, a forced fumble by Avery Williams and recovery put down the Rams for good. CSU loses again to Boise State 56-28. CSU is now 0-8 vs Boise State and that’s one role that will take awhile to reverse.

Jeff Caves co-hosts Idaho Sports Talk with Caves & Prater weekdays from 3-6 p.m. on KTIK 93.1 FM The Ticket. He can be found @CavesandPrater (Facebook) and @JeffCaves (Twitter).

 

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Replace The Other Six Guys

Enough has been said and written about how poor Boise State’s offensive line has played. If Boise State had another offensive line maybe they would be undefeated right now. It’s time to give them a little bit of love because that is ridiculous.

It isn’t right to me to say that if almost 45% of the offensive players were different they would be better? Ok, what if the other 6 players were different and the offensive line was the same? Football doesn’t work that way. Especially with the way Harsin looks at the situation. After the San Diego State game he said the run game wasn’t up to Boise State’s standards and had to change. He asked the coaches and players to get better. The week of practice leading up to the Reno game gave reps to o-line back ups as first teamers. They didn’t prove ready enough to start but some of them would finish. It was the same 5 guys who went out there and gained 31 yards on 9 designed run plays in the first half. They also blocked up 1 big reverse TD for Hightower for 88 yards. They gave up a sack and 2 tackles for loss. Rypien took at least 2 big shots after throwing the ball. The offense scored 1 touchdown in 30 minutes. Rypien said he played some of the worst football he ever had in the first half of the game. Interceptions, fumbles, and punts were on display the first half. About the only thing the o-line did well was only get charged with 2 of the 9 penalties called on Boise St. It wasn’t pretty and it felt fortunate that the game was tied with Reno 17-17.

With 8:26 to go in a 31-27 game, the Broncos were backed up to their own 15 yard line. The previous drive netted 3 yards on 5 designed run plays. Rypien was scrambling around and ended up running it 3 times during the awkward drive as well. It ended via interception. You could feel doom and gloom.  By this time, the o-line was re shuffled and featured two backups: jc transfer Isiah Moore at right guard and a redshirt freshman at right tackle in John Ojukwu. Quevedo went down with an injury at RG earlier in the game and I assume RT Preciado was taken out of the game. It felt like the game was on the line. Nevada had the momentum, the o-line wasn’t producing and now 2 back ups were in who were not considered the best options. So, it makes total sense that this misfit crew ran the ball 14 times for 43 yards and put together a 17 play drive to kill the clock and ice the game for Boise State. And despite the fact that his o-line had just been blitzed on 3rd down and given up a 2 yard loss, Harsin put the game on the line by going for a 4th and 8 from the Nevada 39 with 3:17 to go in the game. Harsin believed in his o-line. He asked them to improve. They did. They protected Rypien and he completed a 8 yard pass to CT Thomas for a first down. Game over and a conference championship season was still alive. As was the o-line that saved the day. Now, about those other 6 guys on offense….

Jeff Caves co-hosts Idaho Sports Talk with Caves & Prater weekdays from 3-6 p.m. on KTIK 93.1 FM The Ticket. He can be found @CavesandPrater (Facebook) and @JeffCaves (Twitter).

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It’s Tougher Being Alabama Than Vanderbilt

It’s tougher being Alabama than Vandy. Or, Ohio State not Indiana. The expectations are 100% different. Crimson tide or Buckeye fans expect 12 wins, to be in the National Championship hunt or ,at the very least, a New Years 6 bowl game. A conference championship game appearance is almost a given.

Ho-hum.  

Only Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida State, Wisconsin, BOISE STATE and Stanford can say they have 50+ wins 2013-17.

Harsin was responsible for 42 of them and ,yes, fans expect big bowls and 12 wins.

So far in 2018, the only 50 win club teams to not keep pace are 3-3 Florida State and 3-2 Boise State.

It’s early. They have been here before. Plenty.

But, I am aware the last 4 years have brought some cringe worthy moments with home losses to Air Force, New Mexico,Virginia or Rocky Long. Or, total collapses on the road at Utah State, Baylor or Air Force. The expectation is a NY6 Bowl game this season. It is still possible but not probable. The new norm is a Las Vegas Bowl. That is still in the cards. Boise State football games are often the entertainment at parties that thousands of people host and it’s hard to explain when the band sucks. Booing in the stands, play calling and coach questioning all get louder. Saturday’s performance was so dismal on offense you have no choice but to question why that happened. Going into the 4th quarter, Boise State had 7 points on a 4 yard drive, averaged 1 yard per carry rushing, completed less then ½ of 27 passes for 92 yards and threw 3 interceptions. Heck, Maryland played the #1 defense in college football, Michigan, and scored 21 points and ran for almost 150. Fans want answers and the short one to me is Rypien was hit too much, confused and lost confidence. He will face the same issues vs every team left on the schedule.   

Yes, the wheels fell off the Broncos offensive wagon.  But,the wheels are not off the entire program. Pump your brakes. Lower your expectations. An 11-12 win season is still possible.

jeffblog

CavesCast Video Blog: Aztecs Ambush Rypien

Boise State harassed into loss vs SDSU

Posted by 93.1 KTIK – The Ticket on Saturday, October 6, 2018

Caves

 

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One Guy Knew BSU Was Loaded At WR

The biggest question mark about the 2018 Boise State team was at wide receiver. How would they replace Cedric Wilson? Harsin tried to tell us they would be fine and had belief in the group. The receivers coach even put his job on the line for them. But, it was a low piece of hanging fruit for a story and since we couldn’t point at a bunch of returning players with catches, we stirred the panic pot.

How could this offense be taken seriously if the leading WR’s were going to be 2 guys who didn’t have 100 catches for their career between em!  A.J. Richardson and Sean Modster tuned it all out and both had confidence in themselves. Modster said he wanted to double his career catches. He had 32 for his career.  He has 31 catches through 4 games. Mission accomplished. Richardson has been the most reliable big play receiver and has 3 td’s so far. Wide Receiver coach Eric Kiesau told The Idaho Statesman that he would put his career on the line that this group would make it.

Boise State should offer him a lifetime contract and see what other positions he can coach.

Kiesau said that Boise State would have a stable of 6 or 7 receivers when all is said and done. Done deal. The 34-14 trouncing of Wyoming showed how overmatched the Wyoming defensive backs were against the Boise State stable of wr’s. If it wasn’t Kalili Shakir going Superman for a 4th and goal run it was Sean Modster blowing by the Cowboys for 7 catches including a clutch 46 yarder. Mix in A.J. Richardson muscling his way to 113 yards on 6 catches and you have the deepest WR group Boise State has had maybe ever. Never mind that Richardson can squat 560 lbs and is built like a linebacker. He can just flat out play and is the most clutch wr. Octavius Evans is late to this party but is the most physically gifted of the entire bunch.

Did I forget John Hightower? Of course I did.

Who didn’t?

He made one of the best catches in Bronco history- a one handed beauty vs Wyoming. He also runs reverses, catches touchdowns and is a real deep threat. Even Brett Rypien mentioned the wide receivers as the reason why he is having so much success this season.

A 6-7 deep WR group? Yup. When you add in Butler, Thomas , it really is and unreal Mountain West bunch that may dominate San Diego St as well.

But, we all knew that didn’t we?