Broncos hoping to keep road success going at Utah State
BOISE, Idaho —
The Boise State football team has played pretty well on the road in 2017. They’ll need another solid performance away from home tonight to win at Utah State.
The Broncos (5-2, 3-0 MW) will look to stay undefeated in Mountain West play when they travel to Logan, Utah, to face the Aggies.
Boise State is 2-1 on the road, but has led by at least 17 points in the fourth quarter in all three road games. The Broncos won at BYU and at No. 19 San Diego State, and nearly won at No. 20 Washington State before a late 21-point collapse.
The Broncos’ last trip to Logan didn’t go quite as well in 2015. Boise State committed eight turnovers on offense, including seven in a crazy first half, and suffered a stunning 52-26 loss.
Boise State avenged the loss a bit with a 21-10 win in Boise last season, but this will mark the first game at Utah State since the debacle two years ago.
It’s certainly a game Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien would like to make up for. Rypien had five turnovers himself, including an interception that was returned for a touchdown and two lost fumbles that put Utah State in the red zone.
In all Rypien was picked off three times and lost two fumbles in what was just his fourth career start as a true freshman.
The seven first-half turnovers were the most by any team in college football in at least the 10 previous years. The eight turnovers for the game were the most for Boise State since they moved to the FBS level in 1996.
Boise State trailed 45-10 at the half, and the 25-point deficit was the biggest at the half for a Boise State team since they trailed 42-0 at Louisiana Tech in 1998.
It was also the first time the Broncos had given up 50 points in regulation — although much of the damage came as the result of poor field position due to the offensive turnovers — since a 55-51 win at New Mexico State also in 1998.
“That’s a tough place to play,” Harsin said. “Their fans are great. They get excited. It’s going to be loud. They always play well at home, and they will play tough against us. They always do. They are a physical football team, very well coached. This is going to be a major challenge for our guys.”
The teams look a lot different this time around. Utah State (4-4, 2-2 MW) is using a no-huddle, up-tempo offense that offensive coordinator David Yost previously used at Oregon, Washington State and Missouri.
Utah State is averaging 32.6 points and 401 yards per game and has had at least 580 yards of offense in three different games this season. The Aggies scored 52 points and had 588 yards of offense against UNLV last Saturday.
The Aggies have scored 51, 61, 40 and 52 points in its four wins, compared to 10, 10, 14 and 23 points in the four losses.
Utah State’s defense is no slouch, either. The Aggies are tied for No. 1 in the country with four defensive touchdowns, three from corner Jalen Davis, and rank No. 34 in the nation in passing yards allowed at just 194.6 per game.
Utah State currently is first in the Mountain West and No. 2 nationally with 20 takeaways. They have 10 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries, both of which rank in the top 10 among all FBS teams.
The Aggies had seven turnovers against BYU earlier this season.
“We certainly experienced that,” Harsin said. “They do quite a few things. They are difficult to figure out exactly what they are doing. … This is a really good football team.
“Take care of the football. The turnover battle, you win the turnover battle, you have a great chance of winning the game. We have to do a much better job than we did last time we were down there.”
Kick off is scheduled for just after 8 p.m. from Logan, and the game will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network.