Broncos back home for big Mountain Division matchup with Wyoming

Now the Broncos return to what should be close to a sellout crowd Saturday night to face the Wyoming Cowboys in a huge Mountain Division game at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN2. (FILE AP/Photo Shannon Broderick)

A lot has changed in the 29 days since the Boise State football team last played a game at Albertsons Stadium.

Following a stunning home loss to Virginia – their worst home defeat in more than 16 years – the Broncos went on the road and picked up impressive wins at BYU and San Diego State.

While away from home Boise State got the running game going, improved the offensive line and turned up the intensity on defense after a poor game against Virginia.

Now the Broncos return to what should be close to a sellout crowd Saturday night to face the Wyoming Cowboys in a huge Mountain Division game at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN2.

“We definitely have some of that mojo as a team after a couple good wins,” Boise State tight end Jake Roh said. “It’s good to be home.”

The Broncos are looking for revenge on Wyoming after the Cowboys ended their perfect season with a 30-28 win in Laramie last season.

Boise State was 7-0 and ranked No. 13 in the country when Wyoming rallied to tie the game in the fourth quarter and won when Brett Rypien was hit and fumbled the ball out of the end zone for a safety.

The game ended up being the difference in Boise State missing out on an appearance in the Mountain West title game for a second straight year. The two teams and New Mexico finished in a three-way tie at 6-2, but Boise State’s loss to Wyoming gave the Cowboys the tiebreaker and the spot in the title game.

Wyoming is led by quarterback Josh Allen, who some are saying could be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

“Unbelievable arm, great accuracy,” Boise State defensive coordinator Andy Avalos said. “He’s able to fin the open windows, he’s a great athlete and can extend plays and break tackles. You see over and over whether it’s a designed run or just extending plays, he’s breaking tackles.

“He’s going to be a big challenge.”

Boise State’s running game was nowhere to be found the last time they played at home. The Broncos had 30 yards in the loss to the Cavaliers and starting running back Alexander Mattison had just 21 total yards in consecutive home games against New Mexico and Virginia.

But Mattison ripped off back-to-back 100-yard games on the road and set new career highs in both games and has the offense feeling much more confident in their ability to move the ball heading into Saturday’s game against Wyoming.

Boise State’s defense has rebounded from a poor showing against Virginia and gave up just 21 total points to BYU and San Diego State. The Broncos forced three takeaways the past two games and had a fumble recovery for a touchdown against San Diego State.

The last time the Broncos walked off the Blue Turf they were dealing with a stunning home loss and a 2-2 record. Fast forward a month and the Broncos are 4-2 and oozing with confidence.

Both teams have identical overall records, but more importantly are 2-0 in Mountain West play. Any loss is tough at this point in the season, but a divisional loss – against a team where a tiebreaker could come into play – would be even harder to overcome.

With tough games still to come against Utah State, Nevada and Air Force, the Broncos know they can’t afford another slip up at home.

“It’s a big game,” left tackle Archie Lewis said. “We’re trying to win our conference this year. It’s a big game for us.”

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