Broncos Head To The Palouse
Sept. 4, 2017
BOISE, Idaho - Following a season-opening home victory, the Boise State football team will travel to the Palouse to take on 24th-ranked Washington State (1-0) at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash., Saturday (Sept. 9).
Kick between the Broncos and Cougars is set for 8:30 p.m. MT, and the game will be nationally televised by ESPN.
SERIES HISTORY: Despite being fewer than 300 miles from each other, Boise State and Wazzu have met just five times previously. The Broncos registered their first win in the series this past season in Boise, knocking off the Cougars, 31-28 (Sept. 10, 2016). The Cougars had won each of the first four games played, including contests in Pullman in 1997 and 2000.
AGAINST THE AUTONOMOUS FIVE: Boise State will face two Autonomous Five teams in 2017, a season after going 2-1 against such programs in 2016. Last year, the Broncos defeated Washington State (31-28) and Oregon State (38-24) before falling to Baylor (31-12) in the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl.
This year, Boise State heads to Pullman for the return game against Washington State (Sept. 9), and welcomes Virginia to Albertsons Stadium on Sept. 22.
The Broncos enter 2017 with a 14-6 record against schools from the Autonomous Five since the start of the 2006 season, and have won five of the past six against such opposition. Boise State has also won 15 games against such schools since 2003, third-best among all Group of Five teams over that span (BYU and Navy are tied with 23 apiece). It should be noted that all six of Boise State’s losses to Autonomous Five schools since 2006 have come on the road or at a neutral site. Since notching its first victory over an Autonomous Five school, a 34-16 win over Iowa State in the 2002 Humanitarian Bowl, Boise State is 16-10 all-time in such games, and 16-22 overall.
PAC-12 SUCCESS: Boise State went 2-0 against the Pac-12 last year with wins over Washington State and Oregon State. While Boise State is 11-13 overall against the Pac-12, the Broncos are 11-5 against the conference since 2004 and are currently on a four-game winning streak dating back to the 2014 VIZIO Fiesta Bowl victory over Arizona. That streak includes a 16-13 win over Washington in the 2015 opener, in addition to the aforementioned wins over Washington State and Oregon State in 2016.
Boise State has played a Pac-12 team away from Albertsons Stadium 15 times prior to this Saturday’s trip to Washington State, with 12 of those meetings being true road games. The Broncos are 2-10 in those true road contests, with the only wins coming at Oregon (37-32 on Sept. 20, 2008) and at Oregon State (38-24 on Sept. 24, 2016).
VS. RANKED OPPONENTS: Washington State is the fi rst ranked opponent the Broncos have faced since Arizona in the 2014 VIZIO Fiesta Bowl, Dec. 31, 2014. The Wildcats ranked 12th in the AP Poll, 11th in the Coaches Poll and 10th in the CFP Poll entering the Fiesta Bowl, where Boise State handed them a 38-30 defeat. The Broncos are 11-15 all-time against ranked opponents, including a mark of 8-6 over the last 10 years (since 2008).
The Broncos’ last victory over a ranked opponent as an unranked team came in 2008, when Boise State knocked off 12th-ranked Oregon (37-32), Sept. 20, 2008. That win over the Ducks was also the Broncos’ last true road win over a ranked team. Since the victory, Boise State has notched fi ve wins over ranked teams at neutral sites.
This would be the Broncos’ 12th game played as an unranked team against a ranked opponent, and Boise State is 2-9 all-time in such games. Boise State is also 3-10 against ranked opponents on the road.
Avery Williams, PLAYMAKER: While a member of the defense, redshirt freshman cornerback Avery Williams made a solo tackle in Saturday’s win over Troy. But his key contributions came on special teams, as he took a punt 81 yards to the house just 1:36 into the contest on the very first touch of his Bronco career. It was the fifth-longest punt return in school history, and the first punt-return score since Donte Deayon’s 75-yard return at Wyoming on Nov. 22, 2014, while Williams’ 124 punt-return yards in the game marked the sixth-highest total in the Boise State record book.
Williams also got in on the kick-return business, returning a kick 48 yards to the Troy 41 late in the first half, setting up a field goal that gave the Broncos a 17-10 lead at the break.
Williams, one of eight players in the FBS to return a punt for a score so far this year, was named Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week Monday for his performance against Troy.
HOW WILL YOU CREATE TURNOVERS, THEY ASKED: After forcing just nine turnovers in 2016, an all-time program low, Boise State’s defense responded to its critics in a big way last Saturday, forcing three Troy turnovers (one interception, two fumbles). All three of those turnovers came at critical times, with the first coming as redshirt freshman Desmond Williams punched the ball loose from Troy receiver Deondre Douglas just before the goal line, forcing it through the end zone for a Bronco touchback and saving what would have been the game-tying touchdown late in the third quarter.
The next touchdown came midway through the fourth quarter, just after the Broncos, holding on to a 17-13 lead, turned the ball over on downs at the Troy 22. Facing an onrushing Sonatane Lui, Troy quarterback Brandon Silvers threw the ball deep where it was picked off by sophomore safety Kekoa Nawahine at the Troy 49. The Broncos would then drive 49 yards for the game-clinching touchdown with 2:12 remaining. The third turnover, on Troy’s ensuing possession, sealed the contest as redshirt soph-omore Sam Whitney strip-sacked Silvers, with Lui coming up with the loose ball.
NO END ZONE FOR THE TROY OFFENSE: The Bronco defense kept the Troy offense out of the end zone Saturday, as the Trojans’ only touchdown came on an interception return. The last time Boise State’s defense had not allowed an offensive touchdown was at the SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl against Northern Illinois on Dec. 23, 2015, as the Huskies’ only touchdown came on a kickoff return in the second quarter.
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