Broncos Head To San Diego To Face Aztecs
Oct. 9, 2017

SDSU Gameday 2017

Boise State
3-2, 1-0 MW
Boise State at San Diego State
Saturday, Oct. 14 | 8:30 p.m. MT
SDCCU Stadium | San Diego, Calif.
Broadcast: CBS Sports Network
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6-0, 2-0 MW
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BOISE, Idaho - The Boise State football team will play a second-straight road game, traveling to San Diego to square off against San Diego State, Oct. 14 (Saturday). Kick between the Broncos (3-2, 1-0 MW) and Aztecs (6-0, 2-0 MW), ranked 18th and 19th nationally in the Amway Coaches and Associated Press Polls, respectively, is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. at SDCCU Stadium, and the game will be nationally televised by CBS Sports Network.

THE SERIES: Boise State and San Diego State have each won two games in the all-time series, and are each 1-1 at their home stadium. The Broncos won the last meeting, a 38- 29 win in Boise, Nov. 15, 2014. The Broncos’ only road win over SDSU came in the first meeting between the schools, a 52-35 victory, Nov. 19, 2011.

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP STILL IN PLAY: At the top of Boise State’s team room reads the Broncos’ annual goal – to win a Mountain West Championship and a bowl game with class, integrity and academic excellence. Despite being 3-2 through the first five games of the season, the team’s ultimate goal is still in play – a conference championship. Since making the move to what is now the Football Bowl Subdivision in 1996, the Broncos boast a national-best 12 conference championships.

RANKED OPPONENTS ON THE ROAD: San Diego State is the second ranked opponent the Broncos have played on the road this season. The Broncos dropped a 47-44 match-up with Washington State in triple overtime earlier this season (Sept. 9). Boise State is 11-16 all-time against ranked opponents, including a mark of 8-7 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 five wins over ranked teams at neutral sites. This week’s game will mark the Broncos’ 13th game played as an unranked team against a ranked opponent, and Boise State is 2-10 all-time in such games. The Broncos are also 3-11 against ranked opponents on the road.

“TRUE” DEFENSIVE NUMBERS?: The Boise State defense – in back-to-back weeks, with four days between the two games – squared off against Washington State’s Air Raid and New Mexico’s triple option. One is obviously heavy on the pass (95.2 percent of Wazzu’s offensive yards came through the air), while the other is heavy on the run (71.5 percent of the Lobos’ yardage came on the ground). Of Wazzu’s 94 plays, 67 were passes (71.3 percent). Of UNM’s 67 plays, 51 were rushes (76.1 percent).

Perhaps a more accurate depiction of Boise State’s national rankings can be evaluated by removing those numbers from the averages. When doing so, Boise State is allowing fewer than 200 yards passing per game (194.7), and barely more than 100 yards rushing per game (103.0). The Broncos’ pass defense would rank tied for 29th nationally, while the run defense would rank 15th. Without Wazzu and New Mexico, the defense is allowing 297.7 yards of total offense per game, a mark that would rank 17th nationally.

TURNOVER MACHINE: Leighton Vander Esch has two forced fumbles (tied for ninth-most nationally), and two interceptions (tied for 31st nationally). One of the fumbles was recovered (for a 55-yard touchdown by Curtis Weaver against Washington State), giving Vander Esch a hand in three of the Broncos’ 10 turnovers this season. Boise State had nine turnovers in all of 2016.

PUTTING 2016 TO REST: Last year, Boise State’s defense forced just nine turnovers, a program-record low. However, in 2017, it took just five games for the Broncos to exceed that number, as interceptions from Kekoa Nawahine and Leighton Vander Esch Friday night at BYU pushed the defense’s takeaway total to 10. Out of fi ve games this season, the Bronco defense has forced multiple turnovers in four of those, with the Sept. 22 game against Virginia (zero turnovers) being the lone exception.

POWERED BY IDAHO: Boise State’s defense, which ranks 26th in the FBS through Sept. 16 (325.0 yards allowed per game), features among its many high-level performers a pair of Idaho natives who have gotten off to an impactful start in 2017. Riggins native Leighton Vander Esch, one of three season-long Bronco captains, has become a force at linebacker, ranking seventh in the nation and leading the Broncos with 10.4 tackles per game (52 total). That total includes 3.0 sacks, in addition to two interceptions and two forced fumbles. After setting his career high with 16 tackles, along with a sack and a forced fumble at Washington State (Sept. 9), Vander Esch followed with 13 tackles, another forced fumble and his fi rst interception of the season against New Mexico (Sept. 14). Meridian native Kekoa Nawahine, a sophomore safety, is an important piece in Boise State’s young, fast, and aggressive secondary. Friday at BYU, Nawahine made his second interception of the season as well as a team-leading nine tackles (seven solo). Back on Sept. 14, against New Mexico, Nawahine assisted on four tackles, including one for loss, and scooped up Vander Esch’s forced fumble and returned it 14 yards into Lobo territory, setting up Boise State’s opening-drive touchdown. For the year, Nawahine is tied for third on the team with 32 tackles.

TOUGH AGAINST THE RUN: After limiting BYU to just 66 yards on 23 carries Friday night, the Boise State defense rose to 18th in the country in rushing defense, allowing just 105.8 rushing yards per game. Boise State opponents are also averaging just 3.1 yards per carry in 2017.

MATTISON HITS THE CENTURY MARK: For the first time this season, Boise State posted a 100-yard rusher in a contest as sophomore Alexander Mattison went for 118 yards Friday night at BYU. For Mattison, it was a career night on the ground, as he set personal benchmarks in rushing yards, carries (29) and rushing touchdowns (two), posting the first multi-touchdown game of his career. It also stopped a six-game streak in which the Broncos failed to have a player go over 100 yards on the ground, as the last such performance was Jeremy McNichols’ 206-yard game against UNLV last Nov. 18. For the year, Mattison leads the Broncos with 284 rushing yards and four scores on the ground.

RYPIEN FINDS A GROOVE: Bronco quarterback Brett Rypien recovered from an interception on his first pass attempt of Friday night’s game at BYU, going 12-for-18 the rest of the way to fi nish 12-for-19 with 125 yards and a touchdown in the 24-7 win. As has been the case this year, a multitude of Bronco receivers were involved in the air attack, as seven different receivers hauled in a pass, led by Cedrick Wilson and Jake Roh with three apiece. Rypien’s lone touchdown pass, his first of the season, went 24 yards to Sean Modster just before halftime, marking Modster’s first-career touchdown.

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