Broncos Head To Logan For MW Matchup
Oct. 23, 2017

Utah State Gameday 2017

Boise State
5-2, 3-0 MW
Boise State at Utah State
Saturday, Oct. 28 | 8 p.m. MT
Maverik Stadium | Logan, Utah
Broadcast: CBS Sports Network
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4-4, 2-2 MW
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BOISE, Idaho - The Boise State football team takes its three-game winning streak on the road this week, traveling to Logan, Utah, to square off against Utah State. The Broncos (5-2, 3-0 MW) and Aggies (4-4, 2-2 MW) are slated to kick at 8 p.m. at Maverik Stadium, and the game will be nationally televised by CBS Sports Network.

THE SERIES: Boise State is 16-5 alltime against Utah State, including a road mark of 7-3. Boise State dropped its last game played in Logan (52-26; Oct. 16, 2015), which ended Boise State's 12-game winning streak over the Aggies. The loss was also the fi rst in Logan since Nov. 1, 1997 (24-20), which ended a fi ve-game road win streak. Boise State has never lost back-to-back road games to Utah State. Boise State won last year's meeting in Boise, knocking off Utah State 21-10, Oct. 1, 2016.

RUSH DEFENSE NUMBERS: Boise State has yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season. Additionally, teams are averaging more than 55 yards per game below their season average (against all other opponents) when playing the Broncos (minus-55.8). Only Virginia (plus-50.8) and Wyoming (plus-27.1) eclipsed their season average against the Bronco defense. The Broncos' best rush defense performance came against San Diego State, in which they held the Aztecs to 131.6 yards below their average.

SURVIVE AND ADVANCE: In the race for the Mountain Division title, Boise State survived another "round" Saturday night, dealing Wyoming its first conference loss to drop the number of unbeaten teams in the division to two. Boise State (3-0) and Colorado State (4-0) remain the frontrunners in the Mountain Division, with two more games before the head-to-head matchup between the teams (Nov. 11).

FOURTH-QUARTER COMEBACKS: Boise State went into the fourth quarter of Saturday's contest against Wyoming trailing 14-10, and came back for the 24-14 victory. It marked the first time this season, and the fifth time overall during head coach Bryan Harsin's tenure, that the Broncos have come out on top after trailing or being tied entering the final quarter.

NOT BUYING INTO THE HYPE: Saturday night's contest against Wyoming marked the second-straight week in which Boise State faced a highly-touted opposing player, and the second-straight week in which the Bronco defense held that star to a subpar effort.

After holding San Diego State Heisman hopeful running back Rashaad Penny to just 53 yards on 21 carries on Oct. 14, the Broncos held Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, touted as a potential No. 1 NFL draft choice, to just 131 yards and a touchdown on 12-of-27 passing, and twice intercepted the Cowboy signal-caller. For the contest, Boise State held Wyoming's offense to just 242 yards, with Allen providing the majority of that total with 131 passing yards and 62 rushing yards.

MORE MEMBERS OF THE PICK CLUB: Two Broncos, sophomore safety DeAndre Pierce and redshirt freshman cornerback Avery Williams, recorded the first interceptions of their respective careers Saturday night against Wyoming. Pierce, a hard-hitting safety, picked off Josh Allen on the first play of the second quarter and returned it 46 yards to set up a Boise State field goal. Williams, meanwhile, intercepted Allen's final pass of the game, with 58 seconds left, to thwart Wyoming's final drive and seal the 24-14 win. Overall, Boise State's defense has picked off eight passes in 2017, a figure that ranks 28th in the FBS.

BREAKOUT YEAR FOR WILLIAMS: Redshirt freshman cornerback Avery Williams started for the third-straight week this past Saturday night against Wyoming, breaking up a pair of passes and making the first interception of his career. He also averaged 8.0 yards over four punt returns, including a 16-yard return early in the fourth quarter that set Boise State up at the Wyoming 48 and led to a three-play drive that resulted in the touchdown to put the Broncos up by 10.

Last week at San Diego State, Williams enjoyed probably the best all-around game of his young Bronco career. On defense, Williams made six solo tackles and knocked away a pass, while on special teams he struck once again, returning a first-quarter punt 53 yards for the game's opening touchdown, his second such score of the season. Williams is now the first Bronco with multiple punt-return touchdowns in a season since Kyle Wilson had three in 2008.

Williams is second in the Mountain West and ranks 11th in the country averaging 14.1 yards per punt return. In his collegiate debut against Troy on Sept. 2, 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 has twice been named Mountain West Special Team Player of the Week, first earning the award Sept. 4 after his performance against Troy, then again Oct. 16 after his efforts at San Diego State.

WEAVER ANOTHER BREAKOUT NEWCOMER: A redshirt freshman STUD, Curtis Weaver leads the Bronco defense in sacks (6.0) and tackles-for-loss (7.5) after posting two sacks in Saturday night's win over Wyoming. He has also scored a defensive touchdown this year, a 55-yard fumble return at Washington State (Sept. 9).

Saturday night, he became just the third player this season to record two sacks against Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, and accounted for half (2.0) of Boise State's four sacks of the Cowboy quarterback.

For the year, Weaver also shares the Mountain West lead in sacks and ranks tied for fifth in tackles-for-loss.

VANDER ESCH FOR ALL-AMERICA?: It might just be time to start talking about redshirt junior linebacker Leighton Vander Esch's All-America candidacy this season. The Riggins, Idaho, native has been the lynchpin of the Bronco defense, which ranks 20th overall in the FBS (312.9 yards allowed per game) and 11th against the run (103.3 ypg). Individually, Vander Esch has been in the middle of nearly everything as he leads the Broncos in tackles with 74 (50 solo), ranks seventh in the country with 10.6 tackles per game, and third in the country with 7.1 solo tackles per game.

Vander Esch has also shown his playmaking ability in the turnover game, forcing a pair of fumbles and picking off a pair of passes so far this season. To go along with 3.0 sacks and 4.5 tackles-for-loss.

COZART MIXES UP WYOMING: Redshirt senior quarterback Montell Cozart showcased his all-around talent in Saturday's 24-14 win over Wyoming, having a hand in all three Bronco touchdowns.

Cozart rushed 16 times for 52 yards and two touchdowns, and went 4-of-5 passing with a 24-yard scoring strike to Cedrick Wilson that made it a two-possession game. The graduate transfer from Kansas became the first Bronco quarterback to rush for two touchdowns in a game since Grant Hedrick, who scored twice on the ground in the Mountain West Championship Game against Fresno State (Dec. 6, 2014).

MATTISON BULLS AHEAD: After tough outings on the ground against New Mexico (10 yards on six carries) and Virginia (11 yards on seven carries), sophomore running back Alexander Mattison has gotten things on track, setting career highs in consecutive weeks at BYU (118 yards) and San Diego State (128 yards) before just missing the century mark Saturday against Wyoming (91 yards on 17 carries).

Mattison had a career night on the ground Oct. 6 at BYU, setting personal benchmarks in rushing yards (118), carries (29) and rushing touchdowns (two), posting the first multi-touchdown game of his career and Boise State's first 100- yard rushing game of 2017. He eclipsed his week-old career best by going for 128 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries Oct. 14 at San Diego State. Mattison's impact was most felt in the second half, during which he rushed for 108 yards on 15 carries, with 49 yards coming on Boise State's game-sealing nine-play, 70-yard drive in the fourth quarter.

For the year, Mattison leads the Broncos with 503 rushing yards and five scores on the ground.

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