POINSETTIA BOWL GAME DAY BREAKDOWN
For pre-game interviews and insight, click on the links below.
Coach Petersen, Coach Pease and Coach Wilcox
George Iloka and Richie Brockel
Vinny Perretta and Jeron Johnson
All the game previews have been written. The television analysts have made their predictions. Coach and player talk is all over. The stage is set for what most are calling one of the top five bowl games of the 2008 season.
Boise State vs. TCU. Number 9 vs. Number 11. A combined record of 22-2. A matchup of two of the top three defenses in the country. Two offenses that score at a clip of better than 35 points per game. Mirror images, not entirely, but certainly two of the most respected, and perhaps, underrated teams in all of college football.
This is the second meeting all-time between the Broncos and Horned Frogs. The other coming in the 2003 Fort Worth Bowl, when both were starting their recent ascent into national prominence. Today’s game, without question, has more at stake than the 34-31 Boise State five years ago. Consider the spoils to the winner: The certainty of a top 10 national finish; a leg up in next year’s pre-season rankings; conference pride as much is talked about between the Mountain West and the WAC; and for Boise State a second undefeated season in three years and the potential of being the only unbeaten team left standing this season.
A three and a half hour game that plays out perfectly for both Boise State and TCU when it comes to the eyes of the nation. This is the only bowl game scheduled for Tuesday, and with two days of NFL talk in the rearview mirror, and still a week away from any BCS games, this is the game people will be watching. Here is a sneak peak at some of the keys to the game and what to watch for as Boise State tries to keep yet another Perfect Season alive.
1. Establish A Rhythm: Boise State’s offense can’t be expected to score at will against the second best scoring defense in the nation. But, establishing some consistency and even moving the chains early in the game will help as the game wears on.
2. Field Position: This will be crucial in a game that features fast and physical defenses. Maintaining that edge could prove to be the deciding point. Not only does it prove advantageous in the turnover game, but also provides the chance for a big special teams play.
3. Protection for Moore: The young Boise State offensive line will be tested like never before this season. With All-American Jerry Hughes coming from one side, and all-conference Matt Panfil from the other, TCU will bring the pressure.
4. First Down Defense: TCU prides itself on methodically moving the ball, owning the best time of possession mark in the nation at 35 minutes per game. The method of operation for the Horned Frogs is getting yardage on first down to set up second and medium and then third and short. The Bronco defense will strive to put them in second and long.
5. Turnovers: The outcome in just about every game is typically decided by turnovers. But, it is much more magnified in the bowl season because of the quality of opponent. With this game, it will become even bigger because of the style of play by both defenses.
6. Run Downhill: Boise State’s rushing attack hasn’t necessarily been lacking in 2008 (averaging 163 yards per game), but it hasn’t been as dominant as years past either. Teams have stacked the line against the Bronco young line and talented stable of tailbacks. To counter, Boise State has made them pay with the accuracy and poise of freshman Kellen Moore. How will Ian Johnson perform in this his last game as a Bronco? Can Jeremy Avery’s combination of speed and power help the Boise State establish some sort of running game against a TCU team that allows less than 50 yards per game on the ground? Those are the big questions.
7. Defensive Line Depth: The one area where Boise State got hit with the injury bug was defensive end. Three contributors, including senior starter Mike T. Williams, suffered leg or knee injuries that will keep them out of today’s game. Emerging star Billy Winn will move outside to defensive end, joining true freshman Byron Hout opposite Ryan Winterswyk. To help inside, injured senior Steven Reveles will get game action for the first time since breaking his arm against San Jose State on October 24. A defensive front that brought in shift changes similar to a hockey team is down some guys, but will need to be as stout as ever against TCU’s offense.