Portland State vs. Boise State: Game Preview, Kick Time, TV & Radio Schedule, Prediction
The Broncos look to extend their winning streak against the FCS Vikings. Here’s how to watch and what to watch for.
What can the Broncos fine tune on Saturday night?
WEEK 3: Portland State Vikings (1-1) vs. Boise State Broncos (2-0)
WHEN: Saturday, September 14 — 8:15 PM MT/7:15 PM PT
WHERE: Albertsons Stadium; Boise, Idaho (36,387)
RADIO: The Boise State broadcast can be found on the ten affiliates which comprise the Bronco Radio Network, including the flagship, 670 AM, in Boise. The Portland State broadcast can be found on the team’s website.
LAST WEEK: Boise State won a defensive battle on the blue against Marshall, 14-7. Portland State crushed Division II Simon Fraser at home, 70-7.
SERIES RECORD: Boise State leads the all-time series 6-1. In the last meeting on October 8, 2005, the Broncos defeated the Vikings, 21-14.
ODDS (via OddsShark): Boise State -31.5
SP+ PROJECTION: Boise State by 47.3 (100% win probability)
After fighting tooth and nail for their first two wins of 2019, the Boise State Broncos get something of a reprieve when they host FCS Portland State on Saturday night.
The Vikings, under head coach Bruce Barnum, have proven themselves a tough out in their first two games. Granted, beating up on a Division II team may not actually mean all that much, but PSU nearly pulled off a stunning road upset against Arkansas in Week 1, as well, and took down two FBS teams back in 2015. They can’t be overlooked, but…
Boise State is pretty clearly a few rungs above the Razorbacks and Simon Fraser, though. In this preview, then, it’s not so much about identifying keys to a victory as it is finding the things Bryan Harsin and company can improve upon from their first two weeks. Here’s how the Broncos can maximize their chances at coasting to a win over the Vikings.
Three Keys to a Boise State Victory
1. Fix the issues in pass protection.
“Hurricane” Hank Bachmeier has done plenty to prove that Harsin made the right decision at quarterback, but one question that has popped up repeatedly in non-conference play is whether or not the offensive line can keep him on his feet. The Broncos have allowed eight sacks so far, the most in the Mountain West, and while that is to an extent a symptom of the fact they’ve run 189 plays on offense, the most in the FBS, Bachmeier took plenty of shots against both Florida State and Marshall.
Portland State showed they can get after the quarterback last week against Simon Fraser, erupting for eight sacks in their blowout win. One particular player who could cause trouble is defensive tackle Kenton Bennett, a Boise native who had three sacks last week and was one of two Vikings named as a preseason all-Big Sky selection.
2. Shut Charlie Taumoepeau down.
Portland State doesn’t have a ton of offensive weapons, but the other Viking to be named a preseason all-conference selection, tight end Charlie Taumoepeau, is a talented enough playmaker to have also been a preseason selection for the Walter Payton Award watch list, given annually to the FCS’s top offensive player.
Taumoepeau averaged 20.7 yards per catch in 2018 and had four catches for 58 yards and a score in PSU’s opener at Arkansas, so the Broncos will want to make him a focal point of their defensive efforts.
3. Get more consistency from the running game.
The individual performances from Robert Mahone and George Holani have been encouraging but, as a team, it’s worth noting that the Broncos have averaged just four yards per carry, after adjusting for sacks, in the early going. They’re also next-to-last in the Mountain West with 15 tackles for loss allowed, which is probably not a coincidence.
Realistically, the Broncos won’t be in any danger of losing this game. At some point, it’ll probably be more an opportunity for Andrew Van Buren to get some run or for freshman defenders like J.L. Skinner and Markel Reed to receive playing time. However it shakes out, the home crowd will leave happy.
Boise State 42, Portland State 10