Air Force vs. Boise State: Game Preview, Kick Time, TV & Radio Schedule, Livestream, Prediction
Early season MWC showdown
Air Force and Boise State kick off conference play in the Mountain division with a Friday night showdown. The Broncos have proven to be a dominant program since entering the FBS ranks. However, a history of success has not guaranteed dominance over their divisional foes in Colorado Springs though, in spite of having some prolific rosters.
WEEK 4: Air Force (2-0) at Boise State (3-0)
WHEN: Friday, September 20 — 7:00 PM MT/8:00 PM PT
WHERE: Albertsons Stadium; Boise, Idaho (36,387)
STREAM: Watch with free trial on SlingTV
SERIES RECORD: The all-time series favors Boise State, 4-3
ODDS (via OddsShark): Boise State -8
SP+ PROJECTION: Boise State by 11.2 (74% win probability)
These two teams don’t have a long rich history to lean on as narrative yet. They do however have a closely contested series tally that has seen even some Boise State’s highly talented teams be give fits by a methodical and unorthodox Air Force football team.
I don’t think it is being sensational to say this early in the season: We are getting a glimpse at two of the Mountain West’s best teams. In similar fashion to this series history, Boise is featuring some serious star power against an Air Force team that knows they compete, that they belong.
If the Falcons want to make a statement to the conference, they would do so by planting their flag firmly in the lush blue turf at Albertsons Stadium on Friday.
Three Keys to an Air Force Victory
1. Make the Freshman QB look like a freshman.
Brett Rypien is no longer on the Broncos sideline. Instead, the 2.0 version Boise State fans hoped for awaits. Hank Bachmeier burst on the scene with a signature win over Florida State in the first week of the season and he has looked brilliant at times, just like his predecessor. But maybe that’s not the end of the world for the Falcons. If you consider the all-time great, Rypien was 2-2 vs. Air Force; they have shown mettle against elite talent.
A harsh welcoming to conference play by generating pressure-induced turnovers will be key if Air Force wants to topple the conference giant. This is a risk-reward approach, but it is again going to provide the Falcons their best chance on defense against a very good and deep receiving corps.
2. Hog the Ball
One of the major advantages of running the triple-option offense is that it enables Air Force to wear down an opposing defense while keeping their offense off the field and out of rhythm.
The Falcons are facing a dynamic defense on Friday. With a game wrecker like Curtis Weaver looking to take up residence behind the line of scrimmage, Air Force has to wear him and that defense down. You can also expect the Falcon offense to try and use aggressive defensive approaches from Boise to over-commit and create big play opportunities.
When you are playing such a talented team on defense particularly; inducing these type of mental mistakes that will enable your offense to dictate terms is critical. Weaver is not the only high-end talent on the Boise defense by any stretch either, they are littered with talent at all levels, in particular, the secondary. They need to be very uncomfortable and have their eyes deceive them.
3. Introduce the Boise backfield to your Curtis Weaver
It is very well documented the type of havoc that the Broncos’ Curtis Weaver and company are capable of. Air Force has their own variety of line wrecker in Jordan Jackson. If the defense can dial up some exotic pressures that either free up Jackson or cause missed blocking assignments, it will go a long way in slowing the Boise offense down.
This is easier said than done against one of the best offensive linemen in all of college football in Ezra Cleveland. If Jackson gets moved around on the line, we could get a glimpse at some epic battles on the line of scrimmage between him and Cleveland.
In a small sample size, the Falcon secondary looks improved this year, but I would not let this be the game to really size up how dramatically it has improved. Boise is loaded at receiver, and while they can hurt you on the ground, with the caliber of athlete they line up on the outside, this is not where you want to try test them by giving Bachmeier time to see the field.
Man for man, Air Force simply does not have the horses (no pun intended) to keep up with Boise. But this is the narrative for nearly every team they play when you look purely at an athlete by athlete comparison. Just a little more disparate when playing the Broncos.
The Falcons have a history that suggests they have become very comfortable with their identity, which a very systematic team-based approach. The careful execution of this system is what has allowed them to not only compete, but succeed in an arena of competition that suggests they shouldn’t.
If Air Force wants to even this series up at four wins apiece, they will have to stay true to that identity and execute flawlessly. The talent on the other side of the field cannot be overstated. That certainly extends to the Boise return game.
The one area Air Force may have a decided edge is in the kicking game. They also have a penchant for blocking kicks under Troy Calhoun. Methodical ball control, along with timely big plays from dynamic play-makers by the Falcon offense, wear out the blackout crowd in Boise. Sprinkle in a blocked kick? I look for a thriller on Friday, and it’s not even October.
Air Force 28, Boise State 27