Broncos Defense Update and Notables
Boise State’s defense has shown flashes of dominance during the first 3 games of the year in the 2019 season. The Broncos rank 27th in total yards allowed per game and 32nd in points allowed. It should be noted that Boise State has not allowed a single point in the second half so far this season and the Broncos are making tremendous adjustments during the intermission. Boise State has historically struggled against the triple option.
1) Curtis Weaver, junior defensive end
Weaver is the current active leader in sacks in FBS football with 26.5 and counting and is likely headed to the NFL after this season. Weaver is a terror for opposing offenses and has 6 sacks for the 2019 season already while also showing the ability to slide into coverage. This week against the triple option, Weaver will have to adapt his immense skill set against the unorthodox Air Force attack.
2) Ezekiel Noa, sophomore linebacker
Noa is the leading tackler for the Broncos with 18 tackles. Boise State will need Noa to react quickly and get to the ball carrier quick against the Falcons.
3) Kekoa Nawahine, senior safety
The last line of defense for Boise State will be the senior Nawahine. A multiple-time all-conference selection, Nawahine is a leader for the Broncos and will have to ensure that the Falcons are unable to hit their home run plays. Nawahine has 4 interceptions and 4 fumble recoveries for his career to go along with 207 tackles.
What to Watch for from the Falcons
Air Force is a road underdog on a short week and will need to play a great game to escape Boise with a victory. Here are 2 keys for a Falcon victory.
1) Significantly Win the Time of Possession battle
Air Force generally holds the ball for a while due to their run heavy offense. The Falcons will have to convert 3rd downs and move the ball so that they dominate the time of possession statistic. Keeping the Broncos offense on the sideline will prevent Boise State from getting comfortable on the blue turf.
2) Pressure the Bronco Quarterback
The biggest weakness that Boise State has shown on offense is the ability to protect their young quarterback. Bachmeier has moved the ball well but has still made the mistakes that are expected from freshman quarterbacks. Air Force must put as much pressure as possible on Bachmeier and take advantage of mistakes that the freshman makes.
What to Watch for from the Broncos
Boise State has struggled with Air Force and the triple option in the past. Here are 2 areas to watch that will help the Broncos move to 4-0.
1) Take an Early Lead
Boise State has had close games the last 3 weeks in the first half before pulling away in the second half. If Air Force finds themselves with a lead early, they can hold on to the ball and grind this game away. Boise State must be aggressive and score often and force Air Force to throw the football.
2) Minimize the Big Plays
Air Force will wear a defense down with their triple option before unleashing a big run or long pass. The Broncos will have to stay disciplined, tackle well, and keep the Falcons rushing attack in front of them. If Air Force is able to pick up yards on first and second downs, they will be more aggressive in taking their deep shots.
This game is one of the biggest matchups in the conference this week as 2 of the 4 remaining undefeated teams in the conference faceoff. Air Force and Troy Calhoun will not be intimated by the Boise State home field as they have won on the blue turf in 2015.
What was expected to be a rebuilding year for the Falcons has suddenly become a season with possibilities after a Pac-12 victory. An early-season win over the Broncos will put the Falcons firmly in the driver’s seat to win the division in 2019. Yet while Boise State has struggled with the triple option in the past, they have played well against the Falcons the last 2 years. The Broncos defense will be well prepared for this matchup.
Speaking of preparation, the logistics of this game favor Boise State. Air Force is coming off a tough fought overtime victory against an in-state road opponent and now must travel to Boise on a short week. The Broncos on the other hand faced an FCS opponent and were able to go deep into their bench in the second half. That game was at home and Boise State was able to stay in Idaho for this Friday night game.
All these factors lead me to believe that this will be a Boise State victory. The most important factor might simply be that the Broncos have the more talented roster. I expect the Falcons to keep it close and put a scare into the Boise State crowd but fall short in the end. Boise State will win this one, folks.
Boise State 31, Air Force 17