Boise State vs. UTEP: Game Preview, How to Watch, Livestream, Prediction
Broncos look to bounce back.
Boise State should easily win.
WEEK 2: UTEP Miners (2-0) vs. Boise State Broncos (0-1)
WHEN: Friday, September 10 — 7:30 PM MT/6:30 PM PT
WHERE; Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
STREAMING: FuboTV and get a free seven-day free trial.
You can also find the audio broadcast on Broncos All-Access.
RADIO: The Boise State broadcast can be found throughout Idaho on the affiliates of the Bronco Radio Network, including flagship 670 AM (KBOI) in Boise. The UTEP broadcast can be found in El Paso on 95.5 FM (KLAQ).
SERIES RECORD: Boise State leads the all-time series, 5-0. In the last meeting on September 18, 2004, the Broncos defeated the Miners, 47-31, in El Paso.
LAST WEEK: Boise State lost on the road to UCF, 36-31, while UTEP defeated FCS Bethune-Cookman at home, 38-28.
ODDS (as of 9/8, via Vegas Insider): Boise State -26
SP+ PROJECTION: Boise State by 21.6
FEI PROJECTION: Boise State by 25.1
Boise State returns home Friday night after a tough loss in Orlando last Thursday against UCF to host an old WAC opponent, UTEP. This is the two teams first meeting since 2004, with Boise State holding a 5-0 record against the Miners. None of the games have been particularly close, as the Broncos have won by double digits in each matchup.
UTEP is 2-0 to start the season with victories over New Mexico St and FCS team Bethune-Cookman. The Miners have moved the ball well this season, especially on the ground, rushing for an average of 245 yards a game against less than stellar opponents.
Three Keys to a Boise State Victory
Flip the Script on Rushing
As mentioned previously, the Miners have moved the ball well on the ground, so the defense needs to step up to slow the rushing attack and make UTEP one-dimensional.
The defense struggled to do that last week and spent a couple of long stretches on the field because of it. The Broncos struggled last week in the absence of George Holani and have honestly struggled to get the rushing game moving most of last year as well. Gaining only 20 yards on 26 carries will not get teams too concerned about play-action fakes or coming after the quarterback. Boise State has to get Holani, Andrew Van Buren, and Cyrus Habibi-Likio rolling to keep pressure off Hank Bachmeier and open up the passing game.
Avoid the Dead Spot in Play-calling
After last week’s game, new Bronco offensive coordinator Tim Plough admitted that his play calling wasn’t very good last week. For the most part, it has been pretty similar to the play-calling the past few years at the start of the first or second half where the offense takes a few drives to get into a rhythm. The Broncos need to find the killer instinct and keep the pressure on opposing defenses throughout the game. Opposing teams can not work their way back into games with an almost “play not to lose” mentality that seems to creep in at some point.
Keep Hank Clean
After the last two seasons of Hank Bachmeier under a lot of pressure that ended in him being sacked, the Broncos allowed only one sack against a solid defensive line. That is a great improvement from the offensive line and Bachmeier to start the season. However, Bachmeier still took a lot of hits in the backfield and had to keep on the move to avoid the pass rush last week. If the Broncos can establish their running game early and maintain production on the ground, the passing game will open up.
At first glance, this has the makings of a trap game. Sandwiched between the season opener against UCF and next week’s game against Oklahoma State, the Broncos could easily be distracted and struggle in this game. On second glance, this is an opportunity for a “get right game” and Boise State could come out, find their rhythm, and hang 40-50 points on UTEP.
With wanting to get on track and committing to stay aggressive in the play calling, I think the Broncos will work to establish their new identity, along with getting back to their old identity of rushing the ball, and will get on a roll in the game.
Boise State 42, UTEP 16