The Broncos come into this game 2-0 with a so, so win over the Bowling Green Falcons. The Oregon Ducks are 3-0 on the young season with wins over Washington, Utah State and Purdue. The way I see it, this game is a put up or shut up game for this version of the Boise State Broncos. Coming off a season where the Broncos lost 3 (Washington, Hawai’i and East Carolina) of its 4 biggest games, the Broncos desperately need this win. As a win on the road against a ranked BCS team will provide the respect the Broncos desperately need.
The Bottom Line:
It is hard to believe, but Boise State travels to Eugene, in front of a sell out crowd at Autzen Stadium, to play its first game against the Ducks of the Pac-Ten. Why does this game mean so much to Boise State and its fans? It is a simple case of so close yet so far away. Unless you have been living under a rock the Boise State Broncos have yet to beat a BCS team on the road. The Broncos have come close before. In 2000, led by Bart Hendricks, the Broncos came up short, losing 38-31 to Arkansas of the SEC. Ryan Dinwiddie and company nearly pulled off a win in Corvallis, but the Broncos came up short losing 26-24 to the Oregon State Beavers. Finally, in 2005, coming off a huge loss to Georgia, with Jared Zabransky at the helm, the Broncos came up short yet again, as the Oregon State Beavers scored the final 10 of the game to win 30-27.
The Ducks are ranked number 12 in the USA Today Coaches poll. As Oregon’s Head Coach, Mike Belloti is a career 17-0 against the Western Athletic Conference, including a win against Utah State this year. Oregon is fourth the nation in total offense (562.33 ypg) and rushing offense (323.33 ypg), and ninth in scoring offense (47.33 ppg). The Ducks have seven players with 50 or more rushing yards through three games this season. The Ducks are coming off a double overtime victory against the Purdue Boilermakers; however the Ducks lost QB Justin Roper to a knee injury. In the game Junior CB Jairus Byrd’s 87-yard punt return for a TD and was nominated as one of ESPN’s Game Changing Performances presented by Pontiac for Week 3 of the college football season. Keep in mind the Ducks were a mere knee injury away from National Title hopes last year. Needless to say, despite the awful uniforms the Ducks are good team.
The Broncos head into this week’s match up with questions. Will Sophomore WR Titus Young return to action after being suspended for last Saturday’s game for violating team rules (word on the street is, fumbling the ball twice in one game is against Boise State team rules)? Will Middle Linebacker Derrell Ackery, who has a 50/50 chance of playing in this week, be ready for this game? Will Bronco Fans make it out of Eugene with their lives? On the positive side of things, Jeron Johnson was named WAC Player of the Week, recovering 2 fumbles and had 13 tackles in last weeks win. Freshman QB Kellen Moore ranks 10th in the nation in passing efficiency (182.7) proving he can get people the ball. Ian Johnson was close to breaking for 100 yards last week, but I think Bronco Fans hope for a 2006 Oregon State like performance this week. Chris Petersen returns home to Oregon where he previously served as WR Coach under Mike Belotti (not sure if this means much of anything, but interesting none the less).
The Broncos face a tough task in beating the Oregon Ducks. Boise State will need to be virtually mistake free throughout the game. This will require the Bronco to have no turnovers, no big play reversing penalties and no playing not to lose attitude. The Ducks will not give this one away as they too have goals of BCS glory on their minds. It will be loud, as nearly all of the 54,000 plus in attendance will be cheering for the Ducks (just think Bronco Stadium only 10 times louder). I am smelling upset, Go Broncos!!
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