- Time: October 8th, 2022, 7:45 PM MST
- Location: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
- Weather at kickoff: 70° Sunny
- Moon Phase: Waxing Gibbous
- Odds: Boise State by 7.5
- TV: FS1
- Radio: 670 KBOI
- Commentators: Alex Faust, Petros Papadakis
1. Walking Wounded
Except, for all we know, some of them aren’t even walking. What we do know is that a lot of Fresno’s best players will not be suiting up on Saturday, including their quarterback. Quarterbacks, as we’ve recently learned, are a sliiiightly crucial component to a successful offense in college football.
2. Fresno Still Has A Decent Defense
For all the struggles that the Bulldog offense had during a super uncharacteristic loss in a literal (if we’re counting mascots) dogfight, they’re still fairly good at preventing other teams’ offenses from performing their best. Notable major exception: #7 USC carved them up for 45 points in week three. Point totals overall don’t really reflect it either, but they have playmakers on that side of the ball. Promise.
3. Moore / Tedford
That was not a typo describing Jeff Tedford having returned as Fresno State’s head coach after the intervaling Kalen DeBoer years. Rather, that is a reference to the younger brother of a certain Chosen One (name of “Moore, Kellen”), that is coaching the Bulldog offense. It should come as no surprise that Kirby Moore inherited some of the family smarts when it comes to football and has parlayed that into a full-fledged OC role at Fresno (not a) State. Tedford is also no slouch when it comes to offense and gameplanning, so expect them to patch something together that won’t be as easy to defend in real life as it seems like it should be on paper with such reductions in personnel.
4. We Are Literally Number 4
Not in the AP rankings. Calm down. It’s not 2010. Currently though, Boise State is ranked #4 in total defense, allowing only 236 yards per game. DJ Schramm is playing out of his mind at weakside linebacker, Tarlas has 4 sacks, and the duo of Skinner and Jones in the secondary has produced a handful of gamechanging plays, including two picks.
5. The Three Heads of the Cerberus
The Boise State offense was pretty disjointed and, at times, stagnant in the first half last week vs San Diego State. After halftime, however, it was as though an entirely different offense came out to play. They barely threw the ball but by the end of the night, the Broncos had ripped off 316 rushing yards and 5 TDs on the ground. George Holani (7.7 ypc) led with 131 of those yards and two scores. Taylen Green (13.1 ypc) added an additional 105 and another two TDs. Ashton Jeanty (6.8 ypc) didn’t quite break the century mark himself but he did add another touchdown to cap off his 82 yard night. Altogether, the Broncos seemed to discover an identity on offense, run through three absolute dogs on the ground. This legendary performance of course leads to a very apt descriptor, borrowed straight from Greek mythology of a three-headed “Hound of Hades”, that prevented souls from escaping the underworld: The Cerberus. I will be highlighting this comparison as frequently as possible because I find it extremely awesome.
Boise State – Won 1
Fresno State – Lost 3
Best name on their roster
TE Merhauti Xepera. I don’t even have anything snarky to say about it. That’s just a rad name!
Best picture on their roster
Same guy, honestly. Just because this picture looks less like a person posing for a profile portrait and more so appears like a man that’s extremely happy and just a smidge condescending about the fact that he knows something you don’t!
Players to watch
Jordan Mims, RB
Absent their star QB, Fresno is going to likely lean on another star of their offense: Senior running back, Jordan Mims. Through five games, Mims has rushed for 348 yards and 5 TDs at a pace of 5.3 yards per carry. He’s added 7 receptions for 52 yards and an additional score.
Jalen Moreno-Cropper, WR
Just because the guy throwing him the ball is unproven doesn’t mean that the Bulldogs aren’t going to be throwing the ball. They will be. And when they do, as has been the case so far this year, the leading target of those pass attempts is going to be the senior receiver. The 6’0″, 180lb Cropper is a dynamic weapon that’s currently leading the team with 28 receptions for 284 yards.
Logan Fife, QB
Since he is the backup to Haener, Fife has had only gotten some minimal playing time this season and he’s thrown two interceptions in his 34 passing attempts. What stands out for him, though, is that he completed 27 of those. So, as long as he can make better decisions, he actually is pretty accurate with a 79.4% completion rate.
Levelle Bailey, LB
Currently leading the Bulldogs with 32 tackles and a forced fumble, the 6’2″, 218lb senior is going to be crucial in any efforts to try and slow down The Cerberus*.
*- (I warned you!)
Keys to victory
- Open up the pass game Boise State put a ton of rushing plays on film for the Fresno State defense to study this week, but showed very little in terms of passing. If they can establish that run game again and set up some opportunities for Green (or possibly Vidlak) to air it out to Cobbs or Caples or Bowens or Hopper or Smith or any of the HIGHLY CAPABLE pass catchers in this offense, it could be be an exciting night.
- Seven Psychopaths (not just a great Martin McDonagh movie) Turnovers are awesome, limiting big plays is crucial, but if Boise State wants to really stick it to Fresno tomorrow, the front seven are going to be the key. An inexperienced quarterback is going to be easier to fluster, so the pass rush needs to go crazy in getting after him to disrupt his comfort level. If the Fresno offense “goes to ground”, leave no ground to go to. The defensive line needs to eliminate gaps for Mims to run through and/or occupy blockers so that Schramm and Noa can get in there and do their Schramm-y, Noa-y business and stuff rushing attempts.
- Release the (three-headed) Hound! Having one rusher go over 100 yards in a game is really good. Having two is crazy. Can we achieve “bonkers” and get a third guy over the century mark in a single game this season? Maybe! Regardless, Boise State is 8-0 under Andy Avalos when gaining at least 140 yards on the ground.
- Crowd Noise Albertson’s Stadium has turned into a huge competitive advantage. I know that super loud, truck-backing-up beeping on third down is annoying, but it WORKS. The crowd noise contributed to SEVEN (!!!) false start penalties by the San Diego State offense last week. Currently, our stadium leads the country in false start penalties, and has for a few years now. Let’s keep that going!
We know all too well what it looks like when an otherwise good defense doesn’t have a sufficiently potent offense to complement and validate its efforts and starts to struggle. I think Fresno will hang around for the first half because of their defense, and Kirbyford will scheme up some points before the break, but Boise State will pull away in the second half.
Boise State 34, Fresno State 17
Might we see Green occasional playing TE with Valdic (spelling?) at QB?
There’s a store that sells only Cerberus related merchandise. It’s called CerberusRus
LET THE HORSES GO!!! I do predict that GREEN will throw a 50+ bomb for a touchdown!!!