Game Snapshot: Boise State @ Fresno State

Boise State improved its run game last week and Doug Martin continues to run like one of the top prospects in the nation, which is his reputation. He is extremely dangerous when he gets into open space. The passing game should get a boost this week from the return of WR Geraldo Boldewijn, who will give the Broncos the deep threat they've been missing.

GAME SNAPSHOT
KICKOFF: Friday, 9 ET
GAMEDATE: 10/7/11 SITE: Bulldog Stadium, Fresno, Calif.
SURFACE: FieldTurf
TV: ESPN
SERIES: Boise State leads 9-4 (last meeting, Boise State 51-0)
RECORDS: Boise State 4-0, Fresno State 2-3
POLLS: Boise State (No. 5 AP, No. 6 USA Today)
PREDICTION: Boise State 42-14

KEYS TO THE GAME:
-- For Boise State:
Don't give up big plays. Fresno State is going to need to make some big plays in its passing game and contain Boise State tailback Doug Martin to make a run at the aupset. Winning the special teams' competition also is a priority.

-- For Fresno State: Finish the game. The Bulldogs have scored first in all five games this season and led Mississippi in the fourth quarter and trailed Nebraska by two in the fourth quarter before losing both games. The Bulldogs have been outscored 42-29 in the fourth quarter.

SCOUTING THE TEAMS:
Boise State improved its run game enough last week to bump the yards per carry for the season from 3.4 to 3.7. TB Doug Martin continues to run like one of the top prospects in the nation, which is his reputation. He is extremely dangerous when he gets into open space. He had a 92-yard TD run called back against Nevada on which he ran from one sideline to the other, similar to the screen pass he took for a score against Toledo. The passing game should get a boost this week from the return of WR Geraldo Boldewijn, who will give the Broncos the deep threat they've been missing.

Boise State's defense is coming off its best performance of the season, completely dominating Nevada. The group has played shut-down defense for much of the season but a couple drives per game had been leaving them with a sour taste. The dominant defensive line, which battered Nevada QB Tyler Lantrip, makes it difficult for offenses to develop any rhythm. The question this week is how sophomore CB Quaylon Ewing-Burton holds up against Fresno's talented receivers in his second career start.

Fresno State is averaging 30.6 points per game, good for 52nd in the country. The Bulldogs have scored at least 21 points in every game this season. Despite RB Robbie Rouse ranking 12th nationally in rushing yards per game with 120, the Bulldogs rank 80th in the nation in rushing offense. Fresno State is averaging 6.9 yards per first down play.

Fresno State ranks 97th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 32.4 points per game. The Bulldogs have allowed at least 22 points in every game this season. In three games against BCS competition, Fresno State has allowed 36, 42 and 38 points. LB Kyle Knox tied his career high with 11 tackles against Mississippi. LB Travis Brown has 21 tackles in the last two games. Fresno State is second in the WAC in pass defense, allowing 209 yards per game. But the Bulldogs rank 86th nationally in rush defense allowing 169 yards per game on the ground.

FAST FACTS:
Broncos: Boise State has dominated this series, winning 9-of-10 when the Broncos and Fresno were in the WAC together. But the games in Fresno have been competitive for the most part. In fact, Boise State hasn't won by more than 17 points in Fresno but has won the past two in Boise by 51 points apiece. ... The Broncos look to take advantage of their special teams. They are averaging 13.6 yards per punt return and 27.1 yards per kickoff return this season. They are limiting opponents to 1.3 yards on punt returns and 19.5 yards on kickoff returns. Those numbers are helping them completely dominate field position. ... QB Kellen Moore is coming off the worst game of his career statistically (19-of-33, 142 yards, two interceptions, two touchdowns). He and his receivers were out of sync the entire game against Nevada, with dropped passes and mistimed plays part of the issue. Sophomore WR Geraldo Boldewijn has been reinstated by the NCAA. He served a four-game suspension for an unspecified eligibility issue. He is the Broncos' fastest and tallest receiver and should be an impact player.

Bulldogs: Boise State, No. 5 in the AP poll, will be the highest-ranked opponent to play at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno. ... The Bulldogs have lost five in a row to the Broncos, including last year's 51-0 demolition. Boise State has scored 50 or more points in three of the last five meetings. ... This is a non-conference game, but the former WAC rivals will be in the Mountain West together next season. Boise State left the WAC for the Mountain West this year. Fresno State will join it next year. ... This is the fourth time the schools have met as non-conference opponents. Fresno State won the previous three in 1977, 1985 and 1996. Boise State was 9-1 against Fresno State when the schools were WAC rivals. ... RB Robbie Rouse leads the nation in rushing attempts with 133. No other Fresno State player has more than seven rushing attempts on the season. Among running backs, only Milton Knox (seven carries) and A.J Ellis (one) have rushing attempts. ... DT Logan Harrell is tied for fourth in the nation in tackles for loss with 8.5.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Broncos:
WR Mitch Burroughs -- The junior is the mildly surprising leading receiver with 21 catches for 216 yards and a touchdown. He's been involved in several other potential big plays -- a 51-yard TD pass that he dropped, a TD run that was erased by penalty and a trick-play pass that he threw incomplete.
RB D.J. Harper -- He makes his third appearance at Bulldog Stadium. As a true freshman in 2007, he rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown. As a junior in 2009, he rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown but also tore an anterior cruciate ligament. Those are the only 100-yard games of his career.
DE Shea McClellin -- He leads the team with 21 tackles and 3.5 sacks. He also delivered a big hit on the quarterback last week to force an interception.

Bulldogs:
RB Robbie Rouse -- The junior has four consecutive 100-yard games, including 123 yards against Mississippi. Rouse leads the nation in rushing attempts with 133 through five games. Against Mississippi, Rouse had just the second fumble of his career -- and his first career lost fumble. His 600 rushing yards are eighth in the FBS.
WR Jalen Saunders -- The sophomore is second in the country (among receivers with 10 or more catches) in yards per reception. Saunders has 17 catches for 462 yards and four touchdowns. He is averaging 27.2 yards per catch. He has three consecutive 100-yard games, the first Fresno State wide receiver to accomplish that since Bernard Berrian in 2001.
WR/PR Devon Wylie -- The senior is finally healthy and it shows. Wylie has had a punt return of 30 or more yards in four consecutive games. He is 10th in the country in punt return average at 16.0 yards per return. Wylie is second in total returns and total yards on returns, trailing only Alabama's Marquis Maze.

INJURY WATCH:
Broncos:
C Matt Paradis (undisclosed, probable), WR/PR Chris Potter (undisclosed, day-to-day), FB Dan Paul (undisclosed, day-to-day), C Thomas Byrd (undisclosed, doubtful), OG Jake Broyles (Knee, out for season), CB Jerrell Gavins (knee, out for season), RB Malcolm Johnson (knee, out for season), FB Chandler Koch (Undisclosed, day-to-day), CB Ebo Makinde (Undisclosed, probable).

Bulldogs:
C Leslie Cooper (ankle, probable), C Richard Helepiko (ankle, probable), LG Matt Hunt (ankle, probable).

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