Boise State Aims for 1st MWC Championship

The Boise State football team has a bit of unfinished business. The players are quick to tell us that the media and Bronco fans have gotten far ahead of themselves in projecting Boise State into which bowl where. Boise State has to take care of business against the defending Mountain West Conference Champion Fresno State Bulldogs before anything else can be discussed.

The media elite have anointed a "Group of 5" champion before all the results are in.

Right now, the Boise State football team is entirely focused on how they are going to try to unseat Fresno State as Mountain West Conference champion. Boise State hosts the Bulldogs tomorrow night in Bronco Stadium.

To be sure, Boise State at 10-2 has made great strides over last season, thanks to new head coach Bryan Harsin and his staff. But before anything else can be projected, there is one huge goal that the Broncos have not yet crossed off their list--that of an outright Mountain West title. It is a goal that has been unfulfilled since 2010 when Boise State joined the Mountain West.

Fresno State gave the Broncos one of their toughest games of the year on October 17 before falling 37-27, and you can bet the Bulldog coaches have made several improvements since then.

Quarterback Brian Burrell (212-367 for 2,244 yards and 21 touchdowns) leads the FSU offense, and as usual, the Bulldogs own a talented group of running backs. Marteze Waller has rushed for 1,269 yards (28th in the nation) and 11 scores, while Josh Quezada has 435 yards to his credit and Burrell has rushed for 319.

Josh Harper is having a super year with 76 receptions for 941 yards (12.4 avg.) and seven touchdowns, while Aaron Peck, Greg Watson, Delvon Hardaway, Quezada, and Waller all have over 20 catches each.

Fresno State is 54th in the country in total offense, averaging 419 yards a game--that is just behind Air Force, which defeated the Broncos earlier this year.

Linebacker Kyrie Wilson tops the Bulldog defense with 86 tackles, including six for loss, while fellow linebacker Karl Mickelsen has 81 tackles and free safety Derron Smith has 80 stops with an interception and eight passes defended. Nose guard Tyeler Davison is a menace on the defensive line with 56 tackles, including 11.5 for loss and seven sacks, while linebacker Donavon Lewis has nine tackles for loss with 6.5 sacks.

Fresno State will appear in its second consecutive Mountain West championship game Saturday, having defeated Utah State 24-17 last year in front of 31,362 fans in Fresno.

Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. Mountain Time in Albertsons Stadium.


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