No (puppy) Love lost in this rivalry!!

When Boise State and Fresno State meet on the field, you can throw their records out the window. This matchup has become a rivalry with feeling, and why not?<br><br>==> Boise State's first year in the WAC, it was Fresno CB Kendal Edward's early hit on a Tim Gilligan punt return.<br> ==>Last season the Broncos scored early, late, and everywhere in between on their way to a 67-21 victory that some felt was RUTS.<br>ESPN loves the matchup, and will televise it nationwide for the 3rd year in a row.

The #20 ranked Boise State Broncos travel to the treacherous confines of Fresno State and their infamous crowd.  If one is to believe the rumors that abound about playing in Fresno, the Broncos have to not only be worried about the players on the field, but also the fans in the stands.

I've read the tea leaves, thrown the chicken bones, and consulted a Ouija board.  I've calculated every way this game could go, and I've reached a conclusion.  BRONCOS WIN!!!

Yes, this will be a closer game than last season, but this Fresno team is not as dangerous as the last time the Broncos traveled to California, and the Broncos have improved since then.  This game wouldn't go any different if the Fresno fans stormed the field to help their beloved puppies... the Broncos will win in Fresno! 

Now, here's how the Broncos will pull out the victory...

Teams: Boise State  (Broncos) Fresno State (Bulldogs)
Records: 9-1 (5-0 WAC) 7-4 (5-1 WAC)
Wins of note: Louisiana Tech, Tulsa, BYU Oregon State, Nevada, Louisiana Tech

Coach Bleu's 5 Keys to a Bronco Win:

  1. Pressure Pinegar
    -- Paul Pinegar was injured earlier this year and the Bulldogs had a rough time getting started.  Since his return they have gotten better every game.  Now, the Broncos need to turn that progression around by getting pressure on the tall sophomore.!  Pinegar has a QB rating of 113.5 and has nearly as many INT's, (5) as he does TD's (7).  The Bronco defense has improved with each game this season.  They lead the WAC in rush defense, (by a nearly 2-1 margin), and scoring defense.  The defensive backfield has dominated as of late, but they will be tested with Fresno's height and speed at WR.  The Bronco DLine and Linebackers must get some pressure on Pinegar to help the DB's.  
  2. Jam Berrian
    -- 2 years ago, Bernard Berrian looked like a sure bet to be an NFL 1st round draft pick.  The Bulldogs had upset Colorado and Wisconsin and Berrian was the favorite target of future NFL 1st choice David Carr.  A year later an injury put Berrian on the sidelines, and it appears that he has yet to recover completely.  Sure, Berrian does currently lead Fresno in receiving with 45 catches for 483 yards, and while that may nearly double the rest of the Bulldog WR's, it would be barely good enough for 4th place on the Bronco roster.. barely ahead of TJ Acree's 445 yards on 32 catches.  Berrian has all the tools to dominate a game, but for some reason has yet to even go over 100 yards receiving in a single game.  His highs are 6 catches, and 80 yards.  He has only 6 TD's so far this season, and only 4 are receiving.  Despite this sub-par performance, he is still an NFL caliber WR, who can take any pass the distance.  The Broncos may not be able to control Berrian, but if Rice and SMU can hold him to a combined 6 catches for 54 yards and 0 td's.. then Boise State can at least contain him.
  3. Unleash RD 
     back from a broken leg and over a month of inactivity to go out and have the kind of day that QB's dream about.  RD's rating was 316.4 for the game, he went 19 for 22 with over 400 yards passing, 5 TD's and no interceptions.  The year before he threw for 297 yards with 4 TD's  and 2 INT's.  That's a 2 game total of 703 hards, 9 TD's and 2 INT's.  Not bad!  The Broncos need RD to continue the streak if they want to leave Fresno with a 'W'.

  4. Set the VCR 
     -- The Broncos are undefeated when playing on National TV.  Earlier this season the Broncos played BYU on ESPN.  The result was a blowout win over the Cougars.  The Broncos have played Fresno twice on ESPN2.. they've won both.  Something about the spotlight agrees with the Bronco's gameplan.    

  5. Debark the CrowdThe typical Fresno fan ready for war.
    -- Fresno fans catch a lot of flak for the beer cup, plastic beer bottle, and screwdriver throwing incidents.  However, as rowdy as they are, they can make life hard for visiting teams.  This game is against the hated Broncos, it is Nationally televised, and it is for the WAC Championship.  A perfect recipe for a rowdy crowd that can cause problems.  The Broncos need to come out early and take the bite out of the Fresno bark.

Coach Bleu's Player Picks:  * watch for these players on Saturday
* Ryan Dinwiddie (Can secure his legacy with another win over Fresno!)
* Paul Allen & Dane Oldham (Solid all year, the deadly duo needs to step up once again and pressure the QB.)
* Wes Nurse (Against BYU he had a INT for a TD.. will the spotlight produce another?)
* Tim Gilligan (With an injury to Jerry Smith that could keep him out or limited against Fresno, TG will need to shine once again.)
* Cam Hall & Gerald Alexander (The Nickel and Dimebacks will be a factor against a Fresno team that will be desperate to outscore the Bronco Offensive Machine.)
* Coach Petersen Bronco OC.  (This is the first time Coach Bleu has chosen a coach as a 'player to watch', but Coach Pete had a bye week and the UTEP week before this week, and you don't think he spent all that time preparing for the Mighty Miners.. do you?)

Thanks go out to Miss Cleo for her help in contacting the Coach!

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