After two successful road outings, #21 Boise State returns home for a battle with talented San Jose State. It's game number nine for the 7-1 Broncos, kicking off at 1 p.m.
It's the final tour of duty for San
quarterback Adam Tafralis. Although it
seems like the Spartan signal caller has been around forever, this is his
fourth and final season at the helm of the San Jose
attack. It was Tafralis who tried to run
the ball in on fourth down of the second overtime of the wild Boise
State-San Jose State
game of 2004, only to be stopped at the three by current San Diego Charger Gabe Franklin.
Tafralis is in the final games of his great career in San
fifth in the league this year with 164-257 passing, a fine 63.8 percent
completion rate, and 1,917 yards. He's
thrown for 12 touchdowns but has 10 interceptions.
San Jose State
is averaging 17.1 points a game while the Broncos are right behind Hawai'i
in conference play at 41.8 points a contest.
The Broncos' defense had a shot at being one of the best in school
history earlier in the year—they've slipped to allowing 22.5 points a game
while the Spartans give up 30.2.
Breaking it down offensively, Boise
State passes for 272.8 yards and
runs for 215 a game. Coach Dick Tomey's
team can nearly match the Bronco aerial attack at 255 a game but they are last
in the league with just 72 rushing yards.
They badly miss Yonus Davis, who was one of the WAC's most talented
rushers last year as well as this fall until he went down with an injury. With the San Jose
State rushing threat diminished, Boise
State could catch Hawai'i's
league-leading sack total of 27 with three sacks today.
These are two of the stingier pass defenses in the league,
with the Broncos allowing 197 yards a game and San Jose
just fewer than 224. Boise
State gives up 129 rushing yards a
game to 179 for the Spartans.
Senior quarterback Taylor Tharp
has been one of the keys in keeping the Bronco offense in high gear in 2007,
hitting on 161-248 passes (64.9%) for 2,015 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Tharp had best look over the Spartan secondary carefully
for it is loaded with pickpockets. Junior
cornerback Chris Owens has four interceptions this fall, and All-American
senior Dwight Lowery and junior Jonathan Harris have three each.
Lowery is a threat on special teams as well, averaging 16.2
yards on punt returns, third in the league.
top return man, Marty Tadman, has dropped off this fall but is still averaging
10.8 yards every time he touches the ball.
has been blessed by a superb showing by both of their freshman tailbacks,
Jeremy Avery and D.J. Harper the past two weeks. It can't get any better for the Bronco running
game that will see the return of the WAC's top rusher, Ian Johnson. IJ is averaging 115 yards a game and has
become a dual threat with his receiving ability out of the backfield. Johnson is also second in the league in
all-purpose rushing, despite not playing on either kickoff or punt
returns. With the loss of Davis,
San Jose State
does not have a rusher in the top ten.
Junior Kevin Jurovich has stepped in nicely to lead the
Spartan receiving corps with 52 catches for 696 yards and five scores. David Richmond has 39 catches for 591 yards
and three touchdowns to his credit.
They're both capable of big plays; Jurovich has a 68-yarder to his
credit while Richmond and Tafralis
connected on a 52-yard play.
Jeremy Childs is on a record-breaking pace for Coach Chris Petersen's team. He's fourth in the
league with 56 grabs for 761 yards and eight touchdowns.
Waylon Prather is averaging 39.2 yards a punt for San
Jose State. Freshman Kyle Brotzman has steadily improved,
hitting two key field goals of over 40 yards in last week's win over Fresno
State. Brotzman has nailed 11 of 12 field goals (#1
in the WAC) and all 38 extra point attempts.
Jared Strubeck is perfect on PAT's for San
Jose State, but is
2-9 on field goal tries.
Matt Castello (85 tackles) leads the Spartan defense that
also features senior linebacker Demetrius Jones (73). Boise
State is led by Tadman at safety
with 59 and middle linebacker Kyle Gingg with 57. Mike
T. Williams leads the WAC with .71 sacks per game while fellow end Ryan Winterswyk has .44 per game. Sophomore
Carl Ihenacho is the Spartans' top pass rusher with four sacks this season.
There is one thing Boise State
will not have in its favor. Officials
rarely call penalties on the Broncos' opponent, whomever it may be on a given
day. Broncos' opponents are averaging
just 35 yards of penalties per game, by far the lowest in the WAC and just over
half that of San Jose's
The Broncos' red-zone defense has left much to be desired as
State has allowed scores in 15 of
16 opportunities and ranks last in the conference in that department.
Should the game come down to a battle of field goals, it
would likely favor Boise State. The Broncos are 11-13, while San
Jose State has
struggled in making just 2 of 12 attempts.
The past two games between these two teams in San
Jose have been nail-biters, while the ones in Boise
have seen the Broncos roll to victories.
Will the trend continue? It looks
like a day of sunshine for 30,000-plus Bronco fans today with the kickoff set
for 1 this afternoon.
Here are this week's E/A Sports simulations of WAC
games. I simulated each game a minimum
of 25 times. The first numbers are the
number of times the first team listed won and the simulations won by the
opponent. Next is the average score of
the simulations for each team and finally the highest margin for each team and
the lowest margin for each team. E/A
Sports is 53-5 this season in predicting the winners
of WAC games. The games missed were Boise
State at Washington,
UNLV at Nevada, Nevada
at New Mexico State,
UTEP at New Mexico State
and San Jose State
at Utah State.
Boise State hosts San Jose State (98-2) 43.8-11.4, High: 81-7 (Boise State), 27-25 (San Jose State),
Low: 21-20 (Boise State), 25-24 (San
Jose State), Highest points Boise State scored and lost (24), Highest points
San Jose State scored (30). The Broncos
have quite a bit of margin here, but should aim for 31 points to win.
WINNER: BOISE STATE
Fresno State hosts Utah State (22-3) 34.3-16.6, High:
52-0 (Fresno State), 42-28 (Utah State),
Low: 14-10 and 19-15 (Fresno State), 31-28 (Utah State)
WINNER: Fresno State
Idaho hosts Louisiana Tech (11-14) This was another simulation that was
too close after 25 times. Seven
simulation wins in a row for Tech gave them the 10-game lead necessary to be
reliable. (11-21) 21.2-34.1, High: 71-39 (Idaho), 59-14 (Tech), Low: 38-37 (Idaho), 22-21 (Tech)
WINNER: Louisiana Tech