Boise State Needs To Bring Its A+ Game Today

Just as will be the case next weekend when Boise State entertains Idaho, the Broncos will be facing an opponent bent on scoring a major victory for their football program when Utah State hosts the Broncos in Logan.

Boise State travels to Logan, Utah in its quest for a ninth victory of the season against a dangerous Utah State team hungry for its first win.  The Aggies gave 16th-ranked Hawai'i all they could handle on the islands before falling 52-37.  A win by Utah State would give the Senior Day crowd is Logan plenty to be proud of.  15 Aggies will be honored prior to the game.


Boise State and Utah State have five opponents in common:   Wyoming, Nevada, Louisiana Tech, Fresno State and San Jose State.  The Aggies were competitive in all of them, losing heartbreakers to Nevada (31-28) and San Jose State (23-20), and falling at Wyoming (32-18), at home to Louisiana Tech (31-21) and at Fresno State (38-27).  Boise State beat all five, hosting Wyoming (24-14), Nevada (69-67 in 4OT) and San Jose State on Saturday (42-7), while winning on the road at La Tech (45-31) and Fresno State (34-21). 


Any talk about Utah State has to begin with Kevin Robinson, one of the most talented players in the Western Athletic Conference.  Robinson is one of just six players in the nation with two kick returns for a touchdown this season.  Robinson also has a punt return for a touchdown and joins Leodis McKelvin of Troy as the only two players in Division I-A with three returns for TD's.


Robinson has amassed 6,058 all-purpose yards in his incredible career and is averaging 210.7 yards this season.  He leads the league and is third in the country in punt returns (19.5 yards per return) and is third in the WAC and 14th in the nation in kick returns (29.4).  Robinson is also averaging a team-leading 4.9 catches per game, 10th in the WAC, for 11.9 yards per catch and four touchdowns.


Quarterback Leon Jackson III is another run/pass threat facing the Broncos, who have had trouble with both Jake Locker of Washington and Colin Kaepernick of Nevada.  Today's test will be an indicator how much the Bronco defense has learned.  Jackson ranks seventh in the conference in passing efficiency (126.7) and is fourth in passing percentage (119-of-181 for 65.7%).  He has thrown for 1,174 yards this season and is also second on the team with 297 rushing yards and four touchdowns. 


Freshman tailback Derrvin Speight leads the Aggies with 357 yards (3.9 per carry) and three touchdowns.


Defensively, the linebacking trio of juniors De'von Hall and Jake Hutton as well as sophomore Paul Igboeli along with junior safety Caleb Taylor lead the Aggies, as Igboeli has made a team-leading 70 stops, while Hutton and Taylor have 65 tackles and Hall has 58 stops,  Igboeli is 15th in the WAC with 7.8 tackles per game while Hall is tied for 16th with 7.3 ... Igboeli ranks 15th in the WAC with 7.8 tackles per game, while Hall is tied for 16th with 7.3 and Hutton and Taylor are tied for 18th with 7.2.  Taylor leads the Aggies with seven tackles for loss while Igboeli is right behind at 6.5.  Safeties Roy Hurst, Caleb Taylor and James Brindley lead the team in interceptions with two each.

Jackson also punts for Utah State and leads the WAC and is 34th in the NCAA in punting with a 42.4 average.  Freshman Peter Caldwell is off to a good start as the Aggies' placekicker.  He is third in the conference by hitting 12-of-17 field goals. 


Utah State averages 20.9 points per game while giving up 35.3 points.  They average just less than 122 yards a game in rushing and 153 in passing.  Defensively, the Aggies give up 204 rushing yards and 244 passing yards per contest.


Utah State head coach Brent Guy is in his third year at Utah State.  Bronco fans will remember Guy as the defensive coordinator from 1998-2000, helping fashion Boise State as Humanitarian Bowl champions in both 1999 and 2000.  He also was the defensive coordinator at Arizona State prior to coming to Logan.  The Aggies also have other Boise State ties—safeties coach Jeff Copp was an All-Big West performer at defensive end for the Broncos in 2000, defensive coordinator Mark Johnson coached the defensive line at Boise State in 1998-99 and cornerbacks coach John Rushing served as a graduate assistant in 1998 and 1999.


Today's game is set to kickoff shortly after 1 p.m.


Here are this week's E/A Sports simulations.  The data is broken down into the number of simulations won by each team, with the first number representing the first team listed.  The average score in the simulations is the next set of data and finally the highest and lowest margins of victory for each team.  The software has missed just five games this season involving a WAC team:  Boise State at Washington, UTEP at New Mexico State Nevada at New Mexico State, Utah State at Wyoming and UNLV at Nevada.  The cumulative record for predicting the winner stands at 55-5.


Fresno State At Hawai'i (1-24)  15.9-40.8, High:  20-17 (Fresno State), 56-10 (Hawai'i), Low:  20-17 (Fresno State), 20-10 (Hawai'i)



Louisiana Tech At LSU (0-25) 10.8-41.4. High:  56-3 (LSU), Low:  24-23 (LSU)

WINNER:  LSU          


New Mexico State At San Jose State (15-10)  Here's the second of two Aggie games that were too close to call.  Extended simulations did allow confidence, with New Mexico State pulling away 19-11.  33.4-30.5, High:  49-13 (NMS), 52-3 (SJ), Low:  41-38 (NMS), 38-35 (SJ)



Boise State At Utah State (97-3)  42.7-10.1, High:  73-7 (Boise State), 24-12 (Utah State), Low:  23-17 (Boise State), 27-24 (Utah State), Highest points Boise State scored and lost (43), Highest points Utah State scored (53).  The Aggies have the ability to score some points—don't let the 10 points average fool you.  The Broncos should not feel completely comfortable unless they have 54 points.  The software tells us that 54 points would give USU nearly zero percent chance of winning.











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