Iowa State vs. Boise State: Keys to Victory

Boise State's balanced attack can strike either way, with quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie throwing bullets or workhorse tailback Brock Forsey racking up the yards. But Iowa State figures to focus mainly on limiting the Broncos' ground opportunities, and on 1,500-yard rusher Forsey. That's one of three keys to a Cyclone victory in the Humanitarian Bowl.

Eliminating offensive turnovers

This almost goes without saying. After being one of the Big 12's best teams in turnover ratio throughout the first half of this season, the Cyclones were undoubtedly the worst while slumping down the stretch. Those struggles were magnified in their regular season finale loss to Connecticut. Seneca Wallace tossed four interceptions as Iowa State finished at minus-three.

After being ranked first in the Big 12 in turnover margin early in the fall, ISU dropped to seventh in the conference and finished the campaign even with 27 offensive and defensive turnovers. They had been as high as +11 before a two-game stretch against Kansas State and Colorado.

Quarterback Seneca Wallace has accounted for 12 of the Cyclones' 14 turnovers in the last three games and three of those have been converted into instant scores by the defense. Another was intercepted in the end zone and cost his team a touchdown against Colorado.

One offense not in need of any help from an opposing attack is Boise State. The Broncos enter this game as the nation's top-ranked yardage offense and scoring offense, and ISU can't give its opponent any more opportunities than they deserve. BSU also picked off 19 passes as a defense and has the habit of converting turnovers into points.

No Boise State runs

Many different variables factored into the Broncos' 28-point average margin of victory this season. BSU has the capability to score a lot of points and do it in a hurry, and did so a number of times on its way to a perfect 8-0 season in WAC play.

Against bowl-qualifier Hawaii, the Broncos scored three touchdowns in a span of just over two minutes in the first quarter on their way to a 31-10 halftime lead. Two weeks later against another postseason-bound team, BSU quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie threw five touchdown passes and amassed 406 yards through the air in a little over one half.

Down the stretch, the Broncos put opponents away early with a couple more flurries. A 27-point swing against Texas-El Paso proved to be the key two weeks later in a 58-3 blowout. Another 29-0 run against Louisiana Tech in mid-November wrapped up a conference title for the Broncos.

ISU's defense will surrender yards, and most likely points, against Boise State. The key will be the offense's ability to answer with touchdowns of their own, while not turning the ball over and making the defense defend an explosive Bronco attack on a short field.

Excessive force versus Forsey

One offensive player has been a constant for Boise State this season—tailback Brock Forsey. His consistency helped BSU overcome an injury at the quarterback position and Dinwiddie's four games on the sidelines with a broken ankle. This makes Forsey the player that ISU's defensive gameplan will focus on.

The senior workhorse broke a school record this season with 1,533 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns on 271 carries. He also added 257 yards through the air and six receiving touchdowns. Forsey has the ability to carry the Broncos on his shoulder and remarkably posted five games this season with four or more touchdowns.

Given ISU's struggles against the run – 756 rushing yards combined by Connecticut, Colorado and Kansas State – defensive coordinator John Skladany can count on getting a steady dose of Forsey. Ground success will set up Dinwiddie and a capable group of receivers. The junior quarterback threw for 2,123 yards and 19 touchdowns to just three interceptions, despite missing the better part of five games.

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