While BSU isn’t the powerhouse it was under Chris Petersen, the Broncos are tough, physical, and well coached. And they are a perfect matchup for the Beavers before they start Pac-12 play against Colorado. Here’s what OSU needs to do to win.
Avoid a Slow Start. The Beavers can’t afford to fall behind big and early to Boise State, or they could suffer a blowout loss at home, much like the UCLA game last season. At the very least, OSU needs to not leave points on the board and keep the game manageable heading into the final quarter. Settling for field goals early on, like last week likely spells doom for the Beavers.
Contain McNichols. Boise State running back Jeremy McNichols ran for 1,337 yards and 20 TDs last season, while averaging 5.6 yards per carry. In two games this year, the junior has 164 yards and four TDs. Completely shutting McNichols down, might be too tall of task, so the Beavers need to limit his effectiveness. If they can make BSU more one-dimensional, things could be a little easier on defense.
Get pressure on Rypien. The OSU defensive line has struggled to penetrate and create pressure consistently. Well, something has to change Saturday. If they aren’t able to get to quarterback Brett Rypien (Mark’s son), it’ll probably end up being the Rypien-Thomas Sperbeck show all day. In case you’re wondering Sperbeck caught 88 passes for 1,412 yards and eight TDs, and he’s off to strong start this season.
Convert the Big Plays. It doesn’t matter which side of the ball they come from, but the Beavers need to make game-changing plays Saturday, whether it be creating turnovers or breaking a long run again. But it would be especially nice if Darrell Garretson could hit on his deep ball this time out, as I am sure he’d like to have a few of his throws against Idaho State back. His play will be crucial to OSU’s chances.
Chew Up Clock on Offense. Let’s face it, shutting down BSU’s three-headed monster of Rypien, McNichols, and Sperbeck will be quite the challenge. So, the Beavers should do their best to keep that trio of the field, by sustaining long drives on offense, which in turn, should lead to scores. Even better, would be getting some kind of running game going… Could this be the game Art Pierce breaks out?
If the Beavers had crushed Idaho State, well, they were expected to do so. If it had been a closer affair, well, it’s a long season. But they kind of finished in between. So the BSU game should be a much better indicator of how good the Beavers will be this season.
The Broncos are a 14-point favorite, so an OSU win would provide a much-needed jolt of excitement to Beaver Nation, a close loss would provide evidence of growth and potential, while a blowout defeat could be demoralizing. While every game is huge for OSU, this game is a tone-setter for the season.
What are your keys to a Beavers’ win?