Scouting Report: Boise State

Utah (3-1, 1-0 MWC) breaks from conference action to host No. 22 Boise State (4-0, 1-0 WAC), Saturday, Sept. 30 at 1 p.m. in Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Utah-Boise State game will be televised locally and nationally by VERSUS and can be heard on Sports Radio 700 the Zone and Sirius Satellite Radio.

Utah (3-1, 1-0 MWC) vs. Boise State (4-0, 1-0 WAC)
Date: Saturday, Sept. 30
Time: 1:00 p.m. MT
Site: Salt Lake City (Rice-Eccles Stadium/45,017/FieldTurf)
Radio: Sports Radio 700 the Zone and Sirius Satellite Radio

Game Notes: * Utah has won three straight games since losing to UCLA in the season opener. In its last three games, Utah has out-scored its opponents 131-14 and has allowed just seven points in the last 11 quarters.

*Saturday's game between the Utes and the Broncos is sold out. The sellout was announced last Thursday. It marks the 10th sellout of Rice-Eccles Stadium since it opened in 1998.

*Saturday's game is the first of three this season for Utah on VERSUS (formerly OLN), which is available in nearly 70 million homes. In Salt Lake, VERSUS can be found on channel 34 (Comcast expanded basic cable), 404 (Comcast digital cable), 608 (DirecTV) and 151 (Dish Network).

*Utah is 10-42 all-time against teams ranked in the top-25, but is 8-3 since 1994. The Utes have beaten their last three top-25 opponents: No. 19 Oregon State (2003), No. 19 Pittsburgh (2005) and No. 24 Georgia Tech (2005).

*Eric Weddle was named the Walter Camp National Player of the Week for his work against San Diego State.

The Game:

The Utes step back out of conference after winning their MWC opener against San Diego State. It will be their first real test since the season opening loss to UCLA.

The Broncos are undefeated, and have only been tested in one game, a 17-10 win over Wyoming. Their best performance was a 42-14 dismantling of Oregon State where they actually spotted the Beavers the first 14 points of the game.

Offensively they are led by quarterback Jared Zabransky. The senior has thrown for six touchdowns and just one interception. Zabransky has started 29 games in his Boise State career and has posted a 24-5 record. He's in the top-30 all time in D-I passing yards and 21st all-time in total yards from scrimmage.

Zabransky is a quarterback who can both run and throw and when he does both well, the BSU offense clicks. He has thrown his share of interceptions, 16 a year ago, so you can bet Utah will try to pressure him into bad throws.

Ian Johnson has led the way for the running game. The sophomore has rushed for 626 yards and nine scores. Durability was a question coming into the season, but he's had three 20 carry games this season and rushed 29 times last week against Hawaii.

Three receivers have caught almost 60% of the BSU completions. Drisan James leads the way with 207 yards, while Legedu Naanee has three td catches. James is a very athletic receiver who has made some big plays. Naanee is a former quarterback, who is the team's best big play guy. Jared Rabb is more of a possession guy, but has the size to go over the middle and take a shot or two.

Defensively, this is maybe the best team Boise State has put on the field. The team gave up 34 points to Hawaii, but limited the rest of their opponents to 14 points or less, including a shutout of Sacramento State.

The defensive backs have a lot of speed, but coming into the season were expected to surrender a lot of yards. Other than Hawaii, they have not given up more than 205 yards, and held Sac State to less than 100.

The biggest test could be the battle between the Utah offensive line and the BSU defensive front. If Utah can get a consistent push, they could prevail in this one. BSU will get their share of points, but Utah can crack the endzone as well. A few defensive stops and the Utes could hold serve at home.

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