On Saturday October 14, the Aztecs will host the Boise State Broncos in San Diego. It is the first time the two teams are meeting since 2014, when the Aztecs lost in Boise 38-29. The #19 ranked Aztecs seek revenge as they strive to continue their perfection in the 2017 season.
The Aztecs are undefeated at 6-0, while the Broncos stand at 3-2. One of the Broncos’ losses was in over time to Washington State, who is currently an undefeated top 10 team. The other loss was two weeks ago, when Boise State suffered their worst home loss since 2001, after Virginia destroyed them 42-23. However, Boise is coming off of a convincing win @BYU, winning 24-7 last week.
Now let’s jump into the Keys to Victory for the Aztecs.
Overall Team Key to Victory
Despite being undefeated and ranked, Rashaad Penny mentioned how the Aztecs were still underdogs against Boise State because of the Broncos’ national spotlight. If Boise State pulled off a victory over Washington State in overtime, they likely would be a ranked team. The Aztecs can’t lose their mental composure over the fact that they are playing “Boise State”. They need to remain with the same mentality they had against Arizona State, and then again against Stanford. It is just another game against just another team.
The Aztecs were very familiar with losing a game they should have won as a ranked team last season. They cannot have another repeat of South Alabama, where they came out completely flat and lost by over 20 points, despite being heavily favored. Head coach Rocky Long stated that this is the most important game of the year, the same way Arizona State was the most important before that game, as well as Stanford before we beat them. He said the same will go with every game for the rest of the season. That is the right mentality to have if the Aztecs do wish to be in a New Years Six bowl game. The only focus is on the next game.
Offensive Keys to Victory
1. Remain balanced throughout the game
We finally have seen wide receiver Mikah Holder have his breakout game. Holder reeled in nine receptions for 144 yards against UNLV. He accounted for 144 yards of Christian Chapman’s 172 yards passing. Holder needs to have another big game for the Aztecs to find a rhythm on offense. Boise State’s strength defensively is their rushing defense, allowing 105.8 yards a game. The Broncos held New Mexico to 198 yards on 51 rushes earlier this year, just 3.88 yards per carry. New Mexico, on the season, averages nearly six yards per carry, and 267 yards per game. Rashaad Penny is one of the top running backs in college football so he should still be successful, but a balance with the passing attack is crucial. With a steady, efficient pass game established, Penny will have tremendous success with play action coming into play and the defense on their heels.
2. Rashaad Penny needs to be…well…Rashaad Penny.
Penny is in the Heisman consideration this year, and rightfully so. He is second in college football in rushing yards with 993. He’s nearly eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark only six games in. He joined Aztec great Marshall Faulk, as the only other player in Aztec history to rush for over 100 yards in each game through the first six games of the season. Penny ran for 170 yards and two touchdowns last week. Penny just needs to do what he has done the entire season.
Defensive Keys to Victory
Keep the Broncos’ offense off-balance.
- Last week, Boise State had success with the run and the pass, which translated into a very good victory over BYU. The Broncos starting QB, Brett Rypien, came off his best game of the season, completing 63.2% of his passes and throwing his first touchdown. The Broncos also ran for 158 yards. If the defense can make big plays and force turnovers, they should have no issue winning this game. Rypien has thrown 3 interceptions this year, and the Aztecs defense has forced 12 turnovers through six games. Kameron Kelly and Trey Lomax are ballhawks on the field, and will add a lot of pressure to Boise State’s Rypien to make good decisions and accurate throws.
- The game expects a crowd even bigger than the Stanford game (around 43,000). The fans need to do their job and establish a rowdy and exciting environment, and give the Aztec players what they deserve.
I think the Aztecs will come out ready to play and defeat Boise State handily. The Aztecs are hungry for some recognition and love from AP top 25 voters. The Aztecs have not gotten the respect they deserve this season from the polls, and another victory over Boise State will continue to quiet the doubters.
Lets Go AZTECS! #OneCityOneTeam #WIN22