Boise State WILL beat Air Force today. Here’s my reasons why:
Air Force is not the same monster it has been the past two seasons– Air Force’s pass defense was 45th in the country last year, only allowing 210 passing yds/game, this year they have fallen to 84th allowing 245 pass yds/game – so expect to see lots of Brett Rypien today.
McNichols cannot be stopped– Did I mention #McNichols4Heisman?? Jeremy McNichols is 1st in the country in rushing TDs, total touchdowns, total yds, and he is 3rd in the country in rushing yards. Air Force defense will be very busy trying to contain him. Here is McNichols all-purpose yards throughout the season, he has only been held under 100 yards once.
Boise State defense has limited big plays this year– Last season Boise State’s defense was absolutely hemorrhaged in big plays – giving up 29 plays of 30 yds+ (77th in the country), 20 plays of 40 yards+ (105th), 11 plays of 50 yds+ (108th). This year they are MUCH improved on stopping the big plays: Only 18 plays of 30+ yds (23rd), 6 plays of 40 yds+ (5th), 4 plays of 50 yds+ (21st). As long as they can manage the big plays by Air Force, Boise St can win this one.
Red Zone offense is very efficient– They have had some problems in the kicking game this season -Rausa is only 5 for 9 in FGS this season (56%) after kicking 25 for 30 FGs last year (83%). But Boise State is 5th in the country with their touchdown percentage in the red zone (77%). They have scored 34 touchdowns on 44 times in the red zone.
Turnovers on offense have been limited– In the past 3 games, Boise State’s offense has only given up 1 turnover. Pretty good for a team that had some major struggles early this season and last year (3 times vs WSU, 5 vs BYU)
The Broncos have gotten revenge so far this season– As Coach Harsin and all the coaches/players have admitted, this game has been “circled” on the calendar this season. They will be prepared to go 4-0 in revenge games, beating Air Force in Colorado Springs.
Air Force is allowing a lot of big plays– Cue Sperbeck and McNichols. Air Force D has allowed 33 plays of 30 yds+, 110th in the country. They have also allowed 19 plays of 40 yds+ which is 117th in the country. Match that up with the Boise State that is 3rd in the country with plays of 30 yds+ (41) and you better be ready for an offensive shootout.
Don’t forget that even last years atrocious game was a one score game.
Also important to note that last season’s loss came the week after the big upset by New Mexico, possibly playing a huge part into BSU’s mentality coming into the game.
P.S. Don’t forget Air Force’s tweet last season. No Steelhammer you won’t be honored with the hammer, instead Boise State & McWeapon will bring the hammer to you. #BeatAirForce Go Broncos!
(Image credit: Zimbio.com)