The No. 25 Boise State Broncos (4-1, 1-0 MW) roll into Hughes Stadium Saturday and will look to test the grit of the Colorado State Rams (2-3, 0-1 MW).
“They expect to win every time they take the field, they’re just not hoping to win,” head coach Mike Bobo said.
Coming into Saturday’s game, the Broncos stand as the only team in the FBS to rank in the top 15 in scoring offense and defense. The Bronco offense is ranked 13th in the country, scoring 40.6 points per game.
The Rams are allowing 25.4 points per game, and often times the team has had to lean on its defense.
The pressure of facing a high-powered offense might have some defenses worried, but the Rams’ hardened unit is amped for the opportunity.
“We get really excited about games like this,” junior linebacker Deonte Clyburn said. “We feel like we’re a good defense no matter what has happened. We know they’re a very good team, but every team we’ve played this year is a good team so we’ve just got to work harder… we will be fine.”
The Broncos lost their starting quarterback to an ankle injury in their third game of the season, but backup Brett Rypien has stepped up and played big in the wake of the injury.
“Rypien has come in and I don’t think he’s thrown an interception,” Bobo said. “ (They are) very efficient, they know what they are doing, they are sound.”
The dynamic Boise State offense doesn’t have to rely on just Rypien, either. They have talent all over the field, including sophomore running back Jeremy McNichols, who is off to an exceptional start to the season. McNichols has 12 touchdowns on the year, 10 of which are on the ground.
The Boise State coaching staff knows how to get the most out of McNichols, Rypien and the rest of their weapons.
“They do a nice job of schemes with different personal groups and creating mismatches, and being able to run into the right look,” Bobo said. “(They) run the power, run the zone, run the counter, and can get the dirty three-, four-yard run.”
Despite the Broncos’ unique offense, the Rams will mentally prepare for this game as if it were any other. Just ask sophomore linebacker Kiel Robinson.
“We just look at it as they are just the next team, our next opponent,” Robinson said. “We just take it one week at a time, do what we do week in and week out.”
Senior safety Kevin Pierre-Louis adds to that notion.
“We’ve just got to go out there and be prepared like always. … We’ve just got to continue doing what were doing,” Pierre-Louis said.
The bend-but-don’t-break mentality, communication and discipline will be the keys for the defense Saturday.
“If we get beat one-on-one running a route that’s okay,” Bobo said. “Misalignment, not in the right fit … that’s unacceptable.”
The Broncos offense also has cohesion on their offensive line, adding to their dynamic abilities. Entering 2015, Boise State returned a combined 95 career starts throughout the offensive line. That is tied for the 15th-most in the country.
The Rams hope that the home-field advantage and their rowdy home crowd will disrupt that Broncos offensive line unit.
“It’s good to be home,” Pierre-Louis said. “We’ve been away for a few weeks now, it’s a good thing we’re going to have our crowd behind us.”
Having the home crowd behind them might just be the spark the Rams need to get them playing at their highest level Saturday.
“It’s a big part of it, you know, when you get out there in warm-ups and you see the stands are already pretty full before the game has started … it definitely ads a little fuel,” senior wide receiver Joe Hansley said.
Collegian Football Reporter Geoff Huebner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Huebnermedia93.