Miami (Ohio) vs. Boise State: Why This Could Be a Trap Game for the Broncos
You never like to overlook an opponent—just ask Arkansas.
Maybe the Razorbacks were looking past Louisiana-Monroe, and maybe they weren't. That is the joy of college football; sometimes even a team that shouldn't win can jump up and shock the favored school.
The result is glory for the underdog and head-hanging disbelief for the favorite.
Boise State is favored by 21 points, on at least one site, to win Saturday's outing on the blue turf at Bronco Stadium against Miami University. Considering the Broncos' lack of offensive production in Week 1 against Michigan State, 21 points is a big number, but certainly Boise State can do it if the offense is clicking.
Still, this game could be a trap game for Boise State. Here's why…
The Broncos Are Looking Ahead
Miami is a go-between game for Boise State. The Broncos had a bye in Week 2 while the RedHawks were dispatching Southern Illinois, 30-14.
The RedHawks have a win and momentum, while the Broncos have Brigham Young the following game. If Boise State is caught up prepping to face the Cougars, the RedHawks might be able to catch BSU napping and take advantage.
This is the biggest trap of them all. Miami should be a Boise State victory, and the Broncos must win against BYU if they want to be in contention for a decent bowl game.
The Broncos Offense Continues to Struggle
Boise State's running attack was missing in action against Michigan State; the passing game was only marginally better. If Boise State has not fixed those problems, it could be a long and frustrating game for Bronco Nation.
One also has to wonder if quarterback Joe Southwick struggles early, will coach Chris Petersen pull the plug on him?
In a story published by the Idaho Statesman, Petersen talked about the offensive line missing assignments and how Southwick's "just got to get better." Boise State has two quarterbacks listed who could step in (redshirt sophomore Grant Hedrick and redshirt freshman Jimmy Laughrea; the latter didn't make the trip to MSU) as well as true freshman Nick Patti, who may be in a redshirt year.
This could be the make-or-break, starter-or-backup game for Southwick.
If It Is a Battle of Field Goals, It Could Be Anyone’s Game
No self-respecting Bronco fan at this stage in the season wants to see the game come down to field goals. If the offense struggles, though, and the defense plays well, that's where the game could go.
Michael Frisina tagged two field goals against Michigan State, but the Broncos kicking game has been sporadic the past couple seasons. As for Miami, Kaleb Patterson is 2-for-3 on the season, having hit a 22-yarder against Ohio State and a 30-yarder against Southern Illinois in the RedHawks' win.
If the Broncos continue to struggle in the red zone, there is the potential that the game's outcome rests on someone's foot.
Defensive Secondary Can’t Play Soft Against Miami’s Aerial Attack
The Broncos got tired and gave Michigan State's receivers too much space late in the game in Week 1. Considering that the bulk of Miami's offense (to date) has been through the air (313 yards against Ohio State and 226 yards against Southern Illinois), the Broncos secondary needs to keep the coverage tight and take away that element of the game.
BSU got good pressure against Spartans quarterback Andrew Maxwell in the first half of the Week 1 game and needs to continue that. Tight coverage and pressure on the QB will equal a less-efficient Miami passing attack.
Complicating matters is Miami quarterback Zac Dysert. Dysert is a mobile and accurate passer who can throw the underneath route and go long. This put the onus on the defensive secondary even more.
Is This a Trap Game?
The answer to that question is probably not. Coach Chris Petersen preaches the "one at a time" philosophy, and even if the Bronco players were prone to looking ahead—and even if the loss to Michigan State is still fresh—they will key in on the opponent in front of them, which is Miami.
The Broncos need to come into this game lean, mean and hungry to prove themselves.
At this point (considering Week 1's revelations), Miami is not a pushover. The Broncos have to settle down and play the game; if they try to force the game, though, that could be disastrous.