Bronco Stadium's blue turf will be on full display Saturday night as Boise State looks to continue its unlikely climb up the BCS ladder against the San Diego State Aztecs.
Boise State enters the game 7-1, with its only loss coming in Week 1 to Michigan State. Now ranked No. 19 in the BCS polls, the team has an outside chance at playing Cinderella once again.
The Aztecs have won four straight, but they have three losses on the season. A dynamic run game allows them to control the clock, but they struggle in other facets of the game.
This one, and every one, means a lot to Boise State. San Diego State is just looking to play spoiler.
Let's preview this one from top to bottom.
Where: Bronco Stadium, Boise, Idaho
When: Saturday, November 3 at 10:30 p.m. ET
Watch: CBS Sports Network
Betting Line: Boise State (-13.5), Over/Under 50.5, according to covers.com
Injury Report for San Diego State (according to USAToday.com)
OL Japheth Gordon - Foot - Questionable
QB Ryan Katz - Ankle - Out for Season
DL Dontrell Onuoha - Personal - Out Indefinitely
RB De'Saan Hardwick - Groin - Out Indefinitely
WR Osmond Nicholas - Leg - Out Indefinitely
DB J.J. Whittaker - Shoulder - Out for Season
QB Chad Jeffries - Arm - Out Indefinitely
OL Garrett Corbett - Ankle - Out Indefinitely
WR Paul Pitts III - Knee - Out for Season
Injury Report for Boise State (according to USAToday.com)
OL Jake Broyles - Undisclosed - Questionable
WR Mitch Burroughs - Wrist - Out Indefinitely
TE Kyle Sosnowski - Undisclosed - Out Indefinitely
TE Gabe Linehan - Hamstring - Out Indefinitely
S Taylor Loffler - Knee - Out for Season
BCS/Top 25 Implications
San Diego State has three losses, so its BCS dreams are shot, but the Broncos are in the mix once again.
This isn't a Top 5 team like we've seen before, but at No. 19 in the most-recent BCS standings, the Broncos have a chance to continue rising.
College football fans know how the BCS standings can go. One disastrous week can unseat multiple Top 10 teams (like Week 9), and fresh faces can rise to the top. The Broncos don't face any major challenges from here, and winning out could have them in a familiar position at the end of the season.
It all starts here on Saturday, though. A loss to the Aztecs destroys any shred of BCS hopes.
What They're Saying
Very few players had bigger shoes to fill than Joe Southwick this season. Replacing Kellen Moore in Broncos' country is no small task, but he's performed admirably. With just nine touchdowns, he's not leading the most prolific passing attack, but he's won seven games. That's what really matters.
Check out what Boise State head coach Chris Petersen had to say about his quarterback with USA Today's Dan Wolken:
There's just no substitute for game experience. He's had a lot of reps in our system as a practice player, but that's just so different from when money's on the line. He really knows what we're trying to get done, and he's seeing things better, gaining more confidence as he continues to complete passes and win games.
Receiver Matt Miller echoed those sentiments and spoke to the burden placed on Southwick because of who he replaced:
He had to replace the winningest college quarterback in history. Very big shoes to fill, and he's done a very good job of it so far. You can't ask for a kid to come in and do the exact same thing Kellen did. That's too much to ask, but he's handled it very well.
Southwick has had his struggles, but the Broncos are on the fringe of the BCS conversation for a reason. He's played his part, and he's improving.
Who to Watch (San Diego State): Adam Muema, RB
Muema is one-half of the duo that comprises the nation's 18th-ranked rushing attack. With 145 attempts on the season, he has 892 yards and nine touchdowns. Averaging over six yards per carry by itself will make opponents think twice when they line up against you.
Muema isn't a threat to catch the ball, but he doesn't need to be. He and Walter Kazee shred through opponents' front seven on a regular basis.
Because Ryan Katz is out for the season (per North County Times reporter Stefanie Loh), Muema is even more important.
Using a low center of gravity and hard-nosed running, Muema has four 100-plus yard games this season—including a 202-yard game versus San Jose State.
He may not be a household name, but this rising sophomore can play. If Boise State doesn't keep him under control, he can make the game interesting.
Who to Watch (Boise State): Demarcus Lawrence, DL
Lawrence is a major disruption on the Broncos defensive line. His dynamic play is a big reason that Boise State currently ranks fifth in the nation in scoring defense.
On the year, the sophomore has 33 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and he's even blocked a kick. He's all over the field, and he's made himself into one of the nation's premier pass-rushers this season.
With the Aztecs' starting quarterback Katz out for the season, San Diego State will rely on its running backs to move the ball. That doesn't mean new signal-caller Adan Dingwell gets off easy, though. He must keep the defense off-balance to a point.
Look for Lawrence to make Dingwell's life difficult. He's not the biggest rush lineman you'll see, but his explosive first step and tenacity gives him an advantage coming off the edge.
If Katz were playing, it could be a possible upset bid. However, he's not playing, and the Broncos will roll in this one. Southwick hasn't had a flawless season by any means, but D.J. Harper's consistent production on the ground complements one of the nation's most underrated defenses.
Look for Boise to take its underdog dreams one step further on Saturday.
Prediction: Boise State 38, San Diego State 17