Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports
Boise State has been getting better as a team as the season progresses. That progress will need to continue to win this Saturday. The Broncos are going to have to get a bit retro themselves if they want to get the edge in the Mountain Division.
Perhaps they can get some inspiration from Tom Cruise—or at least his movies.
All the Right Moves
The Broncos have made some costly mistakes this season in the way of penalties on defense and turnovers on offense in the red zone.
However, they can't afford that kind of thing against a very talented Aggies team that know how to capitalize on the mistakes of their opponents.
If they can limit the free yards via penalties for their opponents and keep hold of the ball when closing in on a score, the Broncos should put themselves in a position to succeed. If more mistakes happen in Logan, it could be a long trip home.
Days of Thunder
One of the things that has been absent much of the season for Boise State is the dominating defense we have grown accustom to seeing over recent years. However, against Southern Miss, some of that swagger, confidence and toughness seemed to be rising to the surface.
If they want to be successful against the Aggies, the Broncos need to play defense with reckless abandon. Flying to the ball, getting to the quarterback, tackles for loss, swarming coverage and powerful hits are all going to be needed when these teams collide.
If the Boise defense plays with serious attitude, confidence and passion, Utah State is going to be on its heels all game long. If however, the defense looks more like the first part of the season rather than the latter, Saturday in Utah could be a big disappointment.
Head coach Chris Petersen and offensive coordinator Robert Prince have slowly been adding some "Boise State Stuff" into the offensive mix. A fake punt against Fresno State and a Fumblerooski against Southern Miss got the blue and orange juices flowing.
More of the same should be included in the game plan this week.
The Broncos know how to make these type of plays work, and let's be honest, it is a lot of fun for fans to watch. However, beyond that, these kind of plays usually frustrate opposing teams and can swing the momentum of a game in a significant way.
Some might say, "more cowbell," but Boise State need only bring more risky business.
Quarterback Joe Southwick is having a very good season statistically.
The Broncos are currently ranked first in the FBS in passing completion percentage as a team. Yes, you read that right, Boise State has the highest pass competition rate in the land at 73.2 percent. Joe Southwick himself is ranked third in the FBS on the individual list with a 73.5 percent completion rate.
The Broncos success in the passing game is twofold. First, they are loaded with talent at wide receiver and tight end. Second, the play of their senior quarterback has been efficient.
Southwick will need to continue to display that efficiency this weekend, and he will need to continue to spread the ball around to all the talent that surrounds him.
A Few Good Men
Jay Ajayi is a very good running back, but he will need help. As previously mentioned, true freshman Aaron Baltazar is out. When healthy, he and Ajayi were a powerful combination.
In his absence the other running backs on the roster must step up.
Look for Jack Fields to get his fair share of the secondary carries this Saturday. However, he must do better than what he has done this season to give Ajayi the help he will need.
Fields has just 91 yards on 27 carries in 2013. That equates to 3.4 yards-per-carry. In comparison, Baltazar had 234 yards on 50 carries for a 4.7 yards-per-carry average.
Other backs that must contribute will be JUCO transfer Derrick Thomas, who has had very limited action this season, and redshirt freshman Charles Bertoli.
Bertoli is a guy that has been impressive nearly every time he touches the ball. Of course, it hasn't been that much, and it is usually in clean up time, but he shows power and grit. On the year Bertoli has carried just five times, but that was for 60 yards and one touchdown.
If the Broncos want to have success against the Aggies, all three of these backups will need to contribute. However, don't forget about wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes who is sometimes incorporated into the running game.