The Boise State Broncos head to Autzen Stadium Saturday for Oregon's final non-conference game of the 2008 regular season. The Broncos of the Western Athletic Conference are 2-0, just coming off a 20-7 win over Bowling Green University.
Oregon, of course, is returning from its road trip to West Lafayette, Indiana where it defeated Purdue in a double-overtime, 32-26 win. It was an ABC/ESPN, nationally televised game leading into the Saturday evening prime-time event, USC hosting Ohio State.
LITTLE-KNOWN INTERESTING TRIVIA
Both third-year Broncos head coach Chris Peterson and 14-year Oregon head man Mike Bellotti are UC Davis alums. Like Bellotti, Peterson was the Boise State offensive coordinator and built up a balanced, winning attack before being handed the helm.
Peterson now has a coaching record of 23-3 and back-to-back trips to bowl games. If Peterson can keep up these early trends, he will become Boise State's winningest head coach.
BOISE STATE IS AMONG FASTEST GROWING WESTERN UNIVERSITIES
Boise State University is experiencing annual enrollment increase of as much as 25 percent, and has for the last few years. As a part of that growth, it is attracting athletes from throughout the West, including California, the Mountain West, and other parts of the United States.
To support this rapid increase in student enrollment, Boise State has gone all-out to build first-rate facilities across its campus, including new football training facilities. Boise State's football program is similar to where Oregon was seven to 10 years ago, on their way to becoming a recognized national powerhouse.
CONCERNS FOR OREGON
Starting quarterback Justin Roper is out with a knee injury for at least two weeks, if not three or four. In his place, All-American junior college transfer Jeremiah Masoli will be starting in Saturday's game.
As far as we know on Sunday evening, Roper is the only injury affecting the Saturday lineup. Masoli has proven effective in the pocket with a quarterback rating of 102. Masoli can pass and scamper. As a JC transfer, he also brings leadership and maturity to the position.
OUTLOOK FOR SATURDAY
Boise State as a team is closer to Purdue than they are Washington or Utah State. Consequently, the game on Saturday will be challenging for Oregon.
Boise State will show several different looks, while being tough on both sides of the ball. The Broncos, however, are a young team and, as such, their inexperience will cause them to make some mistakes at critical moments against the faster and more experienced Ducks. There is no question that Autzen Stadium, one of the loudest in the NCAA and the Ducks' 12th man, will be a big factor on Saturday.
Oregon will get the the win over Boise State, but the Broncos will prove to be a talented adversary with solid coaching. This won't go down as a Hostess Twinkie game. Rather, expect a hard-fought battle right up through the end of fourth quarter.
Oregon Ducks 38, Boise State Broncos 28