It is a beautiful time of year to be here on the campus of Boise State University. The colder weather has brought numerous reds, oranges, and yellows to all of the vegetation here in "The City of Trees." What is even better is that Bronco football is knocking on the BCS door yet again.
After another convincing 45-10 win over Idaho last week, the Chris Petersen-led football team kept their hopes alive for reaching another BCS bowl game. The Broncos will have to take care of business this week in Reno, however, if they want to have a chance to crash the party again this year.
If last season's matchup is any indication, the Broncos will have their hands full.
Last year on the Blue, the two teams combined for 136 points, the highest scoring game in the Football Bowl Subdivision since they started keeping official stats in 1937. The Broncos seem to be focused, though, and know not to look past a good Nevada team.
"I care about the Wolf Pack and the Broncos," coach Petersen said after being asked about Boise's chances of reaching another high-paying game.
Boise State has had a consistent passing offense, led by redshirt freshman quarterback Kellen Moore, who is averaging 286.7 passing yards per game. They hope to keep that part of their game up. Up until last week, however, the Broncos have struggled to find their ground attack with their running back by committee run game.
That changed against Idaho with the Broncos' first 100-yard rushing performance of the season. Backup Jeremy Avery finished the game with 156 yards. "When you get in, you've got to take advantage," said Avery, who had just 11 carries. "You've got to capitalize." The committee ended the game with 315 total rushing yards.
Perhaps, though, it is the much-improved Boise State defense that will have the toughest challenge this week.
The Broncos will be contested by two 1,000-yard rushers in quarterback Colin Kaepernick and running back Vai Taua. Nevada leads all FBS teams by averaging 325 rushing yards per game, 30 yards more than the next closest team.
Kaepernick has three consecutive 100-yard rushing games and has accounted for 897 yards and nine touchdowns in his last three contests.
Historically the Boise State defense has struggled with these two-dimensional quarterbacks.
They will look to change that this Saturday while trying to secure another outright WAC championship and continue their pursuit of a FOX television bowl game.