After their first loss of the season at the hands of BYU, Boise State is looking to redeem itself at San Jose State on Nov. 2 at 8:30 p.m. Returning from a bye week, Boise State is expected to have made several improvements on both sides of the ball with ample time for practice.
Junior wide receiver CT Thomas claimed the loss was representative of a need for change as the Broncos progress.
“We gotta go back to the drawing board and start over – start all the way over. You know what I’m saying, look at ourselves in the mirror,” Thomas said.
However, head coach Bryan Harsin has made an effort to avoid using the delay in schedule to dwell on the team’s failures in Provo.
“Our focus is completely on this game and what we’re trying to get done against San Jose State,” Harsin said.
Despite the Spartans’ 4-4 record on the season, Harsin refuses to compare it to the Broncos’ 6-1 record and guarantee a win. Harsin detailed several aspects of San Jose football that his team must prepare to face on Saturday, including a high forced turnover rate and dominant plays in the red-zone.
“Those are things that are standing out,” Harsin said, “There’s the challenge; what are they doing well? Well you look at that and you got to find a way to go out there. How are we going to compete against that?”
San Jose State is ranked second in the NCAAF for interceptions
As the Broncos move on to face a team with 13 interceptions under its belt, Harsin is placing greater emphasis on quarterback composure in scrambles.
“[The Spartans] put teams in some tough situations where they have had to make some difficult throws where they have been able to cause turnovers,” Harsin said.
Against the Arkansas Razorbacks, the Spartans’ defense came up with five interceptions off of quarterback Nick Starkel, who only threw one interception in Arkansas’ three games prior. In his post-game presser with ABC 7, Arkansas head coach Chad Morris’ addressed San Jose State’s effective minimization of rushing yards and the resulting pressure on Starkel.
“We threw the ball 50 times tonight–that’s entirely too many,” Morris said.
While the injury status of freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier remains unconfirmed, redshirt sophomore Chase Cord is expected to continue starting in his place. Cord has a pass completion rate of 57.58% and two interceptions.
To avoid turnovers on Saturday, the Broncos may rely on their offensive line to protect Cord’s pocket on pass plays as well as open up pathways for rushers.
San Jose’s offense has shown an ability to combat dynamic defenses
With arm accuracy and a team of talented receivers at his disposal, San Jose’s quarterback Josh Love may pose a threat to Boise State’s defensive endeavors. As of now, Love averages at 311 passing yards per game.
The Spartans are coming off a 34-29 win against Army West Point in which Love completed 20 of 31 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns. In the post game press conference, Army linebacker Cole Christiansen discussed Love’s arm and its role in San Jose’s victory.
“They do have good running backs, but they definitely rely on Love throwing the ball all over the place… He made some good throws,” Christiansen said.
Harsin commented on the success of San Jose State’s offensive drives against a previously dominant Army defense.
“Those receivers were doing what they wanted to,” Harsin said. “There was wide open guys and opportunities for the quarterback and they made some great catches.”
Christiansen’s and Harsin’s observations call for both a strong presence in pass coverage and heavy pressure on Love.
The effects of Boise State’s bye week will be revealed under the lights of the CEFCU stadium, where the team will compete to keep their New Year’s Six bowl dreams alive against San Jose State, a foe with notable strategy.