FACTS & STATS: Site: Albertsons Stadium (36,387) — Boise, Idaho.
Television: ESPNU. Home Record: SDSU 4-0, BSU 4-0. Away Record: SDSU 1-4, BSU
3-1. Neutral Record: SDSU 0-0, BSU 0-1. Conference Record: SDSU 3-2, BSU 4-1.
Series Record: San Diego State leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: Boise State tries to string together a five-game win streak, as
the Broncos match up with the San Diego State Aztecs in Mountain West
Conference play at Albertsons Stadium this weekend.
The Broncos appeared to be heading down the wrong path early on this season
when they were just 3-2 and lost to Air Force by two touchdowns in conference
action. However, since that setback the team has come alive with some spirited
offensive play, scoring no less than 37 points during the current four-game
Last weekend, BSU was pushed to the limit by an upstart New Mexico group that
refused to go away, before the Broncos sent the Lobos packing in a 60-49
final. With the victory, Boise State moved to 4-1 in conference play, which
means it is tied with Utah State for second place in the Mountain Division of
the MWC, trailing only nationally-ranked Colorado State which has a bye this
As for the Aztecs, a team which is tied with Nevada for first in the West
Division standings at 3-2, they are still fighting to become bowl eligible,
needing one more win in the final three outings. The team took a break from
MWC action last week to take down visiting Idaho at Qualcomm Stadium, 35-21,
marking the program’s third win in four tries overall.
This is just the fourth time these two schools have faced each other on the
football field, with the Aztecs owning a 2-1 series edge. Last season, SDSU
survived a 34-31 overtime affair at home.
Receiver back Ezell Ruffin kicked off the scoring for the Aztecs during their
meeting with Idaho with a 24-yard TD reception and then closed out the contest
with a 28-yard TD catch as well, just what SDSU needed in order to post the
two-touchdown victory at home. Ruffin had just two other receptions in the
meeting and finished with 86 yards, second to Eric Judge with his four grabs
for 107 yards and a TD.
Quinn Kaehler converted 14-of-22 passes for 249 yards and the three scores,
while shaking off four sacks. Donnel Pumphrey was responsible for 26 carries
coming out of the backfield, which led to 142 yards and a score for the hosts.
After allowing touchdowns on the first two Idaho possessions, the Aztecs
settled down and permitted just a single score on the subsequent nine
possessions by the visitors.
The SDSU defense has been rather solid all season long, even though the team’s
overall record may not reflect it at the moment. The squad ranks 28th in the
nation with just 343.6 ypg allowed and is 18th in the FBS with just 20.2 ppg
surrendered. The squad doesn’t necessarily have a single defender who is
drawing all the attention to himself, although Calvin Munson is doing his best
to claim headlines with his 7.5 TFL, two sacks and two interceptions, while
Alex Barrett has notched nine TFL and is tied for the team lead with three
Pumphrey, who has carried the ball more than twice as many times as his
closest teammate, is blazing a trail on the ground with his 135.1 ypg and 13
TDs, averaging an impressive 6.6 yards per carry which was aided by a 93-yard
effort during the previous nine contests.
Kaehler has managed to complete 58.3 percent of his passes for a pedestrian
185.4 ypg, but the fact that he has more INTs (eight) than TDs (seven) is more
than enough reason to hand the ball to Pumphrey as much as possible.
On his way to being named the MWC Offensive Player of the Week, Boise State
quarterback Grant Hedrick brought the Broncos back from a two-touchdown
deficit in the first quarter and eventually led his squad to a double-digit
road win in Albuquerque.
As the two teams combined for close to 1,300 yards of total offense, Hedrick
threw for 367 yards and four touchdowns and added another 131 yards and two
scores on the ground. The effort with his legs was short of Jay Ajayi’s 177
yards and two TDs on 33 carries, but was made all the more impressive given
that he was credited with just 15 rushing attempts.
Shane Williams-Rhodes accounted for a pair of receiving scores, posting five
catches for 53 yards, and although he failed to cross the goal line in the
contest, Thomas Sperbeck was still a crucial piece of the puzzle as he caught
nine balls for 164 yards, both of which were game highs.
Defensively, giving up 49 points meant the Broncos were being stretched to the
limit. The squad surrendered a staggering 505 yards and six touchdowns on the
ground to a UNM group that refused to go away quietly. Because there were so
few passing plays on behalf of the Lobos, BSU failed to record a single sack
and ended up with just three tackles for loss overall.
The BSU defense has been rather suspect in 2014, and currently ranks 87th
nationally with 29.9 ppg allowed. The squad is permitting 233.2 ypg through
the air and another 156.8 ypg on the ground, numbers that represent a unit
that is being tested more than it is used to. Just imagine how bad the numbers
would be if not for the efforts of Donte Deayon and Darian Thompson who have
combined for nine interceptions.
The offense is getting back on target after a few tough games and is now
ranked eighth nationally with 521.1 ypg, thanks in large part to the passing
attack which accounts for 312.7 ypg. Hedrick still has his problems with
turnovers (11 INTs), but he is still converting passes at a 71.8 percent clip
and has 16 TDs through the air.
As long as Ajayi (127.3 ypg, 14 TDs) can maintain possession of the ball and
Hedrick doesn’t fall back into bad habits, this is a game that the hosts
should claim in comfortable fashion in front of a favorable crowd.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boise State 49, San Diego State 31