There’s a way to stay in this game

There is a way to put yourself in a football game even when you are an underdog of Utah State’s dimension tonight, whether on national TV or otherwise. First, you have to believe you can win. Those who have seen all 10 Utah State games — and understand the Aggies have their shortcomings – know this bunch has that belief. Secondly, you have to take advantage of opportunities. The Aggies have a very nice plus-seven in the takeaway-giveaway ratio but are still a bit short of perfection in that regard. Boise State’s plus-17 number in turnover ratio indicates they’re about the most opportunistic team in the country. (Bottom line: Aggie mistakes tonight will simply hasten what many feel is inevitable.) Something else to consider – and the Broncos’ five WAC victims will verify this – at some point in each of their five league games they have wrought an unmitigated wave of disaster on the opponent. It happens quickly. It might take the form of a 21 or 28-point spurt and it’s done in all manner of ways: a defensive score, a special teams score or the old traditional touchdown on offensive scrimmage plays which they’ve done 51 times this year. The Aggies cannot allow these point-scoring flare-ups. Be assured, merely in the process of showing up, Boise State will get their scores. To have a chance, Utah State must get theirs, too, and they will have to do it against a Boise State defense that’s 80 yards better, per game, than anybody else in the WAC. Tulsa and Louisiana Tech stayed with the Broncos in different ways. Tulsa was able to control the football while Boise State misfired. Louisiana Tech trailed big in the first half against the Broncos, 27-7, but got back in the game by weathering the storm (as did the Aggies at Hawaii.) It was later everything caved in on the Bulldogs. In Gary Andersen’s first year the Aggies have shown a fairly aggressive defensive mindset. This year the teams in the most trouble against Boise State have been those sitting back in zone coverage, allowing the Broncos to go at it. BSU has scored a lot of points in those situations. The Aggies must find a way to pressure lefty Kellen Moore, a very poised sophomore quarterback. Good luck. In 10 games opponents have sacked him all of five times. They’re the national leader in that category. Tonight we’re fortunate to have two very good offensive teams on display, it could be quite a show. Boise State is 16th in NCAA total offense numbers, the Aggies are 20th and both have forged a run-pass balance everybody strives for. Utah State’s been up around 250 passing yards just about every game this year. However, if Diondre Borel is good for no better than his 80 throwing yards of last week against San Jose State – amid the rumors of his “small” hands and inability to grip the ball in cold conditions – then USU’s upset chances take a significant hit. We know after 10 games there is no quit in Gary Andersen’s guys. And if there are bad, good and great teams in college football today, we know where Boise State belongs. Let’s see if in year one of the new regime Utah State is good enough to beat a great team, as the nation watches along with us.

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