Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming game in our Oklahoma State vs. Boise State preview and prediction.
8 p.m. CT, Sept. 18, 2021, Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
TV: FS1 (Aaron Goldsmith and Mark Helfrich)
Radio: Cowboys Radio Network (Dave Hunziker)
Spread: Boise State (-4.5)
LB Malcolm Rodriguez
Rodriguez is a 6th year “Super Senior” and the leader of what appears to be a stout Oklahoma State defense for the second consecutive season. A tackling machine, he leads the nation in tackles right now with 28 after just two games. He is a bit on the short side for a linebacker at 5’11” but he’s 225 lbs and as a converted safety has speed and coverage skills. Boise boasts easily the best attack OSU has seen so far this season and with the Cowboy offense having not found it footing yet every tackle matters. Besides being the field general and making sure everyone is lined up correctly, Rodriguez pulling a back or receiver down with a solo table in the open filed might actually be the difference in the game,
DE Tyler Lacy
With star defensive end Trace Ford lost for the season with an ACL injury someone else needs to step up and lead the Cowboy defensive front. Why not Tyler Lacy? Against Tulsa Lacy had 6 tackles and half a sack which is a solid day for a lineman. Facing the excellent front Boise has (I mention in below) the defensive line is going to have its hands full so another productive day from Lacy and his is needed.
S Kolby Harvell-Peel
The Broncos are too good offensively to be held in check and will definitely have a lot of plays that end up in the second level of the defense. Harvell-Peel is the second leading tackler on the team and a lot of the time the last line of defense. This would also be a good game for his ball-hawking ways from last season the return and the Cowboys still don’t have an interception this season.
QB Hank Bachmeier
Bachmeier is averaging 300 yards and two touchdowns a game but he hasn’t faced a defense like the one he will face this week. He is also easily the best QB that his opponent has faced as well. OSU will bring pressure so he will have to keep his head on a swivel but is he can move around while keeping his eyes downfield, something the Cowboys first two opponents QBs did very well, he might feast against the aggressive defense. Only taking big shots when they are there and making instead the smart play is the key in this game. OSU has won it’s first two games by riding the defense so if Boise can stay on the field and wear the defenders down, or better yet score, it will put pressure on the Cowboy’s anemic offense to try to move the ball more aggressively with the arms and legs of turnover-prone QB Spencer Sanders.
The Broncos have allowed just one sack through its first two games, one of only 17 schools that has allowed one or fewer sacks so far this season. In both of their close wins so far this year timely sacks have allowed OSU to escape at the last minute. Cowboy DC Jim Knowles has a knack for finding ways to get his players into the backfield. If Boise can hold the line like they have so far this year and force the Cowboys to commit extra players to the pass rush Bachmeier should be able to take advantages of holes in the coverage.
Despite both teams having offensive lines that can pass block well enough neither seems to be able to run the ball. It creates an interesting issue for the offensive staffs of both teams: they need to figure out how to move the ball without throwing downfield every snap. The key to that of course is to make the short passing game an extension of the run game. I expect to see a lot of WR screens thrown outside the numbers in this game but if I expect it so do the highly paid defensive coordinators. The challenge laid before the OCs in Stillwater and Boise is finding a way to disguise what they are doing with motions and different formations to maybe catch the defense out of position. Whichever team does a better job winning the 3rd and short downs in an unconventional way probably wins the game.
Prediction: Boise State 38, Oklahoma State 21
Sorry Cowboy fans, I just don’t feel good about this one. Boise played well (and should have won) against UCF and then just demolished UTEP. Oklahoma State could have easily lost to Missouri State and Tulsa both if not for some late game heroics from the defense and special teams. The Cowboys have been snake bit a little with the COVID/injury bug and if they get some people back, especially along the offensive front and at receiver, it could make a big difference but probably not enough. The Poke offense just isn’t good right now while Boise’s is humming. OSU has a distinct advantage defensively but if your offense going 1, 2 ,3, punt every drive your defense will eventually get beat. If it was in Stillwater I’d give them a better shot but underneath the stars on the Smurf Turf I think the Cowboys get pushed around.