4 things to know, key matchups and predictions


CSU Rams (2-5, 2-1 MW) at Boise State (5-2, 4-0)

When/where: 5 p.m. Saturday, Albertsons Stadium

TV/Radio: FS1/1600 AM

Line: Boise State -27.0, 42.5 over/under

Weather: 55 degrees, partly cloudy

What to know

Better protection: For the first time this season, the CSU offensive line didn’t allow a sack in last week’s 17-14 win over Hawaii. A sign the Rams’ banged-up front is starting to click? Or an indictment of the Rainbow Warriors pass rush? The Rams should get answers to those questions Saturday against a BSU defense averaging 2.29 sacks/game.

Getting defensive: For all the preseason talk about new head coach Jay Norvell’s wide-open offense, it’s CSU’s defense that has carried the Rams in conference play. Through three Mountain West contests, CSU has given up an average of 14.7 points/game — good for second in the conference. How long that will last is another matter altogether, with the Rams facing three of the MW’s top four scoring offenses over the next four weeks.

A Koetter above: Following a 27-10 loss at UTEP in Week 4, Broncos head coach Andy Avalos convinced former Boise State and NFL coach Dirk Koetter to return as the team’s offensive coordinator. The results — outside of a 19-14 slog over Air Force last week — have been explosive, as the Broncos have won three straight games, scoring 31.3 points/game. While Koetter promised this was a one-season deal, his presence could have a long-term impact for Avalos, who was on shaky ground after a 2-2 start.

Series domination: No matter the venue, time of year or stakes, the Rams have had no answer for Boise State since the two became conference rivals in 2011. Out of 11 meetings, all losses, CSU’s best effort was taking Boise to overtime in 2017.

Key matchups

CSU S Jack Howell vs. BSU QB Taylen Green: Green has gotten steadier under center with Koetter calling plays, but the redshirt freshman has also shown a penchant for giving the ball away with one pick in all four games played this fall. Howell, with a team-high three interceptions, has a nose for the football. A takeaway or two would go a long way for CSU’s upset hopes.


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