Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming game in our Oklahoma State vs Boise State preview and prediction.
8 p.m. CT, September 18, 2021, Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
TV: FS1 (Aaron Goldsmith and Mark Helfrich)
Radio: Cowboys Radio Network (Dave Hunziker)
Broadcast: Boise State (-4.5)
LB Malcolm Rodriguez
Rodriguez is a 6th year “Super Senior” and the leader of what appears to be a strong 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’s a bit short for a linebacker at 5’11 “, but he weighs 225 pounds and as a converted safety he has speed and cover skills. Boise easily brags about the best offense the OSU has seen. So far this season and with the Cowboy offense yet to find its footing, every tackle counts. As well as being the field general and making sure everyone is lined up correctly, Rodriguez shooting a back or a receiver down with a solo table in the open might actually make a difference in the game,
BY 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 Cowboys’ defensive front. Why not Tyler Lacy? Against Tulsa Lacy had 6 tackles and a half sack, which is a good day for a lineman. Facing Boise’s excellent frontline (I mention it 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 certainly have plenty of plays that end up at the second level of defense. Harvell-Peel is the team’s second-best tackle and most of the time the last line of defense. It would also be a good game for his ball peddling ways since returning from last season and the Cowboys still don’t have an interception this season.
QB Hank Bachmeier
Bachmeier is averaging 300 yards and two touchdowns per game, but he hasn’t faced a defense like the one he’ll face this week. He’s also easily the best QB his opponent has faced as well. OSU will be pushing, so he’ll have to keep his head on a pivot, but if he can move around while keeping his eyes down, which the Cowboys ‘top two opponents’ QBs have done very well, he could feast on defense. agressive. Taking big punches only when they’re there and making smart play instead is key to this game. OSU has won their first two games straddling defense, so if Boise can stay on the pitch and wear down defenders, or better yet to score, it will put pressure on the Cowboy’s anemic attack to try and move the ball more aggressively with the arms and legs of flip-prone QB Spencer Sanders.
The Broncos have allowed just one sack in their first two games, one of 17 schools to have allowed one or fewer sacks so far this season. In their two narrow wins so far this year, timely sacks 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’ve done so far this year and force the Cowboys to put additional players in the pass race, Bachmeier should be able to take advantage of the holes in the cover.
While both teams have offensive lines that can pass the block fairly well, neither seem to be able to steer the ball. This creates an interesting problem for the attacking staff of both teams: they have to figure out how to move the ball without throwing the pitch at each snap. The key, of course, is to make the short passing game an extension of the running game. I would expect to see a lot of WR screens thrown out of the numbers in this game, but if I expect so do the high paid defensive coordinators. The challenge for the COs in Stillwater and Boise is to find a way to disguise what they’re doing with movement and different formations to maybe catch the defense out of position. Whichever team does the best job of winning the 3rd and the short tries in an unconventional way, probably wins the game.
Prediction: Boise State 38, Oklahoma State 21
Sorry Cowboy fans, I don’t feel good about this one. Boise played well (and should have won) against UCF and then just demolished UTEP. Oklahoma State could easily have lost to Missouri State and Tulsa, if it weren’t for a few late-game heroines from the defense and special teams. The Cowboys have been a bit of a snake with the COVID / injury virus and if they get some people back, especially on the offensive front and at the receiver level, it could make a big difference but probably not enough. The Poke offense just isn’t good right now as Boise’s is buzzing. OSU has a clear defensive advantage, but if your offense goes 1, 2, 3 punters, your defense will eventually be beaten. If it was in Stillwater I would give them a better shot, but under the stars on the Smurf Turf I think the Cowboys are getting pushed around.