As the clock ticks closer and closer to the start of football season, we continue our pre-season game previews and predictions. We move on from the home debut against Idaho State and look forward to the Beavers’ showdown with Boise State.
Game 3: Boise State
Oregon State will kick off the season with a road trip to Minnesota before returning home to round out their non-conference slate with match-ups against Idaho State and Boise State. Having already taken a look at the Beavers’ chances against the Gophers and the Bengals, it’s time to break down how things are expected to go on Saturday, September 24th against Boise State.
Coming off a week against Idaho State, in which Oregon State will be expected to throttle the Bengals, the confidence of this Beavers team should be at an all-time high heading into their meeting with the Broncos. Boise State and Oregon State may have a bit of regional history with one another but the two teams actually haven’t met since the 2013 Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl, when the Beavers trucked the Broncos, 38-23, on Christmas Eve. Cornerback Rashaad Reynolds was the star that day for the Beavers, returning two fumbles for touchdowns in the 15 point victory.
For this year’s version of Boise State, the program is coming off a 9-4 campaign that was viewed mostly by their fan base as a bit of a lackluster effort, considering the overall weakness of their schedule. The Broncos were oddly pedestrian on their patented home blue turf as well, falling in back-to-back weeks in November to New Mexico and Air Force teams that finished the season with a combined 15-12 record. However, the highlight of the Boise State season likely came in their 55-7 Poinsettia Bowl win over Northern Illinois, when an inexperienced nucleus finally showed their flashes of brilliance, dominating the Huskies from start to end. Big days from quarterback Brett Rypien and running back Jeremy McNichols helped Boise State out-gain Northern Illinois, 654 to 33 yards, in the contest.
That kind of finish to a season for a young team will bring some serious momentum into the 2016 season, where Boise State kicks off against Louisiana-Lafayette and Washington State before traveling to Corvallis. While neither the Ragin’ Cajuns or Cougars can be viewed as inferior competition, if Boise State takes the leap that they are expected to take this season, the chance for the Beavers to be welcoming an undefeated Broncos squad to town is possible. After all, Boise State fans are thinking this could be another near-perfect season for the boys from The Gem State.
The key in this one for Oregon State will be slowing down the Broncos’ almost prototypical balanced offense, where Boise State will spread the field and allow Rypien to make plays. Out of the backfield, McNichols could be one of the breakout backs in college football this season and is probably one of the most unheralded offensive weapons in the country. Not good news for a Beavers defense who is still trying to plug pieces with less than a month to go before the season starts. With the recent news that freshman defensive end Isaac Garcia missed the start of Fall Camp due to an academic problem and his incumbent, fellow-freshman end, Kenny Turnier has now been moved to tight-end, Oregon State is somehow finding more problems on that side of the ball as opening day draws nearer.
If Oregon State can negate the mistakes and not allow Boise State to break off the big plays (like they’ve been known to do), the Beavers still have a strong chance to take this game to the final minutes. However, the myriad of questions surrounding this Oregon State defense is just too much to overlook, at least at the moment. Unless the Beavers take some huge steps in their first two games, specifically on the defensive side of things, I can’t see them having enough to knock off the Broncos.
Oregon State can scratch, claw and keep it close but in the end, I think the Blue Dynasty sneaks out of a Corvallis with an impressive win over a Pac-12 foe. Boise State 30, Oregon State 24.