UW-Boise State football Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Chadd Cripe, who covers Boise State football for the Idaho Statesman, about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming. Kickoff is at 8:15 p.m. at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.

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Look for Q&As with beat writers that cover UW football opponents every week throughout the season.

Has this Boise State team lived up to expectations this season with a new coach in Bryan Harsin, and what are the biggest changes in the program and around the team compared with former coach Chris Petersen?

Chadd Cripe

Chadd Cripe

I’d say they’re about where people expected. The loss to Ole Miss was no surprise. The loss to Air Force was, but you have to expect a bump somewhere with a new staff. Otherwise, they’ve maybe been more inconsistent than expected but they’ve still put themselves in position to win the league. The changes are mostly cosmetic — Harsin and his staff are more promotion-oriented, using tools like Twitter and behind-the-scenes videos. In terms of the actual on-the-field product, it’s very similar, except this offense looks more like the old Boise State offense than the one Petersen installed last year.

 

Senior Grant Hedrick struggled and was benched in a loss at Air Force earlier this season, but since then has been the most accurate quarterback in the Mountain West. What changed with him, if anything, that has enabled him to be so effective?

Hedrick told me last week that he became more assertive, which helped fuel his hot streak. That said, offensive coordinator Mike Sanford has said the last two weeks weren’t his best in terms of the reads he’s been making. So there’s still some inconsistency there. Hedrick has a lot of talent — his issues have been turnovers and inconsistency in his career.

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Bohl concerned with top two offensive threats for Boise State

It takes 11 guys on offense and defense for a unit to perform well.

But when first-year Wyoming coach Craig Bohl talked about the Cowboys’ foe this week — Boise State — two guys came to the forefront.

Grant Hedrick

Grant Hedrick

Senior quarterback Grant Hedrick leads the Mountain West in total offense (325.6 ypg), and is the only player in the conference with more than 300 yards of total offense per contest. He also leads the league in completion percentage (71.4 percent). Hedrick is second in passing yards (279.5 ypg) and in passing efficiency (153.7). Hedrick’s 461 rushing yards is third among MW quarterbacks.

“He can throw it deep and short, he can run and makes good decisions,” Bohl said. “As an old defensive coordinator, when that quarterback plays well, the plays on (the defensive) call sheets get a lot harder. The element of the quarterback run makes it all the tougher.”

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Mountain West football power rankings/picks – Week 11

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his weekly installment of the Mountain West football power rankings and picks for Week 11 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.

1. Colorado State (8-1 overall, 4-1 MW): Got to stick with the Rams as they won their league-leading seventh straight game last week at San Jose State. However, senior quarterback Garrett Grayson and sophomore receiver Rashad Higgins got banged up. This week: vs. Hawaii, 5 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPNU). The Rams should keep rolling, but keeping Grayson healthy has to be a concern moving forward. Colorado State 33, Hawaii 20.

2. Boise State (6-2, 3-1): One of four bowl eligible teams in the conference, and maybe the best team right now based on its win over Colorado State in Week 2. Since his benching in a loss at Air Force, senior quarterback Grant Hedrick has been on fire. He’s completing 72.5 percent of his passes this season. This week: at New Mexico, 5 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). The Broncos should roll, but the Lobos will put up a fight. Boise State 42, New Mexico 21.

3. Utah State (6-3, 3-1): The Aggies continue to be one of the more amazing stories in of college football. On their fourth different starting quarterback due to injuries, but still winning games. Heck of a program there in Logan, and a heck of a defense that is tops in the MW in rushing defense (90 ypg), turnovers forced (25) and sacks (37). This week: at Wyoming, 6 p.m. MT Friday (ESPN2). Even though the Aggies play on a short week after playing at Hawaii, it’s hard not to pick them. Utah State 24, Wyoming 13.

4. Air Force (6-2, 2-2): Won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy last week against Army. A great comeback story after winning only two games last year. One of the better defenses the Falcons have had in a while. They’ve allowed 96 points in four conference games. This week: at UNLV, 2 p.m. MT Saturday (MW Network — online). Air Force can’t afford a letdown, but it usually handles these games well. Air Force 28, UNLV 20.

5. Nevada (6-3, 3-2): The Wolf Pack’s home win over San Diego State was its biggest of the season — conference-wise — and puts it atop the West Division. Nevada also is the only bowl-eligible team in that division right now, and only one with a winning streak (three). This week: Off.

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Mountain West football power rankings/picks – Week 6

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his weekly installment of his Mountain West football power rankings and picks for Week 6 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.

1. Nevada (3-1 overall, 1-0 MW): The Wolf Pack didn’t jump from No. 2 to No. 1 just because of its 21-10 road win at San Jose State, but it also has allowed the fewest points of any MW team this season (77). Throw in dual-threat quarterback Cody Fajardo and, at least right now, Nevada is at the top. This week: vs. Boise State, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). We should see how good Nevada is this week. Boise State is will be mad and motivated after a road loss at Air Force. Going to go with the road team in a close one. Boise State 24, Nevada 21.

2. Colorado State (3-1, 0-1): An impressive 24-21 win at Boston College last week. The Rams lead the conference in total offense (492 ypg) and are second in scoring (32 ppg). A couple of key starters a banged up this week — including quarterback Garrett Grayson, but it won’t matter much this week. This week: vs. Tulsa, 1 p.m. MT Saturday (MW Network — online only). The Rams’ impressive offensive numbers should climb and they will win their third straight game. Colorado State 38, Tulsa 16.

3. Air Force (3-1, 1-1): One of the biggest moves up this week. Not many saw the Falcons’ 28-14 home win over Boise State coming. Air Force leads the MW in scoring (33.2 ppg) and is third in scoring defense (21.2 ppg). Maybe the biggest surprise is it is seventh nationally in rushing defense (82.2 ypg). This week: vs. Navy, 1:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). This game should decide the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy winner this year. Again, going with the road team here in a close one. Navy 27, Air Force 23.

4. San Diego State (2-2, 1-0): An expected 34-17 home win over UNLV last week, but let’s see if the Aztecs can go on the road this week in league play and win. SDSU also will start a true freshman quarterback in Nick Bawden. Its stay in the top four may not last long — or could it? This week: at Fresno State, 8 p.m. MT Friday (CBSSN). For some reason I like road teams this week. I think the Aztecs will play good enough defense to make Fresno throw the ball more, which is not a good thing. San Diego State 28, Fresno State 20.

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Mountain West football power rankings/picks – Week 5

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his weekly installment of his Mountain West football power rankings and picks for Week 5 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.

1. Boise State (3-1 overall, 1-0 MW): The Broncos remain a solid No. 1, They have won three straight since their season-opening loss to Ole Miss, and have outscored their opponents 104-54 during that time. This week: at Air Force, 5 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). Boise State may have some issues with Air Force, but in the end the Broncos will be too physical and talented. Look for another big game from junior running back Jay Ajayi, who leads the MW with 494 yards and five touchdowns. Boise State 34, Air Force 21.

2. Nevada (2-1, 0-0): The Wolf Pack was off last week, and is the only team in the West Division with a winning record. An improved defense and senior quarterback Cody Fajardo should make Nevada the favorite in that division moving forward. This week: at San Jose State, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). A game Nevada needs to win if it is going to be a factor in the West Division. Nevada 38, San Jose State 24.

3. Colorado State (2-1, 0-1): The Rams also were off last week, but the play of other teams in the league last week moved them up a couple of spots. Senior quarterback Garrett Grayson leads the MW with 331 passing yards per game, and with 332 yards of total offense per contest. This week: at Boston College, 10:30 a.m. MT Saturday (ROOT). The Rams make the long trip across the country to face a B.C. squad that beat USC at home a couple of weeks ago. This trip won’t end well for CSU. Boston College 27, Colorado State 13.

4. Wyoming (3-1, 1-0): All three of the Cowboys’ wins have been at home and by a combined 10 points. Two were come-from behind wins. You’ve got to admire the never-quit attitude, but things have to improve, especially on offense, moving forward as the Pokes average just 17 points per game. This week: at No. 9 Michigan State, 10 a.m. MT Saturday (ESPN2). Both teams run similar schemes offensively and defensively, but Michigan State does it much better. Michigan State 42, Wyoming 10.

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Mountain West football power rankings and picks – Week 2

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his weekly installment of his Mountain West football power rankings and picks for Week 2 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.

1. Colorado State (1-0, 0-0 MW): A big jump for the Rams, but they earned it as they had the most impressive win — not sure if it was good or bad — in the league last week with a 31-17 win over Colorado in Denver. We will see how good CSU  is when it plays at Boise State Saturday. This week: at Boise State, 8:15 p.m. MT Saturday, (ESPN2).The Rams will be good this season, but they are not good enough to win in Boise. Boise State 27, CSU 21.

2. San Diego State (1-0, 0-0): One of four teams to beat Big Sky teams last week. The Aztecs should contend for the West Division title, but they get a much bigger test this week. But for now, SDSU makes a significant move up. This week: at No. 21 North Carolina, 6 p.m, MT Saturday (ESPNews). The MW needs a win over a team from a Power 5 conference foe. The Aztecs have the best chance. It will be close, but they fall short. North Carolina 28, San Diego State 17.

3. Boise State (0-1, 0-0): Yes, the Broncos got soundly beat 35-13 against Ole Miss last week in Atlanta. But it was a one-point game early in the fourth quarter before the Broncos succumbed to Ole Miss’ size and athleticism. Quarterback Grant Hedrick can’t throw four interceptions like he did against Ole Miss. This week: vs. Colorado State, 8:15 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPN2). Boise State may not be a dominant team this season, but it is still good and will bounce back this week. Boise State 27, Colorado State 21.

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