The Cowboys of Stillwater and the Broncos of Boise have never met before, but their Saturday meeting is one of the most anticipated matchups this week. That’s mostly due to both teams being now ranked in the top 25, but there are more intriguing storylines at play (specifically statistically), when the two teams play in a couple of days. Both teams have excelled on opposite sides of one specific statistical category.
An experienced Broncos offense returns six starters from last year including senior quarterback the FBS’ active passing leader Brett Rypien. They were favored in both of their last two games, but no one could have predicted how absurd their offensive output would be. The Broncos racked up 818 total yards on offense last week against UConn — the most the Huskies had ever given up in their history. Boise State put on a show in Week 1 as well, albeit not to the same caliber, accumulating over 400 yards in only 57 plays.
After both games, BSU is second in the nation with an average of over 8.9 yards per play on offense. The Cowboys have given up only 3.5 yards per play over the past two games. According to one website, the Cowboys are second in the nation in the category, although the numbers differ (possibly due to rounding). Boise State’s yard-per-play average will be a major stat to watch during Saturday’s game against the Cowboys.
The Broncos aren’t the stereotypical Big 12 offense. They will mix up their tempos and use huddle and no-huddle, and their use of formations and personnel groupings liken them to a Big Ten or SEC team. But head coach Bryan Harsin’s ability to utilize shifting and deception, combined with the Broncos’ talent at the skill position, have allowed BSU to put up impressive numbers. OSU defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and the Cowboy defense have impressed early on, but the Broncos will give them a major early test before conference play begins.