BOISE, Idaho — For as good as 20th-ranked Boise State performed on offense and defense in a 56-20 win at Troy in the season opener, the Broncos were equally as poor on special teams.
Boise State struggled in the punting game, missed its only field goal attempt and muffed a punt return that led to an early touchdown for the Trojans.
Punters Quinn Skillin and Joel Velazquez combined to average just 33.5 yards on four punts, and field goal kicker Haden Hoggarth missed his only try, a 44-yard attempt in the fourth quarter.
The Broncos also lost a muffed punt when returner Avery Williams couldn’t field the ball cleanly after being knocked to the ground during a collision. Boise State’s Tyler Horton blocked a Troy defender into Williams, who fell down and had the ball hit off his body.
The Trojans recovered the ball and scored on that drive to temporarily tie the score at 7-7.
“Special teams, I know we’re better,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “We kind of had a practice like that too, and it showed up in the game. You don’t get five or six kicks to get warmed up and now all of a sudden you have a great punt or you get to go warm up and have a few field goals and now the third one is good.”
— B.J. Rains, Idaho Press-Tribune
A weekend’s worth of reflection didn’t produce any magical solutions.
There are no quick fixes — wholesale or otherwise — to what ails Colorado State, coach Mike Bobo said.
CSU trailed by as many 30 points in its opener before losing 43-34 to Hawaii and then losing 45-13 to Colorado on Friday night in Denver.
“It’s easy sometimes to point the finger at the player and say, ‘You’ve got to do this.’ But we’ve got to coach better,” Bobo said. “We’ve got to put them in better positions to be successful, and the players have got to go out there, and they’ve got to execute.”
The Rams, Bobo said, will spend a lot more time this week “fixing ourselves,” before worrying too much about what Arkansas (1-0) might do when the teams meet at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Canvas Stadium. Arkansas is the first Southeastern Conference team to play a football game at CSU since 1981.
There will be more competition for starting jobs and playing time in practices this week, Bobo said, and a lot more time spent with Colorado State’s Nos. 1 and 2 offenses going up against its own Nos. 1 and 2 defenses instead of scout teams.
— Kelly Lyell, Fort Collins Coloradoan
Fresno State is 1-0 after outgunning Idaho 73-19 in its opener, but as the Bulldogs were reminded on the practice field this week as they started game prep for a big test at Minnesota, the first victory doesn’t mean anything anymore.
It’s history, but that history also can be a guide for the Bulldogs in trying to take down a Power Five conference opponent for the first time since 2012.
Fresno State converted 8 of its 13 third-down plays into a first down in its opening rout of Idaho, and a lot of that success occurred because of what the Bulldogs were able to do on first and second down against the overmatched Vandals.
The Gophers allowed New Mexico State to convert on just 2 of 17 third downs.
The Bulldogs’ defense dialed up a fair amount of pressure against Idaho, but the pass rush didn’t consistently have the impact that it could have in this game.
The Bulldogs had one sack and three quarterback hurries. The Bulldogs obviously are working new combinations up front, but that still is a bit troubling, given they were playing an FCS opponent, and that FCS opponent had two inexperienced offensive tackles on the field most of the game.
— Robert Kuwada, Fresno Bee
It’s safe to say the Aggies will be plenty motivated when New Mexico State rolls into Cache Valley for their home opener Saturday.
After all, New Mexico State rallied late in the fourth quarter to force overtime in last year’s Arizona Bowl, and then prevailed on a 21-yard touchdown scamper by star tailback Larry Rose III.
Nevertheless, Utah State is determined not to let the revenge factor be a major storyline for Saturday’s showdown.
“This game is all about us,” coach Matt Wells said. “It’s all about the Utah State 2018 Aggies vs. the New Mexico State 2018 Aggies. That’s how our players are approaching it, and that’s how our coaches are approaching it. We’ll study everything we’ve got on them from the last couple of years, just like we have all summer. I probably can’t say it enough. This week is all about us. ... It’s what we do and how we do it. That’s the message our players are hearing.”
USU will also be looking to bounce back from its hard-fought 38-31 loss to then-No. 11 Michigan State last Friday at Spartan Stadium.
— Jason Turner, Logan Herald-Journal