The best bowl game prior to the Christmas holiday takes place Wednesday night as two teams once clamoring for BCS attention quickly fell out of a favor with tough losses. Boise State meets Utah in a high powered affront to big school supremecy as both teams are ready to prove, once again, they can play with anyone. Also, the itch for competition is apparently too much to handle for student-athletes this holiday season as the second game in consecutive nights had issues off the field prior to the actual game. This time shoving matches ensued after players received massages. Apparently, it’s the new fad of bowl season, as well as running up the score. And the scoreboard will certainly get a workout as the tenth-ranked Broncos meet the twentieth-ranked Utes in the MAACO Bowl.

3 Keys from Scouts
1. Field generals. It all starts at the quarterback position and quite a difference can be seen between the teams’ two signal callers. Boise’s Kellen Moore is a Heisman Trophy finalist. He is an experienced starter who will challenge the NCAA’s all time wins mark at the position when his career comes to a close. He is deadly accurate. Moore has thrown 18 interceptions in his entire 3 year starting career for the Broncos. Sophomore Jordan Wynn has done an ample job leading the Utes but has thrown 10 interceptions this year alone. His 62.2 completion percentage in nine points lower than Moore’s currently. Wynn is a nice up-and-coming player for Utah, but there is no argument where the advantage lies at this crucial position.

2. Stretching the field. Boise State is top four in nation in two major offensive categories, total offense (519.50) and yards per play (7.48). Utah averages less than 100 yards than the Broncos do per game. Boise State’s Titus Young finished the regular season tenth in receiving yardage as one of the nation’s top downfield threats at 17.71 per  catch. The 6-feet-3-inches tall Austen Pettis nabbed nine touchdown passes to tie his counterpart for the team lead. And it was Tyler Shoemaker who led the team with 18.3 yards per catch when healthy. The Broncos have too many weapons for Utah to handle despite possessing one of the top underclassmen corners in the nation, Brandon Burton.

3. Defensive dominance. Neither team is expected to completely shut down its opponent. Many may be surprised to see Boise State ranked fourth overall in total defense. Utah likes to show multiple fronts and averages giving up nearly six more points per game. IF Utah can stop the Broncos and force a punt, the Utes are second in the nation in punt return yardage.

Bold Predictions

This particular contest is less about the two teams battling on the field of play, but rather Boise State setting out to make a point. They were nonchalantly strewn aside from national championship contention, and even a BCS bowl, after a simple missed field goal when other less deserving teams took its place. Utah, unfortunately, is the team waiting in the wings for the Broncos to steamroll. To their credit the Utes always come out well prepared, possess legitimate future NFL talent, and generally have a few surprises up their proverbial sleeves. It will not prove enough against one of the best teams in the nation. Boise State 52, Utah 21.

Boise State
Rnd Name Pos Num Yr Comments
2ndNate PotterT733JrSensational young left tackle prospect and the next top blocker from the Boise State program.  Coming off a disappointing junior season.
3-4Titus YoungWR75SrExplosive receiver that also impacts the game as a return specialist. Really on the upswing and being compared favorably to DeSean Jackson.
3rdAustin PettisWR874SrWell sized, reliable pass catcher that always comes away with the difficult reception. Has performed well as a senior.
3rdGeorge IlokaS83JrFast rising safety that scouts consider one of the best on the west coast.
4-5Jeron JohnsonS235SrTerrific centerfielder effective against the run and pass.
FARyan WinterswykDE985SrDeveloping defensive end coming off a good senior campaign. Good football player yet a marginal athlete with limited upside.
7thKellen MooreQB114JrProductive quarterback with a solid arm. Has benefitted from the system at Boise State.
FABrandyn ThompsonCB134Sr
FAJeremy AveryRB275SrTiny but elusive scatback.
FAThomas GallardaTE855Sr
FAWinston VenableOLB174Sr
Utah
Rnd Name Pos Num Yr Comments
2-3Brandon BurtonCB274JrDeveloping cornerback coming off a breakout season. Graded as a top 60 choice by scouts. Expected to enter the draft.
FAEddie WideRB364SrElusive ball carrier that picks his way on the inside while also beating defenders around tackle.
FAZane TaylorC775SrA favorite blocker of west coast scouts.
FAMatt AsiataRB45Sr
FACaleb SchlauderaffG725Sr
FAAntoine SmithsonWR14Sr

Game Preview: Brent Sobleski

Prospect Preview:  Tony Pauline