Boise State takes on a Pac-12 foe for the first time since a loss to Washington in the 2019 Las Vegas Bowl. From 2014 to 2017, the Broncos defeated at least one Pac-12 opponent per season. Boise State is playing its second season under coach Andy Avalos. Last year, the team finished 7-5 and was bowl eligible for a 24th straight season. The Beavers, entering their fifth season under former quarterback Jonathan Smith, went 7-6 last season and earned a postseason berth for the first time since 2013. Oregon State fell in the LA Bowl to Utah State.
Oregon State quarterback Chance Nolan against Boise State’s pass rush. Defensive linemen Scott Matlock had seven sacks last season and Isaiah Bagnah had six. Nolan won the starting job for the Beavers after a competition in fall camp with Tristan Gebbia and Ben Gulbranson. Nolan threw for 2,677 yards and 19 touchdowns last season, while rushing for 286 yards and three more TDs.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Boise State: RB George Holani is healthy after struggling with injuries for the past two seasons. The Broncos are hoping Holani can recapture the success he had in 2019, when he rushed for 1,014 yards with seven touchdowns.
Oregon State: RBs Trey Lowe and Deshaun Fenwick. The incumbents will take the bulk of the carries for the Beavers, according to coach Smith. “Some of it will be dependent on the play being called, the style. I can see the other three getting in the mix, but for game one the anticipation is that Fenwick and Trey will be the top two ball carriers.”
FACTS & FIGURES
Boise State was picked to finish atop the Mountain West Conference’s Mountain Division, while Fresno State was picked to top the West Division. Oregon State visits Fresno State next weekend. … Oregon State has sold out Reser Stadium for the game. Reser has a reduced capacity of 27,000 this season because of a $161 million construction project to replace the west grandstand. A new $5 million video scoreboard is expected to be up and running for the game. … The Beavers were 6-0 at home last season. … The Broncos won the last meeting between the two teams, 38-24, at Reser in 2016. Although Oregon State poses a big challenge for the first week of the season, Avalos said “at the end of the day it is still always about us. It’s about the detail with which we prepare, and which we train. We finally get to play a game. There’s been a lot of work put in throughout the course of the year and I think that’s the excitement of it.”