Broncos will bring the heat

Boise State will use a balanced attack to overwhelm Nevada, and complete an undefeated season.

Originally Published: November 23, 2004
By Todd McShay | Scouts, Inc.
Nevada will play host to Boise State, looking to spoil its perfect season and BCS bowl dreams. Dan Hawkins' team has already wrapped up a third-consecutive conference title, but Saturday's trip to Mackay Stadium has much bigger implications.

Boise will look to remain one of only five unbeaten teams in the nation and stay in contention for a BCS bowl berth. The Broncos likely would need one of the higher ranked teams -- particularly Cal or Texas -- to lose as well, but there is an outside scenario that has them surpassing Cal in the BCS standings.

Who: Boise State (10) vs. Nevada
When: Sat., 7:45 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Where: Mackay Stadium, Reno, NV

Boise State's has a solid defense, but its offense is the story. Fueled by first-year starting quarterback Jared Zabransky, Boise boasts the nation's top scoring offense with an average of 48.9 points per game. Zabransky is a dual-threat, who can beat you with his arms or his legs. RB Lee Marks paces the ground game with 720 rushing yards, and WR T.J. Acree is Zabransky's favorite target with six touchdowns and 683 yards on 39 receptions.

Nevada hasn't beaten the Broncos since 1998, when the two teams were a part of the Big West Conference. In order to snap that streak and pull off what would be a devastating upset for Boise, coach Chris Ault's "Air Wolf" offense must be hitting on all cylinders. Nevada, which ranks 22nd nationally in passing offense, can use its spread attack to neutralize the Broncos' athletic advantage in this game.

If star RB Chance Kretschmer returns from injury (ankle) as expected, the Pack also have the balance necessary to keep the Boise State defense honest. The problem will be keeping the Broncos' offense out of the end zone, as the Pack rank 98th in the country in scoring defense, allowing 32.3 points per game.

Todd McShay

ESPN Senior Writer