No. 22 Boise State’s goal vs. FCS foe: No close call

Field Level Media

September 11, 2019 at 1:16 am.

Boise State coach Bryan Harsin isn’t impressed with his team’s six-point average margin of victory through two games.

Harsin is hoping for a much larger spread on Saturday when the No. 22 Broncos host FCS program Portland State on the famed blue turf.

Boise State (2-0) rallied for a 36-31 road win over Florida State in its opener and then struggled at home against Marshall before posting a 14-7 victory last Friday.

“I don’t think anybody’s happy with the performances that we’ve had,” Harsin said during a press conference. “I don’t think anybody’s sitting here saying, ‘Hey, that’s what it is. We’ve got it figured out.’ By no means is that the case.

“Our standards are much higher. We have higher expectations of ourselves, and this week it needs to start.”

Boise State’s defense carried the load in the win over Marshall, holding the Thundering Herd to zero second-half yards on 14 plays.

The offense is receiving stellar contributions from true freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier but is squandering scoring opportunities. Boise State has fumbled eight times (losing three) and has just four touchdowns in 12 red-zone possessions.

“We can move the ball up and down the field, but who wants to be the great team between the 20-yard lines? Not us,” Harsin said. “We’ve got to find a way to score.”

Bachmeier has passed for 689 yards and two touchdowns and thrown two interceptions. He opened eyes with a 407-yard outing in his college debut against Florida State.

He isn’t the only true freshman producing in impressive fashion. George Holani rushed for 103 yards on 22 carries against Marshall and has 173 yards through two games.

The Boise State defense has pitched back-to-back second-half shutouts and is led by junior pass rusher Curtis Weaver, who had his second sack of the season against Marshall to move into a tie for fourth place in school history with Shawn Anderson (22.5 from 1988-91).

Solving the Broncos’ defense will be a challenge for Portland State (1-1), which will be playing its second major-college program in three weeks.

The Vikings put up a valiant fight before dropping a 20-13 road contest against Arkansas in their opener, and they followed up by steamrolling Division II Simon Fraser 70-7.

Portland State was in the game to the end against the Razorbacks before dropping to 4-39 all-time against FBS programs. Then it had its way against Simon Fraser by accumulating 646 yards and allowing just 113.

The points scored were its most since a 77-10 win over Idaho State in 2012. Meanwhile, the defense racked up a whopping 20 tackles for loss — including eight sacks. Freshman safety David Joseph recovered a fumble for a touchdown, senior defensive tackle Kenton Bartlett had three sacks and freshman safety Greg Oliver had an interception.

“The defense is playing well right now,” Vikings coach Bruce Barnum said after the contest. “They are flowing to the ball. It looks like one swarm of bees. That is fun to watch.”

Junior quarterback Davis Alexander is completing 60.9 percent of his passes for 373 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Sophomore receiver Davis Koetter — son of Dirk, who coached Boise State from 1998-2000 and is currently the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons — has two of the team’s four touchdown receptions.

The Broncos are 6-1 all-time against Portland State. The Vikings’ win came in 1992 (51-26 in Boise) when they were a Division II program and Boise State was I-AA.