BOISE — If Boise State football wants a shot at winning against Air Force, the Broncos defense will have to stop their run game.
“We have to be more physical, and not only at the beginning of the game, but throughout the whole game, we have to be physical, and if we are not physical, we are going to lose," said BSU middle linebacker Ezekiel Noa.
In the past six matchups between these two teams, their records are tied at 3-3.
If you look back at any of those games, there's one consistency, the physicality on the field.
“If you take a snapshot of what is going on in that box, it is about as physical and violent as you could ever see. It’s chaos in there,” said BSU defensive coordinator Jeff Schmedding.
But for the Broncos defense, stopping the Air Force run game is always a challenge.
“They really mix it up; I call it a mixed option team," said Schmedding. "They are going to run zone, they are going run true dives, sometimes there’s not a read, and then they're going to run the triple and then they’re going to run gap schemes as well, so you’re not just preparing for the standard dive quarterback pitches there's a lot more to it with Air Force.”
With the Air Force running an option offense, Boise State's defense has to get to the ball.
“We have got to get extra hats to the ball because they are not counting on them being there. That is 100 percent," said Schmedding. "They are trying to cut it down to one-on-one, and we have to win the one-on-one, but we have to get more of the population to the ball.”
However, the Broncos have won the past three matchups, and Schmedding attributes that to them playing good team defense and their tackling, something that will be a key factor in if they win or not.
“Tackling against Air Force, extremely extremely big. Again they are going to cut the numbers down at times on the perimeter or in that D-gap area, and that will be a one-on-one tackle, and if you are responsible for it, you got to make it," said Schmedding.
Another barrier the Broncos will face is the altitude difference in Colorado.
That is why the Air Force hangs signs near the opposing team's locker room that reads something like, "If you can't breathe, you could die," to scare their opponents.
“The altitude is higher than normal, so that’s a big deal, and then as far as just being in their stadium with the cadets that are there, it’s just different," said Noa.
The game kicks off Sat., at 4:02 p.m.