Posted: Tuesday December 20, 2005 5:04PM; Updated: Wednesday December 28, 2005 3:17PM
Bowl Breakdown: MPC Computers
Boise State (9-3) vs. No. 19 Boston College (8-3)
Dec. 28, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Broncos Stadium (30,000)
SI.com's Cory McCartney analyzes the matchup.
Breaking down Boise State
With a win over Boston College, Jared Zabransky and Boise State will improve to 4-0 in bowl games at home in Broncos Stadium.
Boise State is playing this bowl game at home, where it is nearly unstoppable on the Smurf Turf of Broncos Stadium. There, Boise State has won an NCAA-best 31 straight and has outscored opponents 282-100 in six home games this year. After back-to-back losses to Georgia and Oregon State to open the season, Boise State rebounded to win nine of its last 10, losing only to Fresno State.
Offensively, the Broncos are ranked 23rd nationally in scoring, averaging 37.3 points a game. They're 13th in rushing behind a stable of runners: LeeMarks leads the team with 735 yards on the ground, while Antwaun Carter and quarterback Jared Zabransky each have 10 rushing touchdowns. Zabransky conducts an equal-opportunity passing game in which 10 different players have at least one touchdown reception.
Breaking down Boston College
Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, who had 9 ½ sacks in 10 games, leads an Eagles' defense that's ninth in the nation in points allowed (15.5 per game), 18th in total defense (308.4 yards per game) and eighth in rush defense (95.2).
Since taking over as starting quarterback, sophomore Matt Ryan is 4-0 and has thrown for 1,258 yards and five touchdowns. He leads a balanced attack that's averaging 146.6 ypg on the ground and 241.5 in the air, and has scored 30 or more points five times. The Eagles' offensive line averages 316 pounds and has been dominant, allowing just 13 sacks, the second-fewest in the ACC.
This will be Dan Hawkins' final game before he takes over at Colorado, and if the Broncos are to send their coach out in style, it will be attributed to Zabransky. Boston College's dominating defensive front will bring the pressure, and Zabransky must show more mental toughness than he did in the debacle against Georgia. But at home, Boise State has shown that anything can and will happen.