Since joining the Mountain West in 2011, the No. 25 Broncos (1-0, 1-0 MW) have consistently had tough battles with the Falcons. Boise State seems well-positioned to trade blows after a crisp 42-13 victory over Utah State to open the season. The Broncos dominated the Aggies from start to finish. They rolled up 450 total yards and 25 first downs while holding Utah State to 203 yards and forcing seven punts.
The Falcons (1-1, 0-1 MW) are on a bit of shaky ground after opening league play with a 17-6 loss to San Jose State. Air Force's running attack never really took off against the Spartans. The Falcons' fullbacks averaged just 4.3 yards per carry with three of Air Force's starting linemen sidelined for all or most of the game. Air Force reached the red zone on a single drive and came away with zero points on that drive after a goal-line stand by San Jose State.
Boise State leads Air Force 5-3 in the all-time series. The Broncos have notched three straight wins over the Falcons, matching a three-game winning streak for Air Force in the series from 2014 to 2016.
No. 25 Boise State at Air Force
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. ET
TV: CBS Sports Network
Spread: Boise State -14.0
When Boise State Has the Ball
Everything clicked for the Broncos against Utah State. Over 60 minutes, Boise State showed just how tough of a time opposing defenses will have slowing down this attack.
Hank Bachmeier helped the Broncos win their 19th straight home opener by throwing for 268 yards and three touchdowns. Khalil Shakir quickly emerged as Bachmeier's favorite target, piling up 123 yards and two touchdowns on only seven catches. Shakir also added 34 yards on three carries to showcase his all-around playmaking abilities. But he is far from a one-man wrecking crew. Boise State has plenty of depth at receiver that will keep Air Force from simply focusing on Shakir alone.
Once again, Boise State is strong in the backfield. George Holani opened his sophomore campaign in strong fashion, gaining 100 yards and scoring a touchdown on 14 carries a season ago. Holani is fresh off a 1,000-yard rushing season and looks to be right on track to dominate again and give the Broncos some important balance on offense.
When Air Force Has the Ball
The Falcons looked like world-beaters on offense in their season opener against Navy. It ended up being a much different story against San Jose State. The Spartans held Air Force to just 298 total yards and forced a pair of costly fumbles.
Punter CJ McNeal gained 19 yards on a fake punt, and that play ended up being the longest run of the game for Air Force. Losing tailback Kadin Remsberg to a collarbone injury, coupled with several sidelined offensive linemen, effectively short-circuited the Falcons' running attack. Remsberg tallied 1,050 rushing yards last season. Brad Roberts was already sidelined after running for 103 yards against Navy. Timothy Jackson came back to earth a bit, gaining only 60 yards against San Jose State after totaling 118 yards on 19 carries against Navy.
Haaziq Daniels will need to be more consistent at quarterback for the Falcons to have a chance of upsetting Boise State. Daniels only rushed for 25 yards on 13 carries against the Spartans. He did not fare much better on passing, throwing for 92 yards and a touchdown on 9-of-17 passing. Daniels has completed only 50 percent of his pass attempts through two games.
Air Force got exposed as a team with a one-dimensional offense against San Jose State. That's bad news going against a Boise State team that's formidable on both sides of the ball. The Broncos have won 10 straight games against Mountain West opponents and have not lost to Air Force since 2016. This does not feel like a year where the Falcons can keep up with the Broncos for four quarters.
Prediction: Boise State 31, Air Force 13
Podcast: Week 9 Preview and Predictions
— Written by John Coon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Coon has more than a decade of experience covering sports for different publications and outlets, including The Associated Press, Salt Lake Tribune, ESPN, Deseret News, MaxPreps, Yahoo! Sports, and many others. Follow him on Twitter @johncoonsports.