By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman
TOLEDO, Ohio — I’m posting matchups to watch on every game day. Here’s what I’ll be watching tonight when Boise State and Toledo meet at 6:05 p.m. MDT on ESPN.
Toledo WR Eric Page vs. Boise State’s defensive backs: Page gave the Broncos problems last year and usually delivers in big games. Boise State doesn’t like to adjust its defense to deal with slot receivers like Page, which could give him some matchup advantages. It would be interesting if Boise State does something like put cornerback Jerrell Gavins on him all night, but that’s unlikely.
Boise State’s run game vs. Toledo’s defense: The Broncos ran the ball effectively enough against Georgia, busting some big runs in the second half, but they’re searching for more consistency in this game. Tailback Doug Martin was bottled up by the Bulldogs and seems due for a big game. If the run game produces, that will set up the play action that Boise State likes to use to hit the deep ball — an element that was missing from the offense in the opener.
Boise State’s WRs vs. Toledo’s secondary: The secondary is one of the Rockets’ strengths, but they’ll start a freshman in place of senior Taikwon Paige. Look for Kellen Moore to attack Keith Suggs right away and find out how ready he is.
Special teams: I think this could be a fun part of the game with some explosive return men and question marks at kicker. Toledo has nothing to lose — so watch for a fake.
Some random notes:
— Toledo is hoping for a sellout tonight, which would be its first crowd of 26,000 since 2007.
— Twelve of Toledo’s 22 offensive and defensive starters are seniors.
— Toledo is 4-0 at home against ranked teams. Three of those wins came against MAC teams.
— Toledo has beaten a BCS-conference team in five straight seasons. Next chance: next week at Syracuse.
— Boise State is 8-3 vs. the MAC.
— Boise State kicker Dan Goodale was one of only nine freshman kickers to start season openers this year.
— Boise State is 31-3 in non-Saturday, regular-season games. The losses were to arguably the three most talented non-Boise State WAC teams of the past decade — Fresno State in 2005, Hawaii in 2007 and Nevada in 2010. Two of those losses were on extra-short weeks. The Broncos had a full week of preparation for Toledo because of a bye last week.