They won’t be playing on the Smurf Turf of Albertsons Stadium, but Boise State probably isn’t complaining about its postseason destination.
The 20th-ranked Broncos (11-2, 7-1 Mountain West) return to Glendale, Ariz., for their 3rd Fiesta Bowl to face No. 10 Arizona (10-3, 7-2 Pac-12).
Boise is 2-0 in the Fiesta. In 2010, the Broncos scored late to beat TCU 17-10 and finish an undefeated season. In 2007, they gave us this finish to beat Oklahoma in a thrilling 43-42 game.
Rich Rodriguez is 2-0 in his first 2 postseasons with the Wildcats.
First-year head coach Bryan Harsin has Boise riding an 8-game winning streak.
Wednesday, 4 p.m. Eastern
University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Arizona
Announcers: Sean McDonough (play-by-play), Chris Spielman (analysis), Todd McShay (sidelines)
Arizona (-3.5). Line provided by bovada.lv
Last Year’s Fiesta Bowl:
Oregon 35, Kansas State 17
Boise State Highlights
If you haven’t seen Arizona LB Scooby Wright III play yet, be sure to catch this game. The tackling machine, who can also get after the quarterback, will be focused on containing Boise running back Jay Ajayi, the nation’s 6th-leading rusher.
Boise QB Grant Hedrick leads the FBS in completion percentage at 70.9, but when he plays poorly, Boise loses. In the Broncos’ 2 losses (vs. Ole Miss and Air Force), Hedrick threw 4 interceptions in each. He’s thrown 13 on the season. Arizona, though, ranks 102nd in pass efficiency defense and has allowed 27 air TDs – not very frightening.
His counterpart, freshman Anu Solomon, got off to a blazing start – 25 TD passes in the first 9 games. But he faded down the stretch, throwing just 2 in the final 4 games while also seeing his completion percentage plummet. Expect Rich Rod to take the pressure off his first-year player by employing a heavy dose of Nick Wilson. Another freshman, he ran for 1,582 yards and 15 scores.
‘Zona has won some big games this year (Oregon, Utah and Arizona State). Boise has not, losing its only game vs. a Top 25 team (the opener vs. Ole Miss). In fact, the Broncos haven’t beaten a Top 25 team since the 2011 season-opener.
But it doesn’t matter. Because Boise is back in the Fiesta Bowl. And Glendale is where the Broncos make the magic happen.