What a treat to start the season we get with this one. Two programs who are trying to replace quarterbacks that were the winningest signal callers in their respective programs history.
Today, we give a quick preview and what to keep your eye on in tonights match up between the Broncos of Boise State and the Spartans of Michigan State. Both teams combine for 23 victories a season ago along with winning their bowl games. MSU is looking to take the next step in to becoming one of the elite in college football. They’ll try to get back to Indianapolis and have a chance at making it to the Rose Bowl.
FRIDAY: No. 24 Boise State at No. 13 Michigan State (8 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Replacing Greatness: Both squads come in to the game replacing their starting quarterbacks from a season ago. Boise State will replace the winningest QB in school history in Kellen Moore, and Michigan State will move forward without three-year starter Kirk Cousins. The Spartans replace Cousins with junior Andrew Maxwell who will be throwing to a depleted receiving corps as B.J. Cunningham (1,306 yards, 12 td’s in 2011), Keshawn Martin and Keith Nichol have all departed. Boise State gives the reigns to Joe Southwick who has to replace one of the most decorated quarterbacks in all of college football.
Player to watch: MSU RB Le’Veon Bell. Bell has an opportunity to do something special this year. He’s a big, strong and powerful back that will run behind a solid offensive line. Many consider him to be a darkhorse in the Heisman race with his nimble and shifty running ability for his size. Larry Capers will also receive carries in the backfield designed as a change of pace back that will only help Bell.
What this game means for MSU: Michigan State has put together two eleven win season in a row under coach Mark Dantonio. They’ve been talking all offseason on how they want to take the next step and become a serious BCS contender. This is their chance against Boise State to show everyone just how serious the Spartans are about making the leap. MSU’s defense is one of the best in the country and will provide the Broncos with a difficult task to move the football.
Matchup to watch for: MSU’s offensive line vs. Boise State’s defensive line. The Broncos four starting defensive linemen from last season have departed, along with their top three linebackers. It’s going to be difficult for them to handle MSU’s offensive line and 250-pound Bell in the backfield. If MSU can expose Boise’s front four early, look for them to ride Bell most of the game to help break in Maxwell.
Will Wilson is a writer for Rant Sports covering College Football and the Big Ten Conference.