Boise State vs. Arizona: 5 Things You Need To Know For Fiesta Bowl

By Alex Drude

Boise State vs. Arizona: 5 Things You Need To Know For Fiesta Bowl

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl Trophy
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Neither Boise State nor Arizona were picked to be in Glendale when the season started. But both teams deserve to play in the New Year’s Six, even though this game is now on Dec. 31. Here are five things to keep in mind aside from the start time.

5. Common Opponent: Nevada Wolfpack

Nevada Wolf Pack wide receiver Jerico Richardson (84) celebrates with receiver Richy Turner (2) after scoring a touchdown on a fumble recovery during a game against UNLV at Sam Boyd Stadium. Nevada won the game 40-27.
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

5. Common Opponent: Nevada Wolfpack

Nevada Wolf Pack wide receiver Jerico Richardson (84) celebrates with receiver Richy Turner (2) after scoring a touchdown on a fumble recovery during a game against UNLV at Sam Boyd Stadium. Nevada won the game 40-27.
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Both teams played and beat the Wolfpack this season, the only mutual opponent. Arizona managed to sneak past Nevada in game three, 35-28. Boise State won a month later by five in another offensive showcase, 51-46. Nevada finished 7-5 and is headed to the New Orleans Bowl.

4. Broncos Last Lost in September

Boise State Broncos running back Jay Ajayi (27) fumbles the ball in the third quarter against the Air Force Falcons at Falcon Stadium. The Falcons defeated the Broncos 28-14.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

4. Broncos Last Lost in September

Boise State Broncos running back Jay Ajayi (27) fumbles the ball in the third quarter against the Air Force Falcons at Falcon Stadium. The Falcons defeated the Broncos 28-14.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

A week before beating Nevada, BSU lost to Air Force in a game that featured seven Bronco fumbles, two from leading rusher Jay Ajayi. It was BSU’s worst Mountain West Conference loss ever (joined in 2011). The Nevada game was the only game since that BSU has won by fewer than nine points.

3. BSU RB Jay Ajayi Is a Beast

Boise State Broncos running back Jay Ajayi (27) scores a touchdown in front of Wyoming Cowboys cornerback Robert Priester (35) during the first quarter at War Memorial Stadium.
Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

3. BSU RB Jay Ajayi Is a Beast

Boise State Broncos running back Jay Ajayi (27) scores a touchdown in front of Wyoming Cowboys cornerback Robert Priester (35) during the first quarter at War Memorial Stadium.
Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

The Air Force debacle aside, Ajayi is the straw that stirs the Bronco drink. He's fourth in the nation with 1,689 yards rushing, better than the Pac-12, SEC, ACC or Big 12. He's also second with 25 rushing TDs (Wisco’s Melvin Gordon has 26), second-most in MWC history.

2. Arizona LB Scooby Wright Is Arguably a Bigger Beast

Arizona Wildcats linebacker Scooby Wright III (33) against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the 88th annual territorial cup at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats defeated the Sun Devils 42-35 to win the Pac-12 south title.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2. Arizona LB Scooby Wright Is Arguably a Bigger Beast

Arizona Wildcats linebacker Scooby Wright III (33) against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the 88th annual territorial cup at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats defeated the Sun Devils 42-35 to win the Pac-12 south title.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Bronco Nagurski Award winner for outstanding defensive player, Wright is at least fifth in the nation in the following categories: total tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and forced fumbles. He’s the only player in the country in at least the top 25 in those categories. Wright against Ajayi is the matchup to watch.

1. Boise State’s 2 Best Wins In Program History Happened at Fiesta Bowl

36th Annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Boise State v Oklahoma
Getty Images

1. Boise State’s 2 Best Wins In Program History Happened at Fiesta Bowl

36th Annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Boise State v Oklahoma
Getty Images

The Statue of Liberty two-point conversion for a 43-42 win over Oklahoma in 2007 is one of the top plays ever. The 17-10 win over TCU in 2010 made BSU just the second team to finish 14-0 and was the only BCS non-title game with two unbeatens.

Alex Drude is a Pac-12 writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alex_Drude. “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google+.

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