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THE COLUMN: Virginia at Boise State Complete Preview

Bronco of Mendenhall vs. Broncos of Boise St


TIME: 8:00 PM (EST)

DATE: September 22nd, 2017

LOCATION: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID




by Paul Wiley

It turns out that the gap between hoping and expecting is just one little game. Three games into the 2017 season, Virginia is 2-1. That's about what everyone said we should expect. But after a blistering offensive performance against UConn, and a defense that has more consistently flexed its might in the early going, that third win—that's what was hoped for. And now it hurts a little more that it didn't happen.

The road to three doesn't get any easier this week. The first trek away from the friendly confines of Scott Stadium sends our Hoos to the Smurf Turf of Boise, where Bryan Harsin's Broncos will be waiting for UVA's Bronco. Things shape up much as they did against Indiana: pocket-passer starting QB, more scramble-oriented backup, a traditionally strong run game that's faltered, and a stout defense. But which Virginia team will we see? Mendenhall has stressed the need to come out hot and match Boise State's intensity. If the Hoos can answer the bell with fire and fury, some Friday night glory can be theirs for the taking.


Provided by Danny Neckel


Kurt Benkert
Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Kurt Benkert - QB

Whew. Ya boi Kurt Benkert threw for 455 yards against UConn, a school-record, and three touchdowns off a completed 30 of 40 passes. Albeit, this was against a weak UConn team, but fans have to be stoked for the excellent performance by Benkert. There is now no doubt that Benkert can sling it when he is comfortable. But, the real question is if he will be able to stay poised against better teams. This week is a true litmus test for Benkert’s ability.

Andre Levrone
Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

Andre Levrone - WR

Fourth-year Andre Levrone is stepping into the spotlight for Virginia’s receiving corps. He had a career day against UConn, with four receptions for 127 yards and one touchdown. Notably, this touchdown was a 73 yard connection from Benkert. Big plays are something that the Hoos will need going forward and, maybe, Levrone will be the player to provide them.

Brenton Nelson
Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Brenton Nelson - S

The redshirt freshman safety and former walk-on had a rock-solid performance at safety last week against UConn. Nelson had a crucial interception in the first quarter and also broke up two passes. Importantly, Nelson bolstered UVA’s defense by allowing Juan Thornhill to slide back to his natural cornerback position.

Montell Cozart
Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Montell Cozart - QB

Boise State’s usual starting quarterback is actually Brett Rypien. Fun fact: his first ever college start was against UVA in 2015, where the Broncos torched the Cavaliers 56-14. Rypien, however, went down with an apparent head injury during their week 2 matchup against Washington State. Montell Cozart has filled Rypien spot admirably and posted three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) against New Mexico last week. Boise State coach Bryan Harsin has yet to name a starter for Friday’s matchup though so it still could be Rypien whose name is called upon.

Jake Roh
Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Roh - TE

Roh caught caught two touchdowns and rushed for one against New Mexico last week. Pretty solid day. Interestingly, the Senior only caught three touchdowns total prior to last week. Roh had an injury plagued 2016 campaign but, when healthy, obviously has potential for the Broncos’ offense.

Cedrick Wilson
Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Cedrick Wilson - WR

The Senior was a stud for the Broncos last year, posting 1129 receiving yards and eleven touchdowns. He already has 276 receiving yards and two touchdowns on the year and will be often targeted this Friday. Chances are that he will be matched up with Juan Thornhill.




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