OXFORD, Ohio - The Miami University football team has a tough task ahead of it this week, playing at Boise State Saturday in Idaho.
Kickoff is 4 p.m.
The Broncos enter the game winning their last 10 home openers and have not lost a game on the blue turf in September in more than a decade. Boise also boasts a 74-3 home record since 2000.
The RedHawks and Broncos have met only once before in 2009, a Boise State 48-0 victory at Bronco Stadium.
But while history says the Broncos are almost unbeatable at home, this year's Boise State squad isn't filled with the marquee names of the past. In fact, both teams are drastically different than they were three years ago.
Boise State (0-1) is unranked for the first time since Sept. 14, 2008 and is coming off a rare season-opening loss to Michigan State. The Spartans beat the Broncos, 17-13, at home two weeks ago Aug. 31.
Boise State, led by junior quarterback Joe Southwick, couldn't capitalize on scoring opportunities late in the game and the now 10th-ranked Spartans leaned on running back Le'Veon Bell, who rushed for 210 yards on 44 carries.
"It was a close score and it went all the way down to the fourth quarter," MU coach Don Treadwell said. "Boise is still a dominant team... (It was) two top-10 teams playing each other and that score indicates two top-10 teams playing together."
Boise State, statistically, was not very impressive, as it tallied 206 total yards of offense, while giving up 461 to the Spartans.
"They lost a number of starters, let's say it that way," Treadwell said.
But Miami (1-1) is not taking this year's BSU team lightly.
"They present more challenges than most teams across the country, not only because of the multiplicity that they have, but because they do it so well," Treadwell said. "They can be in any formation at any time and do a variety of things, where most teams you can kind of hone in and say, 'OK this is what they do well, let's see if we can stop this.' Not with Boise."
The Broncos will have had plenty of time to prepare for the RedHawks with 15 days since their Friday night opener. Boise State is 10-3 with 10 or more days to prepare, including season openers.
"It seems like it has been forever since we've played," Boise State coach Chris Peterson said. "It's not ideal for us. I think once you start, you want to go play and work out some kinks and see what you got. We're anxious to go play again for sure."
Miami, which is coming off a home-opening 30-14 victory over FCS opponent Southern Illinois University, will rely on senior quarterback Zac Dysert and a host of talented receivers.
Miami has favored the pass, especially early in games, and has thrown 89 times compared to 53 rushes so far this season.
In a perfect world, Treadwell would like to be balanced on offense, but with an inexperienced backfield and an injury-mired line, the team's pass-happy days will likely continue.
Freshman guard Brandyn Cook, who started Week 1 vs. Ohio State, is out indefinitely with a hand injury and guard Matt Kennedy, who sustained a leg injury, is a game-time decision. But the RedHawks could see senior starter JoJo Williams return this week, most likely at guard. Even with the mix-and-matched line, Miami has improved its protection this year, as it led the MAC in sacks allowed in 2011. The RedHawks have given up four sacks in two games this year.
"We got something going pretty decent there right now with (Brad) Bednar inside and the other guys filling in," Treadwell said.
Miami, however, has yet to put it all together. The RedHawks showed flashes of a great passing attack early on vs. the Buckeyes and they ran the ball effectively last week, but the defense has allowed an average of 437 yards per game.
We'll see if they can put it all together on the blue turf Saturday.
"The good news is some of our veteran players have been out there, so it won't be new to them and those are typically the guys you're anticipating on leading the charge," Treadwell said about playing at Bronco Stadium. "In my mind, it should be a fun thing."