(24) Boise State (0-0) at (13) Michigan State (0-0)
August 31, 2012Eastern Indiana Sports
Friday, August 31, 8:00 p.m. (et)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, Associate College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: The first game of the 2012 season to feature a pair of nationally- ranked programs, Friday night spotlights the first-ever meeting between the 24th-ranked Boise State Broncos and the 13th-ranked Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing.
For the fourth straight season the Broncos, a member of the Mountain West Conference, are clashing with a nationally-ranked school to kick off the schedule. For head coach Chris Petersen, now entering his seventh season with the program, he has been victorious in each of his previous six openers. Last year, BSU took care of 19th-ranked Georgia in Atlanta, 35-21, beginning a run of eight straight wins for the Broncos.
However Boise State, which had previously been linked to the Western Athletic Conference, had a hard fight against TCU in the second week of November and ended up losing by a score of 36-35 as the kicking game failed the program for the second straight year in a crucial outing.
The Broncos picked up three more wins during the regular season, finishing 11-1 overall and 6-1 in league play, but because of the loss to the Horned Frogs the team had to settle for a meeting with Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl. That clash resulted in a resounding 56-24 victory for BSU and senior quarterback Kellen Moore who left the program as the winningest quarterback in Football Bowl Subdivision history with a staggering 50 wins.
Meanwhile, the Spartans are taking on a ranked opponent in the season opener for the first time since 1998 when they bowed to Colorado State (23-16). Since then the team has rattled off 11 wins in 13 tries in its opener, including a perfect 11-0 mark at Spartan Stadium. However, overall the Spartans are just 2-5-1 when they kick off the season against a ranked opponent.
Head coach Mark Dantonio is entering his seventh year with the Spartans after being the head man at Cincinnati for three seasons. Dantonio led the program to a pair of four-game win streaks in 2011 and had the squad an impressive 10-2 heading into the regular-season finale against Wisconsin at home. Unfortunately, the Badgers got the best of MSU in a narrow 42-39 decision which left the Spartans 7-2 in Big Ten Conference action.
The Spartans were invited to take on Georgia in the Outback Bowl and went toe- to-toe with the Bulldogs before winning in triple-overtime, 33-30.
Both of these teams have major changes on offense, specifically at quarterback where they are each fielding a new starter after last season. In the case of the Broncos, they are trying to find an adequate replacement for Moore who thrived in the system installed by coach Petersen.