UCLA gets a virtual home game for its bowl game. The program is looking for its first postseason win of the Chip Kelly era when it faces Boise State (8-5) at SoFi Stadium on Saturday in the Starco Brands LA Bowl.

The Broncos are coming off a Mountain West championship, but they’ll be without their starting quarterback and down to their third-string guy at the position. The Bruins are dealing with departures and opt-outs of their own — and not just from the two-deep.

Kickoff from Inglewood is set for 4:30 p.m. PT on ABC. Here’s what to know about the game:

The MVP is gone

Since the Mountain West Championship Game, Boise State’s quarterback, Taylen Green, has entered the transfer portal and committed to play for Arkansas. Green left the program after serving as the starter for the better part of two seasons, winning the 2022 Mountain West Freshman of the Year award, and producing 3,794 yards through the air, 1,024 yards on the ground, and 44 total touchdowns.

The 6-foot-6 Green started the 2023 campaign slowly an eventually was forced into a quarterback rotation with redshirt freshman Maddux Madsen. From Oct. 7 through Nov. 11, Green threw no more than eight passes in a single game. But then Madsen went down with a season-ending injury, head coach Andy Avalos was fired, and Spencer Danielson turned back to green at the spot.

On Nov. 24, Green threw for 228 yards and scored two total touchdowns in a 27-19 win over Air Force. Then he was named MVP of the MWC title game after throwing for 226 yards, running for 90, and scoring four total touchdowns in a 44-20 win over UNLV.

With Madsen unavailable, Boise State will be trotting out someone UCLA has no film on this season. Punter James Ferguson-Reynolds and wide receiver Chase Penry are the only other Broncos on the roster to complete a pass during the 2023 campaign.

True freshman quarterback CJ Tiller could be in line to draw his first start. The 6-foot-2 Tiller was a 3-star pro-style passer who signed with the program in the 2023 class. Boise State’s only other options would be third-year sophomore Colt Fulton or true freshman walk-on Max Cutforth.

Expect a whole lot of Ashton Jeanty

Jeanty leads the nation in yards per game from scrimmage. He’s a significant threat as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, and has averaged 164.9 yards per game this season. He’s sixth nationally in rushing (114.7) and leads all FBS running backs in receiving (50.2 per game).

A 5-foot-9 beast, Jeanty ran for 821 yards at 5.3 a carry as a true freshman last fall. This season, he has six 100-yard rushing performances in 11 appearances. That includes a 205-yard, two-touchdown day on Sept. 22 against San Diego State and a 212-yard, three-touchdown day against Colorado State on Oct. 14.

He has 19 total touchdowns this season and four games with multiple scores. Against Memphis on Sept. 30, Jeanty scored two touchdowns on the ground and two more as a receiver.

Pro Football Focus has Jeanty as the second-best running back in the country this season. Only four FBS players have more yards after contact. Only three FBS players have forced more missed tackles. A bouncy athlete, he’ll go through you or over you/

With quarterback a massive question mark for Boise State and defensive absences aplenty for UCLA, expect a heavy dose of Jeanty. He’s a reliable ball-carrier and Boise should be looking to get the ball into his hands quickly and often.

The battle inside the 20

The Bruins have been prone to short-circuiting this season when they have the ball on offense, especially once they get into the red zone.

UCLA enters postseason play ranked 118th nationally in red zone touchdown rate, converting just 49.1% of its trips inside the opponent’s 20 into touchdowns. The Bruins are dead last among FBS teams in overall scoring percentage in the red zone, getting points on just 61.8% of their trips.

Contrast that with the Boise defense, which usually gives up six when it gets backed up. The Broncos are giving up a touchdown on 65% of opponent trips to the red zone. That’s 10th in the Mountain West and 101st nationally.

If UCLA can get to the red area, can it punch the ball in? That’ll depend on how well it can prevent the negative plays when the field shrinks.

Boise has the Mountain West’s most aggressive pass rush. They produced 36 sacks in 13 games — a per-game clip that ranks among the top 20 in the country. Defensive end Ahmed Hassanein was credited with 50 quarterback pressures this season — the sixth most of any Group of Five player. He has 16.5 tackles for loss on the season and 12.5 sacks.

With Dante Moore in the transfer portal and Ethan Garbers having battled injuries throughout the year, it’s imperative that UCLA keeps its quarterback upright and its offense moving forward.

This Boise defense can be scored on. The Bruins just need to keep it pushing.

Who replaces Latu?

UCLA will be without its Lombardi Award winner in edge rusher Laiatu Latu. Chip Kelly revealed earlier this week the star pass-rusher has opted out of the bowl game to prepare for the NFL. It is a significant blow to a UCLA defense that is missing pieces all over, and not just because of the production Latu provides. He’s a spark plug.

Starting defensive backs Kamari Ramsey and John Humphrey have hit the transfer portal. D’Anton Lynn has left his post as the team’s defensive coordinator to join Lincoln Riley’s staff at USC. And now the nation’s tackles for loss leader will be unavailable.

What caliber of defense will UCLA put on the field for the bowl game? How invested will everyone be?

UCLA isn’t exactly dealing with a unique issue — every program is dealing with portal departures — but the Bruins are also battling a wave of pessimism surrounding their head football coach. They showed up for the USC game and handed the Trojans a brutal loss. Then they snoozed through the Cal game a week later and got a brutal loss of their own.

I’m looking for the Murphy brothers, Gabriel and Grayson, to have big games. They’re outstanding players in their own right and have somewhat taken a backseat to Latu this season as far as the spotlight is concerned. Between them, they have 107 quarterback pressures this fall to rank fourth (Gabriel) and sixth (Grayson) among Pac-12 players.

A classic “who wants to be here” game

UCLA is disappointed in its season. The fanbase is disappointed in reports that coach Chip Kelly is being retained going forward. The Bruins have lost three of four heading into the game.

On the other side, Boise State has won four straight. After firing coach Andy Avalos on Nov. 12, the Broncos beat Utah State 45-10, they beat Air Force 27-19, and they walloped UNLV 44-20 in the conference title game.

A day after winning the Mountain West title, Boise State took the interim tag off Spencer Danielson and made him the permanent coach.

Watch the reaction from his team to that news:

Boise can make it consecutive bowl victories with a win.

UCLA can win its first bowl game since 2014.

We’ll see which side wants it more.