Boise State Broncos (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Toledo Rockets (1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, College Football Week 3, Friday, September 16, 2011, Glass Bowl, Toledo, Ohio, TV: ESPN
By Scotty L, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BSU -18.5/TOL +18.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
On Friday evening, the Boise State Broncos travel to Ohio to meet the Toledo Rockets. Boise State opened its season with an impressive win/cover over Georgia on week one. After a nearly-two week break, they return to continue what many feel will be another special year for the Broncos. Over the last several years, we have become accustomed to Boise State meeting apparently-overmatched teams like Toledo. The Rockets, however, look to be a better squad this season and should be tough at home.
Last season, Toledo was 8-5 and made it to a bowl game. They still got thumped by the better teams, including a 57-14 blowout at the hands of Boise State. A look at the spread this week indicates the prevailing feeling that they have improved. In week one, they beat New Hampshire resoundingly. Last week, however, they really surprised some people by holding Ohio State close in a narrow 27-22 defeat. They held the lead twice during the game and held the Buckeyes to only one second-half touchdown. It was the closest game Ohio State had with an inner-state rival in many years.
By the end of the season, Ohio State might prove to not be that good, which could throw a different light on that game. Nevertheless, Toledo seems headed in the right direction. Quarterback Austin Dantin has been efficient, going 29-47 with 4 touchdowns and zero picks. RB Adonis Thomas has been racking up good yardage on the ground, in addition to catching 10 balls. WR Eric Page (17-205-3) has been Dantins favorite target. There are some guns on this team. But their defense has been particularly excellent. Giving up only 14 to New Hampshire is not a dependable watermark, but watching them keep Ohio State in check strongly suggests this might be one of the better Toledo teams of recent memory.
They will need all the help they can get against the high-powered Boise State attack. They certainly looked the part of a national championship contender in manhandling Georgia on the road 2 weeks ago. The Broncos fell behind early then never relinquished control once they snatched it back from the Bulldogs. Any thoughts of the 4th-ranked Boise State taking a step back after losing some key guys on offense were quickly put to bed, as QB Kellen Moore ran roughshod over a good team.
Moore was his typical efficient self, going 28-34. Most impressive is that he sprayed the ball around to nine different receivers, seven of which caught at least two passes. Doug Martin struggled on the ground, but figures to have an easier time this week against the less-robust Toledo front line.
The Boise State defense might be the Broncos saving grace this year. They were clutch against a Georgia offenseallowing only 21 points (including a meaningless late TD) to a team that put up 42 the following week against South Carolina. It is an experienced squad that plays with poise and confidence. Whether Toledo can duplicate their performance against Ohio State, even at home, is problematic. Simply put, Boise State looks a lot better than Ohio State this season.
Sometimes you can expect teams to have a letdown, especially when playing opponents who they blew out by 43 points less than a year ago. But Boise State has managed to steer clear of that for the past few seasons. They usually put forth a high-effort showing, even when you think you have the supposed letdown perfectly timed. A lot of money has been lost over the past few seasons by bettors expecting a Boise State phone-in job. It doesnt happen very often.
Scotty Ls Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Toledo is not a team you want to disregard. At the same time, they did lose to this same team by 43 just 11 months ago. Now Boise State only needs to win by 19. Kellen Moore threw 3 touchdowns against the Rockets in that game, with Doug Martin averaging 7 yards a carry. Toledo quarterback Dantin had trouble coping with this defense, throwing 2 picks and zero touchdowns. Look for more of the same. Toledo should be somewhat resolute at home and might hang in there for a bit. But look for Boise State to put enough second-half big plays together, enabling them to cruise to the finish line with another cover. Take Boise State minus 18.5 points.
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