BYU Cougars (4-3 SU, 5-2 ATS) vs. No. 14 Boise State Broncos (6-0 SU, 2-4 ATS)
College Football Week 8
Date/Time: Thursday, October 20th, 10:15PM (EST)
Where: Albertsons Stadium Boise, Idaho
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BYU +8.5/BSU -8.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
On Thursday after the ACC takes center stage, there will be another interesting pairing in primetime when the 14th ranked Boise State Broncos defend the blue turf against the BYU Cougars at Albertsons Stadium. The Broncos remain among the unbeaten teams in the FBS which is down to just 11 teams and will look to keep that alive this Thursday as near double digit favorites over the Cougars. While BYU is just 4-3 SU on the season, they have started clicking with 3 straight wins including back to back wins over Michigan State and Mississippi State. Therefore, the Cougars have shown some promising upside in recent weeks and they will look to prove it again on Thursday.
Last week the Broncos just narrowly escaped an upset from Colorado State. Despite holding a 21-3 lead going into the 4th quarter, the Rams rallied only to be denied in a 28-23 outcome. Boise State entered that game with Colorado State by more than a 3 touchdown favorite and the result moved the Broncos to just 2-4 ATS on the season. Despite the 2-4 ATS mark, the Broncos have played well throughout the season. The offense has been great with a trio of star players leading the way consisting of quarterback Brett Rypien, running back Jeremy McNichols, and wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck.
McNichols has rushed for 775 yards and 11 touchdowns in the opening 6 games. Sperbeck has caught 38 passes for 701 yards and 6 scores through that same stretch. Meanwhile, Rypien has thrown for 1,622 yards with 12 scores and just 3 picks on the season. Therefore, the offense has plenty of talent to lean on as this season progresses and those key players are going to be tough for any opposing defense for the remainder of the year. If you consider the fact that BYU has not been very good on defense, it definitely opens up the possibility that Boise State could have a big offensive showing this Thursday.
Overall BYU ranks 67th in the FBS in total defense. However, the good news for the Cougars is that they have been pretty solid along the defensive front which is very important to how they matchup against this Boise State offense. BYU has given up just 131 yards per game on the ground which gives them a top 30 defense against the run. That stat alone is very important considering McNichols is coming off his 2nd game of more than 200 yards rushing last week. McNichols has consistently been the go to guy when the offense stalls. Luckily for BYU, they have shown the capability of preventing big plays in the running game which should help their cause.
Still for BYU to contend, they are going to have to find some big plays on offense. The major reason that Boise State is 2-4 ATS is because their defense has had some inconsistency woes. For BYU to catch Boise State in one of those lulls, the Cougars must be able to capitalize. BYU has a really great running back in Jamaal Williams who is already just 58 yards shy of the 1,000 yard mark on the season.
During these last few weeks that BYU has rattled off several impressive wins, Williams has produced more than 500 yards and 7 touchdowns in the last 3 games combined. Boise State has not been bad against the run holding opponents to 142 yards per game on the ground. However, I do not think they have faced a tailback as talented as Williams so it will be interesting to see how that matchup unveils. BYU quarterback Taysom Hill has struggled quite a bit with turnovers so they may have to lean on Williams quite heavily if that trend continues. I have not been very confident in Boise States defense this season and this should be a really good matchup to determine their true quality.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I am not convinced in the Broncos and think there time is running out to remain undefeated. BYU is peaking at the right time to deliver the upset blow. Take BYU +8.5
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