Colorado State Rams (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS) vs. Boise State Broncos (5-0 SU, 2-3 ATS)
College Football Week 7
Date/Time: Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 10:15PM EST
Where: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
TV: ESPN 2
by Scott, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CSU +31/BSU -31
Over/Under Total: 59
The Colorado State Rams come to Albertsons Stadium to face the Boise State Broncos in Mountain West Conference action on Saturday. Boise State has gotten off to a 5-0 mark and garnered a top-20 ranking as they try to rejoin the national scene this season. Last Friday, they gained revenge from an upset in 2015 with a 49-21 win over New Mexico. They hope to go to 3-0 in conference play this week, but will face a team that might be better than some are anticipating in the Colorado State Rams. On Saturday, the Rams were able to overcome a two-touchdown deficit to beat Utah State, 31-24. After two straight losses, getting back to .500 was big for CSU. They look to spring the huge upset this week.
Boise State opened up the season with a routine win over the Sun Belts Louisiana-Lafayette, 45-10. But they really showed their upside in games two and three where they beat Pac-12 schools Washington State and Oregon State. They were resourceful in a 21-10 win over Utah State, before getting the win and the cover in Albuquerque on Friday. It looks like this could be the best Boise bunch since the halcyon days of Kellen Moore and Chris Petersen. We should know more in the coming weeks.
Adding optimism to the Broncos cause is a high-flying offense, led by the aerial antics of Brett Rypien, who has quickly established himself as perhaps the top QB in the conference. Against New Mexico in a tough road spot, Rypien threw five TD passes on 391 yards passing. Performances like that will make the Broncos hard to contain, especially in this context against middling conference teams like Colorado State.
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Rypien, just like his uncle did with the Redskins, makes full use of a stocked cast of playmakers. Their top playmaker is running back Jeremy McNichols, who has run for 558 yards and 9 touchdowns, while also hauling in 216 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Rypien connects well with top receiver Thomas Sperbeck, who is already at 629 yards and 5 scores, with Cedric Wilson at 432 yards and 5 touchdowns. Against New Mexico, Rypien, McNichols, Sperbeck, and Wilson all had great games. This offense could be starting to really click and thats bad news for teams like Colorado State.
The Boise State defense did a lot better against New Mexico than last season, holding them to a respectable 21 points, and thats after building up a 49-7 lead. Most of New Mexicos production came after the point where the game was still in doubt. The defense showed some resistance against the run-heavy New Mexico offense, holding them to nothing in the air. Whats most striking about this defense beyond how they match up against different offensive elements is their ability to play clutch and tighten up as the situation gets more critical. That could help later and makes a defense a lot better than it looks on paper.
Normally when a team like Boise State takes on what seems like an unthreatening foe in Colorado State, you can think about a potential letdown. But Boise State, if we think back to their glory periods of the not-so-distant past, was never like that. With their schedule so light on quality opponents, they tend to give games like this more importance than what would otherwise be the case. They cant afford to go easy in games like this.
In their last game at Hughes Stadium on Homecoming Day, the Colorado St. Rams really delivered on Saturday. Early, they werent getting much right as Utah State had its way, getting off to a 24-10 halftime lead. It was a good sign to see the Rams respond to the urgency, seeing their season start to get away from them. A Utah State offense that was going up and down the field suddenly was being held to very little, while the Colorado St. offense ratcheted up the level of play.
The Rams wasted little time in the second half getting down to business. QB Collin Hill hit Michael Gallup for a 60-yard TD pass to narrow the gap to one score. Running back Izzy Matthews added the tying score, with running back Dalyn Dawkins adding 125 yards on the ground. Gallup was at 140 yards on the night receiving. Its a young team and mistakes will happen, but unlike in prior weeks, when the opportunities presented themselves to the Rams, they were able to capitalize. They showed a steadfast attitude and were able to stay the course, though it had its share of rocky passages. Freshman Colin Hill left the game with a knee injury that has unfortunately cost him the rest of the season, though replacement Nick Stevens is a former starter on this offense. Hopefully, he can take the good momentum from Saturday and keep it moving.
The Colorado State defense was able to follow suit. This season, they had been markedly non-opportunistic. On Saturday, we saw them taking advantage of mistakes. They were able to help the offense claim the momentum. And when the situation became more urgent, they stepped up. Any hopes of a late surge were snuffed out by a Kevin Davis interception. More of what we saw last week could have the Rams in better shape, as the offense really showed another dimension on Saturday.
This is not an easy call. Boise State appears to be the class of the MWC and will be tough at home with their offense and momentum. When you see Colorado State giving up 44 to Colorado and 38 to Wyoming, its not hard to picture Boise unleashing some major offensive artillery on this bunch. But if the Rams turned a corner, it could put this point spread in to a quandary. Im going to put some faith in the Rams to keep this from turning into a carnival of scoring for Boise St. Im taking the points.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Colorado State Rams.
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