New Mexico Lobos (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) vs. Boise State Broncos (1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS)
College Football Week 3
Date/Time: Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 8PM EST
Where: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
by Scott, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UNM +16.5/BSU -16.5
Over/Under Total: 58.5
In Mountain West action on Thursday, the New Mexico Lobos come into Idaho to take on the Boise State Broncos at Albertsons Stadium. Neither team had a good time of it on Saturday. New Mexico saw a furious comeback fall short on a two-point conversion, as they lost to New Mexico State, 30-28. Thats nothing compared to the misery Boise State must be feeling after squandering a 31-10 fourth-quarter lead to Washington State on Saturday, losing in triple overtime, 47-44. They now face a tough turnaround and well see if they can get it together in time for New Mexico.
It would be bad enough if Boise just lost normally in Saturdays late game, then had to play the first game of the week 3 schedule. But to lose a triple overtime war when the other teams backup QB leads the opponent back from a 3-touchdown deficit is just an incredibly bitter pill to swallow. In the 4th quarter, Washington States highly-touted quarterback Luke Falk went down to injury. It was looking like an absolute nightmare for the Cougars, who were unraveling in front of everyones eyes. For that to have somehow turned into a loss is the kind of defeat that can send a teams whole season sideways. It was as improbable and painful a loss as can be in week two of a season. It would be interesting to see what the real-time odds were when Falk went down with a 21-point deficit and Boise in control, but it had to be gargantuan.
The Broncos had some issues of their own. Boise State quarterback and third-year starter Brett Rypien went down with an injury, but the team had already been working in dual-threat QB Montell Cozart and the team had been responding well under Cozarts stewardship. And while the offense could have made a play late, its hard to pin the loss on them, with how badly the defense collapsed with an assist from special teams. In fact, the offense looked pretty good for most of the game. Having a viable option in Cozart also helps in the event that Rypien is slow to return.
Cozart gives the Boise offense another ground-game option to go along with running back Alexander Mattison. There is a lot of production to make up for with Jeremy McNichols gone. And after losing some key pieces in their receiving crew, it was good to see Cedrick Wilson embrace the role of number-one receiver with a 147 and two scoring grabs on Saturday. The offense also performed decently in OT, but not good enough to make up for a spiraling defense. All in all, this side of the ball put Boise in a position to win as double-digit underdogs. The other side of the ball couldnt cooperate.
The depressing part of the defensive collapse for the Broncos on Saturday was that they had been doing so well for over three quarters, with the high-powered Cougars offense managing just ten points. Luke Falks numbers were terrible. Durrant Miles and Tyler Horton had registered picks, while Curtis Weaver returned a Falk fumble for a touchdown. But by the time it was said and done, they allowed over 400 yards through the air and folded like hot laundry when one big play in the final half of the fourth probably would have sealed it. Collapses are one thing. They happen. But seldom to you see a team have an opponent as demoralized as Boise had the Cougars on Saturday and still manage to blow it.
The Broncos collapse almost makes New Mexicos loss look like small potatoes. Make no mistake, however, as being down 30-5 in the fourth quarter and coming all the way back only to fall short with a 2-point conversion is painful. Head coach Bob Davie has done a lot to get this team back on the right track, taking a Lobos program that could barely buy a win into a program that won 9 games last season. One of Davies big moments was when as 31-point favorites; they beat the Broncos at home by a TD in 2015. Last season, Boise beat one of only three spreads it covered all season with a four-touchdown win over the Lobos.
A big part of New Mexicos recent success is their defense. This season, theyve been erratic, especially early in their first two games. Their stoutness late almost helped get the team the unlikely comeback win last week. There isnt a ton of returning pieces to what was a solid 2016 group. The line has some spunk and freshman Rhashaun Epting has helped a second level that includes experienced Garrett Hughes. Elijah Lilly and Bijon Parker have looked good in the secondary, but at times they made the New Mexico St. offense look good and with the difficulty ramping up this week, were going to see if the youth on this side of the ball is up to the task.
Its unclear what the Lobos are doing at QB moving forward. Lamar Jordan has been starting for three seasons, but after a rough start that included two interceptions, the Lobos turned to Tekava Tuioti. He struggled at times, but was able to get this offense moving in a big way, especially late. With this offense, the QB is more a runner than a passer at times, but Tuioti showed a good arm. They lack some of last years punch at running back when they were ranked tops in all of college football in rushing yardage. Maybe their offense will eventually find balance, but to win this game or to even cover, theyre going to need to do damage on the ground with the option attack.
Again, this is a tough comeback spot for the Boise St. Broncos. To lose the last game on the schedule in triple overtime in excruciating fashion, only to have to play the first game on next weeks schedule creates a potential trouble-spot. The question is whether or not a New Mexico team that seems to have regressed can take advantage. Though both teams lost in week two, New Mexico was flying at the end of the game, while Boise literally died on the field at the end of their triple overtime battle. And I see Mexico being just gritty enough to notch the cover.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the New Mexico Lobos plus 16.5 points. Bet your pick for this game using your credit card at an online bookie where it WILL work for deposits and where you’ll receive a generous 100% signup bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $250! (Example: Deposit $250 and they’ll give you an extra $250 FREE!) Find this great offer at Bovada Sportsbook.