The Boise State Broncos and BYU Cougars experienced close and stressful season openers. How will these teams react to what are very different kinds of situations on Saturday night in Provo, Utah?
The Boise State outlook has to be one of concern after the offense got shut out in the second half at home last Friday. The Broncos could not push the ball down the field in the passing game. New quarterback Ryan Finley struggled, and so did his teammates, who clearly need to spend more time together as they adjust to the new season. Boise State’s defense, though, is a rock, and the Broncos are going to stay competitive in just about every game they play because that defensive line is so solid. It won’t allow lots of chunk plays for opposing offenses.
BYU managed to create the most improbable and magical ending to any college football game from the first week of the season. The Cougars trailed Nebraska by one point and were driving in the final seconds. They had hoped to complete a pass near the Nebraska 33-yard line, but it went incomplete. With time left for only one play, BYU had to throw a Hail Mary. Quarterback Tanner Mangum, replacing starter Taysom Hill, heaved the ball to the goal line where it was caught for a spectacular touchdown, one which left Nebraska players and fans stunned. BYU has a lot of momentum to ride heading into this game, without a doubt.
Boise State is favored by three points in some places, but for most outlets, the line is minus-2.5 points for the Broncos. The line is this small because Boise State looked really bad on offense in the second half of its game last Friday night against Washington. The Broncos started off well enough, but when they made mistakes, they allowed those miscues to get them off balance and distinctly rattled. Quarterback Ryan Finley was making his first start of the season, with all the pressure thrust upon his shoulders. This might be a game in which he cleans up his errors, but it’s a road game in a stadium that gets very loud. Even though BYU will be playing with its backup quarterback, Boise State’s not much of a college football betting odds favorite precisely because the open did not serve as cause for favorably evaluating the Broncos’ offense.
The Broncos do not have any notable injuries at this time.
BYU starting quarterback Taysom Hill is out for the season, to be replaced by Tanner Mangum. Tight end Colby Jorgensen is also out for the season. Defensive lineman Travis Tuiloma, a key part of the front four, is out four to six weeks. Defensive lineman Isaiah Nacua is questionable. Linebacker Sione Takitaki is out indefinitely. Tight end Steven Richards is out for the season. Running back Jamaal Williams was declared out for the season a month before it started, at the beginning of camp.
Handicapping The Game
The struggles of Boise State, balanced against the fact that BYU will be throwing a backup quarterback into the starting lineup, make this game very hard to call. If Boise State can just avoid turnovers, though, it should have a good chance with its defense being able to shut down BYU. Lets add Broncos to our college football picks.
College Football Pick: Boise State -2.5 at Pinnacle