Check out the Mountain West Championship: Boise State vs. Fresno State fearless prediction and game preview.
Boise State (9-3) vs. Fresno State (9-3) Game Preview
Broadcast, TV, Game Time
Date: Saturday, December 2nd
Game Time: 7:45 pm ET
Venue: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
The two played their light scrimmage last week, but now this one matters.
Fresno State got hosed. They beat Boise State last week 28-17, but a few obviously-wrong computer formulas determined that Boise State deserved the home field advantage.
Great – now you made the Bulldogs mad.
But it doesn’t matter. This was a fired up team in the first place, doing a wonderful job of going from being one of the Mountain West’s doormats to fantastic in head coach Jeff Bedford’s first season.
The Bulldog O hasn’t always been sensational, but the defense has been dominant in key wins over San Diego State and Wyoming on the road, winning tight battle after tight battle.
But Boise State wants to take the Mountain West back.
Only three teams have won the four conference championship games – San Diego State, Fresno State and Boise State – but the Broncos have only played in one of them. Now is their chance to be the league’s biggest star again.
They blew it early, choking away the Washington State game and getting run over by Virginia, but they rolled through the Mountain West season before dealing with last week’s game that didn’t matter.
Fresno State won the first Mountain West title game in 2013, and got back to the championship in 2014, losing to Boise State.
And now they’re back.
This might not be for a New Year’s Six game, but now both teams will turn their big boy games on. This might get lost in the shuffle with the ACC and Big Ten championships going at the same time, but it’ll be worth paying attention to.
One Reason Why Fresno State Will Win
Of course, the Boise State defense got a look at the Fresno State quarterback last week, and of course it’ll make adjustments, but there weren’t any answers as last week went on.
The former Oregon State transfer was fantastic, throwing for 332 yards and two touchdowns as he keeps the offense moving against one of the Mountain West’s best defenses.
More than anything else, McMaryion has to keep the chains moving. He helped the Bulldogs convert 9-of-16 third down plays. He has to do that again, and then turn it over to the defense.
The Broncos were able to move the ball well, and they controlled the clock, but now – more than last week – Fresno State has to rely on the defense that leads the league in third down stops helped by a killer pass rush.
The formula has to continue. Dominated the time of possession, rely on the defense, and don’t lose the turnover margin. Do that, and the home field advantage is negated.
One Reason Why Boise State Will Win
Last week might have been an aberration.
Fresno State’s offense was great last week, and it’s not fair to say that Boise State didn’t bring it, but don’t expect that to happen again for the Bronco D.
There have been a few whiffs – Colorado State went off a few weeks ago in a 59-52 loss – but for the most part, the Bronco defense has been unbelievable over the last two months.
The Fresno State offensive line has been fantastic, and the offense moves the ball, but it has a hard time scoring. Now the Bronco defensive line will crank up the pass rush, the offense likely won’t be quite as vanilla, and the ground game will rely more on Alexander Mattison to be a workhorse.
This has been a different Boise State team at home against mediocre offenses, and it’ll show it. This is when the Bronco offense balance kicks in, and the defense looks a whole lot different than it did in Fresno. But …
What’s Going To Happen
The Fresno State defense is the absolute real deal.
The Bulldogs didn’t care about going on the road to face San Diego State, it didn’t have a problem stuffing Wyoming in a key game in Laramie, and it’s been fantastic at keeping the score low in Mountain West games.
But Boise State at home will match the Fresno State line play. QB Brett Rypien will be efficient enough to hit the key third down plays set up by decent runs from Mattison, and the defense will take care of the rest.
It’ll be a grind, and it won’t be scintillating, but Boise State won’t care.
Mountain West Championship: Boise State vs. Fresno State Prediction
Boise State 23, Fresno State 16
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