Boise State doesn’t have too many roadblocks to work around in the Mountain West but Friday’s visit to Utah State certainly qualifies as one for the No. 20 Broncos. Boise State is tied with Utah State and Air Force for the Mountain Division lead and the winner of this contest takes a large step toward landing a spot in the conference title game.
The Broncos may be without sophomore running back Jeremy McNichols, who suffered a head injury in last Saturday’s victory over Colorado State. McNichols has scored a nation-best 14 touchdowns through six games while rushing for a team-high 485 yards. Utah State sophomore quarterback Kent Myers starts for the third straight game in place of injured senior Chuckie Keeton (knee) as the Aggies attempt to win their 12th consecutive home game. “It’s going to be a major challenge for us, but one that I know we’re up for and one we’re excited about,” Utah State coach Matt Wells said in a press conference. “We haven’t beaten them yet since we have been in this league, but the fact that the winner is in the driver’s seat for the Mountain Division makes it a big game.”
TV: 9 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network.
LINE HISTORY: Books opened Boise State as a 9.5-point road fave. The total is up to 49.5 from the opening 47.
RB Jeremy McNichols (Questionable, head), CB Donte Deayon (Probable, undisclosed), OL Rees Odhiambo (Probable, undisclosed), QB Ryan Finley (Mid November, ankle), S Dylan Sumner-Gardner (Early November, ankle), Gabe Perez (Out for season, shoulder), DE Rondell McNair (Late October, knee).
QB Chuckie Keeton (Late October, knee), NT Travis Seefeldt (Out indefinitely, undisclosed).
WEATHER: Temperatures expected to be in the mid-60s under partly cloudy skies.
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Boise State RB Jeremy McNichols is listed as questionable due to a head injury, but the Broncos have relied more on their passing attack this season, throwing for 289 yards per game, while only rushing for 194 yards. When factoring in the strength of the opposing defenses, it is evident that Boise State’s passing game has been much stronger as the Broncos average 8.8 yards per pass (versus opponents that allow just 7.4 ypp), while Boise rushes for just 4.2 yards per carry (versus opponents that allow 5.0 ypr).” Covers Expert Steve Merril.
ABOUT BOISE STATE (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS, 2-4 O/U): The Broncos have outscored their opponents 204-24 during a four-game winning streak as freshman quarterback Brett Rypien has pumped life into the offense by completing 70.2 percent of his passes for 1,057 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception. Senior receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes has caught a team-best 35 passes and moved into third place on the school career receptions list with 205, one ahead of Titus Young (204 from 2007-10). Senior cornerback Donte Deayon and senior safety Darian Thompson are tied for the team lead with four interceptions and Thompson nabbed his 18th career interception last Saturday to surpass the Mountain West mark set by Utah’s Eric Weddle (2003-06).
ABOUT UTAH STATE (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS, 3-2 O/U): Myers is 7-1 as a starter, has completed 65.2 percent of his passes this season and is coming off an effort in which he passed for a career-high 260 yards in last Saturday’s 56-14 trouncing of Fresno State. Myers is also averaging nine yards per carry while racking up 180 rushing yards, third on the squad behind junior Devante Mays (259) and sophomore LaJuan Hunt (235). The Aggies have forced 10 turnovers (five fumbles, five interceptions) over their last three games and are led by junior inside linebacker Nick Vigil (team-high 52 tackles) and junior free safety Devin Centers (team-best two interceptions).
* Broncos are 7-0 ATS in their last seven meetings in Utah State.
* Broncos are 10-1-2 ATS in their last 13 meetings.
* Aggies are 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 Friday games.
* Under is 8-2 in Aggies last 10 vs. a team with a winning record.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Sixty-three percent of Covers users are backing the Broncos.
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