Brigham Young used a miracle ending to defeat Boise State last season and the Cougars are looking to post their fourth straight win of the current campaign when they visit the No. 14 Broncos on Thursday. Boise State was one defensive stop from taking last year’s encounter when BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum threw a 35-yard, fourth-down pass to Mitchell Juergens to give the Cougars a four-point lead with 45 seconds left and safety Kai Nacua added an interception return for a 35-24 victory.
The Broncos covet a victory over the Cougars to improve their odds of landing a Cotton Bowl bid as the top team from a non-power conference. Last season’s comeback by BYU furthered the growing rivalry between the schools located about 380 miles apart who are in the midst of a 12-game series that runs through 2023. “They are a tough opponent and we are going to have to play our best,” Cougars coach Kalani Sitake said at a press conference. “We look forward to playing our best and see if we can get it done up there.” Boise State senior receiver Thomas Sperbeck needs just 34 receiving yards to supplant Titus Young (3,063 from 2007-10) as the school’s all-time leader.
TV: 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN.
WEATHER: Fall is in the air. Partly coudly skies and temperatures in the low-50’s (dropping to the upper-40’s) will greet these two teams at Albertsons Stadium. Wind will not be a factor.
LINE HISTORY: Boise State opened the betting week as 7.5-point favorites. Early in the week the point spread wobbled between the opening number of -7.5 and -7 before dropping down to -6.5 on Thursday morning. The total opened at 57.5 and hasn’t moved since being released. View complete line history here.
Bringham Young – DL M. Taliauli (Ques Thurs, undisclosed), OL T. Shoaf (Ques Thurs, undisclosed), OL K. Johnson (Ques Thurs, academics), LB S. Takitaki (Ques Thurs, undisclosed), OL B. Wilcox (Ques Thurs, undisclosed), DB G. Jones (Ques Thurs, upper body), K J. Oldroyd (Ques Thurs, back), OL U. Lapuaho (Out Indefinitely, knee).
Boise State – WR C. Wilson (Ques Thurs, ankle), OL M. Hampton (Ques Thurs, undisclosed), S S. Seibold (Out For Season, knee), S E. Tyler (Out For Season, knee).
ABOUT BYU (4-3 SU, 5-2 ATS, 2-5 O/U): Senior quarterback Taysom Hill threw three touchdown passes in Friday’s 28-21 double-overtime victory over Mississippi State and has accounted for 13 touchdowns (nine passing, four rushing) this season. Senior running back Jamaal Williams (3,468) became the school’s all-time rushing list in the Mississippi State contest – surpassing Harvey Unga (3,455 from 2006-09) – and has rushed for 942 yards (second-most nationally) and 10 touchdowns this season. Nacua, a senior, is tied for the national lead with five interceptions and has 13 in his career while sophomore linebacker Francis Bernard (48 tackles) racked up a career-best 16 tackles against the Bulldogs.
ABOUT BOISE STATE (6-0 SU, 2-4 ATS, 2-4 O/U): Junior running back Jeremy McNichols carried 40 times for a career-best 217 yards – the second 200-yard game of his career – in Saturday’s 28-23 victory over Colorado State and has scored 14 touchdowns (11 rushing, three receiving). Sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien leads the Mountain West with 1,622 yards and 12 touchdown passes and has built a solid rapport with Sperbeck, who has 38 receptions (six for touchdowns) to go with a Mountain West-leading 701 receiving yards. Senior defensive end Sam McCaskill has emerged as a force and leads the Mountain West with 9.5 tackles for loss, and his five sacks are second on the team behind sophomore nose tackle David Moa (5.5).
* Cougars are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS loss.
* Broncos are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 home games.
* Over is 7-1 in Cougars last 8 vs. MWC.
* Under is 9-1 in Broncos last 10 home games.
* Cougars are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: 56 percent of side bets are on BYU to cover the spread as road underdogs with 60 percent of totals bets on the Over.