Boise State vs. Utah State: Game Day Essentials, TV Schedule, Live Stream, Prediction, More
The biggest game of the year is between Fresno State and Boise State.
Saturday Night Showdown on the Blue Turf, winner of the game goes to the Conference Championship Game
Disclaimer: While this article is a ‘neutral conference article’ on Mountain West Wire, I am a Boise State graduate.
The Mountain West and their fans could not hope for a game with more on the line than this matchup to finish the regular season. The #21st ranked Utah State Aggies visit the #23 ranked Boise State Broncos. The winner of this matchup will win the Mountain Division and host Fresno State in the Mountain West Championship game the following week.
The Broncos have dominated the Aggies for most of the 21st century, winning every matchup on the Blue Turf in Idaho. However, this is not the same Aggie team that the Broncos faced back in their Western Athletic Conference days.
In 2014, the 9-3 Aggies also faced the 9-2 Broncos on the last game of the season with a conference championship game on the line but fell short and watched the Broncos go on to win the Mountain West and earn a ticket to the Fiesta Bowl. In 2015, the Aggies got their revenge with a dominating 52-26 victory in Logan, Utah. The Broncos won back to back matchups in 2016 and 2017.
The Aggies would love nothing more than to spoil the Broncos Senior Night festivities with a big victory while Boise State will look to make a statement victory and move on to defend their Mountain West title. In a game with the division on the line and a possible big bowl game invite looming, expect both teams to come out fired up and an exciting match-up between two talented teams to take place.
Date: Saturday, November 24, 2018
Where: Boise, ID
When: 8:15 PM MST
Spread: Boise State -2.5
Weather: 38°F and partly cloudy with very slight chance of rain at kickoff
How to Watch: ESPN
Stream: SlingTV – Get a seven-day free trial
All Time Record: Boise State 17-5 Utah State
Last Meeting: Boise State victory 41-14, October 28, 2017 in Logan, UT
ESPN FPI Win Predictor: Boise State 59% win probability
Utah State, how they got here
The Aggies entered the season hoping that 2018 would be a rebound season. After going 6-7 in 2017, there was a buzz that an experienced Utah State under head coach Matt Wells would be a strong team. Wells, a former Utah State quarterback, and his Aggies have delivered on those expectations.
The Aggies opened the year at then ranked #11 Michigan State and led for most of the game before falling 38-31. Utah State responded by rattling off 10 straight victories including a road blowout of Brigham Young and several dominating victories over conference foes. The Aggies are coming off a tough matchup with Colorado State where they barely escaped with the win but all their attention will be on the Broncos as they look to seize their first Mountain Division title since 2013.
Boise State, how they got here
The Broncos also entered this season with much hype, opening the season ranked #22 in the AP Poll. Boise State started off hot as expected but stumbled to a 3-2 record after a loss to conference foe, San Diego State.
The Broncos would recover and rattle off 6 straight wins including a thrilling victory over then #23 ranked Fresno State and are coming off a dismantling of New Mexico on the road. Boise State and head coach Bryan Harsin, a former Boise State quarterback, has played many high stakes games in the past and will rely on their experience and talent to get them back to the conference title game.
Aggie Offense Update
The Utah State offense is good. Very good. In terms of total yards gained, the Aggie offensive machine ranks 9th in the country. With a balanced passing and rushing attack, quarterback Jordan Love leads a dangerous group. Love has 2,845 yards on a 66% completion percentage with 25 touchdowns against just 4 interceptions.
While not an accomplished runner, Love does have 6 touchdowns on the ground and is mobile in the pocket. The rushing attack is led by the two-headed monster of Darwin Thompson and Gerold Bright. Both are quite effective, Thompson has 890 yards on a 7.4 yards per carry average while Bright brings 777 yards and a 6.5 average to the table. Both backs have combined for 22 touchdowns for the year.
The Aggies biggest weapon in the passing game is Ron’Quavion Tarver who has 600 yards and 6 touchdowns for the season and is complemented by Jalen Greene, Aaren Vaughns and Dax Raymond. The offensive line has been a bright spot for the Aggies and has played well, keeping Love upright for most of the year. Utah State also has a good kicker, Dominik Eberle, and the Aggies have returned 3 touchdowns with their punt and kick return units.
Aggie Defense Update
The Aggies defense has also played well and is an opportunistic bunch. Utah State has tallied a conference leading 18 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries. The strength of Utah State’s defense is their linebackers, specifically David Woodwards and Tipa Gaeai, who have been able to get to the quarterback in blitz packages while also competent in dropping into coverage.
Aaron Wade and Jontrell Rocquemore are the Aggies secondary and have 3 interceptions apiece. In terms of total yards, Utah State comes in at 53rd in the country in total yards allowed and relies on turnovers and big plays to stop opposing offenses.