Who holds the advantages between the #25 Fresno State Bulldogs and #22 Boise State Broncos
What team has the edge at each position.
Our staff picks the position edges
This Mountain West title game cannot get here fast enough. These two teams played a few weeks ago with Boise State winning by a score of 24-17. This also will be the fourth time in just over a year that the Broncos and Bulldogs will meet and the third time on the Blue Turf.
These teams are very familiar with each other and match up pretty well across the board — remember these teams are each making a repeat showing in the title game, so they are really good teams.
With the games to date being close, out entire staff decided was asked who had the edge at the major positions. It ended up being out of the 10 units Boise State took five, Freno State four and one was a push. Extremely close.
We asked one Boise State writer and one Fresno State writer to pen an explainer on their edges and also we gave one veto to counter what the entire staff said.
Quarterback: Boise State
The Broncos are led by the four-time all-conference signal-caller Brett Rypien. Rypien, also named the Mountain West Conference offensive player of the year has had a great year with 3580 yards at a 69 percent completion rate with 28 touchdowns against just 7 touchdowns. Rypien has shown that he can make all the throws and the senior team captain will have one more chance to lead his team onto the Blue Turf. -Raja
As a group, our writers gave this edge to Boise State. I’m going to argue they’re wrong and, on its face, that might seem controversial. Hear me out, though.
Let’s start with the fact that, whether you want to look back at the entire season or just Mountain West play, Marcus McMaryion owns the advantage over Brett Rypien in completion rate, yards per attempt, yards per completion, TD-to-INT ratio.
What about against teams who were actually competitive, you might ask? In five games apiece against teams with winning records, McMaryion owns all of those same advantages. And even if you decide to include opponents who finished .500 on the season (Wyoming, Minnesota, BYU), that only widens the gap between the two quarterbacks.
What about performance in the red zone? Take a wild guess.
What about the advanced statistics out there? By Passing S&P+, the Bulldogs rank 11th nationally while the Broncos are 23rd. They also own the advantage in passing marginal efficiency and explosiveness (the differences in actual Success Rate and IsoPPP against what’s expected based on the situation).
McMaryion also has the advantage of being a more proficient runner, too, averaging 5.4 yards per carry once you adjust for sacks. Oh, and he’s also scored seven times on the ground.
Eventually, you run out of “what abouts” and realize that suggesting McMaryion is ever-so-slightly better than Rypien is not so absurd. -Matt K
Running Back: Boise State
Alexander Mattison has been a monster the last few games, gaining 489 yards and 6 touchdowns in the last 3 games alone. Mattison had a particularly good game the last time the Broncos played the Broncos and paced the Broncos to victory in the second half. Mattison had 200 yards and 3 touchdowns last week against #22 Utah State to clinch the Mountain Division. -Raja
Wide Receivers: Push
Boise State: The sum are greater than the parts and while KeeSean Johnson is great for the Bulldogs, the Broncos have several options for Rypien to go to. The senior tandem of Sean Modster and AJ Richardson have combined for 1737 yards and 15 touchdowns while CT Thomas and Akilian Butler have also chipped in. John Hightower and Khalil Shakir have been injured the last few games but may return for this contest. -Raja
Fresno State: As a group, our writers saw this position as a push. It’s a fair stance to take, but KeeSean Johnson is clearly the best player in either group and his continued excellence as an obvious focal point of the offense should give Fresno State an advantage.
For starters, he did catch the go-ahead touchdown in last year’s win against Boise State at Bulldog Stadium. While he didn’t have quite the same impact in the championship game the following week, he did have a team-high twelve targets in that game and had eleven more in the rematch a few weeks ago, hauling in eight catches for 95 yards.
Jamire Jordan could also have a significant impact on the game, as well. His marginal explosiveness is higher than any Boise State receiver save for John Hightower, whose status for Saturday is up in the air. Furthermore, you can’t ignore Jordan Mims and Ronnie Rivers out of the backfield, either: They have a combined catch rate of 91.3% and average 12.2 yards per target. -Matt K