Broncos to Watch
Brett Rypien, Senior-Quarterback (Team Captain/First Team All Conference, Offensive Player of the Year)
Rypien has broken most of the passing records in the Mountain West on his way to his 4th all-conference selection and was recognized as the conference’s offensive player of the year. Rypien has 3,580 yards for the year on a 69% passing completion rate with 28 touchdowns against 7 touchdowns in 2018. Rypien is the leader of a dynamic passing attack that the Broncos possesses.
Alexander Mattison, Junior-Running Back (First Team All Conference)
Mattison had a monster game against the Bulldogs earlier this year and willed the Broncos to victory in that contest. Mattison racked up 159 total yards and two touchdowns against Fresno State and has not slow down since, gaining an incredible 397 total yards and 4 touchdowns in the 2 games after facing the Bulldogs. The Broncos will hope that Mattison has another incredible performance in him, especially if the weather is cold and wet as expected.
Sean Modster, Senior-Wide Receiver (Second Team All Conference)
Modster has really stepped up this year and has become Rypien’s go to target. As the long season has wore on, the senior wideout has increased his production. Modster has 273 yards and 3 touchdowns in his last 3 games.
Jabril Frazier, Senior-Defensive End (Team Captain/First Team All Conference)
The leader of the defensive, Frazier is a force on the defensive line in his own right. Frazier has 26 tackles and 5.5 sacks for the year to go along with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. A key to a potential Bronco victory will be their ability to get pressure on McMaryion and that responsibility will fall upon Frazier and the rest of the defensive line.
Curtis Weaver, Sophomore-Hybrid Defensive End (First Team All Conference)
Technically Frazier’s backup, Weaver has become a star in his own right. Weaver leads the conference in sacks for the second straight year with 9.5. With 32 tackles and 14 of them coming for a loss, Weaver is a defensive weapon for the Broncos.
Tyler Horton, Senior-Cornerback (Team Captain/First Team All Conference)
Horton, a Fresno native, has been a shutdown corner for the Broncos for the last 4 years. Boise State will task the senior captain with trying to contain KeeSean Johnson, not an easy mission for any cornerback. Horton has recovered 4 fumbles and has an interception and has notched 3 defensive touchdowns for the year.
Avery Williams, Sophomore-Cornerback (All Conference Honorable Mention)
Horton’s wingman, Williams, has become a solid cover corner. With 2 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles, Williams can cause some trouble for the Bulldogs. Williams is also the primary return man for Boise State, a role that he has excelled in.
Mountain West Conference Final Standings
Scoreboard Watching: Memphis at #8 Central Florida, 1:30 PM Mountain Standard Time
The winner of the Mountain West Conference traditionally heads to the Las Vegas Bowl to face a member of the Pac 12 Conference. However, the highest ranked Group of 5 (which the Mountain West is a part of) champion is awarded a trip to the New Year’s Six Bowl games.
Currently, UCF is the highest ranked Go5 team but should they fall to Memphis, the winner of the Mountain West Championship game will head to the NY6, likely the Fiesta Bowl. While UCF is a 3 point favorite in this contest, their starting quarterback has been ruled out for the rest of the season after sustaining a gruesome leg injury during the last game of the season.
Raja: This should be a close game as the last three matchups between these teams have come down to the wire. While the teams and fan bases have some respect for each other, there is no love lost between the cities of Fresno and Boise. Rivalry games are tricky and it is hard to make predictions.
However, I will make a prediction and the smart prediction is picking the Boise State Broncos to win this contest and once again be crowned Mountain West Champions. The Broncos are too talented in their offensive and defensive lines and will physically beat the Bulldogs.
Fresno State has a solid defense but will not be able to get pressure with their front four and while KeeSean Johnson is a dangerous weapon, the Boise State defensive line will pressure Marcus McMaryion and harass him all game long. Expect Alexander Mattison to once again have a tremendous game and ice this one in the fourth quarter.
Boise State 38, Fresno State 27
Also listen to Mountain West Wire’s two podcasts talking about the title game. The first podcast is a ‘homer edition’ featuring a head to head matchup between a Boise State contributor (myself) and a Fresno State contributor while the second podcast is a standard game preview.