Boise State vs. UNLV: Game Preview, Kick Time, Livestream, Odds, Prediction

Boise State vs. UNLV: Game Preview, Kick Time, Livestream, Odds, Prediction

Boise State

Boise State vs. UNLV: Game Preview, Kick Time, Livestream, Odds, Prediction

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Broncos to Keep an Eye On

Here are some Boise State players to keep an eye on for this contest.

1) Hank Bachmeier, Freshman Quarterback
The straw that stirs the Boise State offense, Bachmeier has been terrific for the year.  Bachmeier has been criticized for holding onto the ball too long while looking to make a play and this has led to excessive hits that the freshman has taken.  It will be worth watching to see if Bachmeier and offensive coordinator Zak Hill have worked to improve the timing used to get the ball out of the young quarterback’s hands a few seconds earlier.

2) Andrew Van Buren, Sophomore Running Back
Boise State has utilized a running back by committee this season and Robert Mahone and George Holani have gotten the line shares of touches.  Van Buren has played meaningful snaps as well and has notched 15 carries and 3 catches for 72 total yards for the year. Van Buren has made some mistakes in his play (fumbles and missed blocks) and the bye week may have been a good opportunity for Van Buren to clean up his play a bit and earn more playing time. 

3) CT Thomas, Junior Wide Receiver
Thomas has been a superstar for the Bronco offense in 2019 and provided a nice safety outlet for Bachmeier.  Thomas has racked up 14 catches for 283 yards and 3 touchdowns for the year and this game versus UNLV will be an opportunity to continue to grow his rapport with Bachmeier and pad his stats some more.

4) Riley Whimpey, Junior Linebacker
With Noa out, the leadership role at the linebacker will fall squarely on the veteran Whimpey.  Whimpey who missed a big chunk of last season with his own ACL tear, will be depended on to lead the way on the field.  For the year, Whimpey has 23 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble.

5) Avery Williams, Junior Cornerback
The standout corner has played well in coverage and has been expected to line up against the opposing number 1 wide receivers all year long.  Williams has done well in that role and has played well in special teams where he has made his mark by blocking a kick earlier in the year. Williams is known for being a dynamite punt returner and has 30 yards on six returns this year, but this week may be an opportunity for Williams to break loose for a big return.

6) Joel Velazquez, Junior Punter
The Broncos own punting game has not been good so far with Velazquez averaging only a modest 36 yards on 14 attempts this year.  Velazquez had a particularly bad game versus Air Force which caused Head Coach Bryan Harsin to state that this position would be reevaluated.  Velazquez remains at top spot on the depth chart and this may be a redemption game for him.

Boise State Game Plan for Victory

Here are some keys for the Broncos to claim a victory in Las Vegas.

1) Win the Turnover battle
Boise State is a big time favorite on the road and the best way to get upset in this circumstance is to turn the ball over and give the opposition some momentum.  If Boise State can hang on to the ball and have meaningful long drives, it may become difficult for the Rebels to keep this game competitive. 

2) Protect the Quarterback
Hank Bachmeier has put up good numbers when he has time to throw the ball.  After a bye week to watch the film and tweak mechanics, the offensive line will hopefully be more in synch with the freshman quarterback.  In the last few years, Boise State has started off with poor performances from the offensive line before that unit slowly developed into one of the strongest in the conference.  The Broncos are hoping that trend continues once again.

2) Pressure the Opposing Quarterback
The Broncos are short on the depth chart at the linebacker position and the best way to negate that weakness is to get pressure on the Rebel quarterback from the front four defensive linemen.  Luckily for Boise State fans, the Broncos have one of the best in the country at that: Curtis Weaver. If Weaver and his buddies along the line can get pressure on Rogers, it will limit UNLV’s opportunity to get momentum in this contest.

Look Around the Country
Here are some matchups this weekend across the country that could impact the Broncos.

#18 Central Florida (-4.5) at Cincinnati
6 PM MT on Friday Night, ESPN
ESPN FPI Predictor: UCF to win 56%
Bronco Rooting Interest: Cincinnati
This is a battle between 2 of the stronger teams in the American Athletic Conference. Despite their loss, UCF is nipping on the heels of the Broncos in both the polls

#14 Iowa at #19 Michigan (-5)
10 AM MT, FOX
ESPN FPI Predictor: Michigan to win 62%
Bronco Rooting Interest: Michigan
Iowa is right above Boise State in the polls and Michigan is just a few spots below.  

#11 Texas (-11.5) at West Virginia
1:30 PM MT, ABC
ESPN FPI Predictor: Texas to win 76%
Bronco Rooting Interest: West Virginia
A Mountaineer victory will allow the Broncos to move up a spot in the rankings.

Memphis (-16.5) at UL Monroe
1:45 PM MT, ESPNU
ESPN FPI Predictor: Memphis to win 84%
Bronco Rooting Interest: UL Monroe
Memphis is one of the three Group of 5 schools undefeated outside of Boise State. Memphis is generating buzz and gaining votes in both polls.

Tulsa at #24 Southern Methodist (-13)
5:30 PM MT, ESPNU
ESPN FPI Predictor: SMU to win 82%
Bronco Rooting Interest: Tulsa
SMU, like Memphis, is undefeated.  The Mustangs have broken through and are now ranked in the polls.

California at #13 Oregon (-18)
6 PM MT, Fox
ESPN FPI Predictor: 93%
Bronco Rooting Interest: Cal
Similar to the Texas/West Virginia matchup, a Ducks loss will allow Boise State to move up in the rankings.

#15 Washington (-14.5) at Stanford
8:30 PM MT, ESPN
ESPN FPI Predictor: UW to win 78%
Bronco Rooting Interest: Stanford
Coach Pete and the Huskies hold the spot above Boise State in the AP rankings.

Prediction
You can never count any conference game a guaranteed win and that applies to this matchup versus UNLV.  However, this is a game Boise State should win.  

Coach Harsin has made comments to the local media this week in which he emphasized a need to start faster and increase the intensity in preparation; I think both of those bear fruit in this matchup.  The team is well-rested after the bye week and I expect a classic Bronco blow out in Vegas.

Look for Boise State to come out to an early lead and have clear control of the game by the third quarter.  Coach Harsin should be able to use the fourth quarter to try out some different options at the linebacker position and go deep in his roster. Broncos win big.

Boise State 48, UNLV 20

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