Boise State vs. UTEP: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction
The Broncos hit the road to west Texas for a battle with the Miners. Here’s how to watch and what to watch for.
Can the Broncos stay on track?
WEEK 4: Boise State Broncos (2-1) vs. UTEP Miners (1-3)
WHEN: Friday, September 23 — 8:00 PM MT/7:00 PM PT
WHERE: Sun Bowl; El Paso, TX
WEATHER: Mostly clear, low of 67 degrees
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes CBSSN, by following this link.
RADIO: The Boise State broadcast can be found on the affiliates of the Bronco Radio Network, including flagship 670 AM (KBOI) in Boise. The UTEP broadcast can be found in and around El Paso on 95.5 FM (KLAQ).
SERIES RECORD: Boise State leads the all-time series, 6-0. In the last meeting on September 10, 2021, the Broncos defeated the Miners, 54-13, in Boise.
LAST WEEK: Boise State defeated UT Martin at home, 30-7, while UTEP lost on the road to New Mexico, 27-10.
ODDS: Boise State -15.5
SP+ PROJECTION: Boise State by 20.3
FEI PROJECTION: Boise State by 26.2
PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: Boise State 93.76% win probability (31.08-9.89)
𝗢𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗼𝗮𝗱 𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘄𝗲𝗲𝗸 ✈️
🗓 Friday, September 23
⏰ 7 PM MT pic.twitter.com/7HwRtE1VGE
— Boise State Football (@BroncoSportsFB) September 19, 2022
Though they are operating on a short week, the Boise State Broncos look to extend their winning streak to three games by defeating the UTEP Miners on Friday night.
Dana Dimel’s Miners haven’t been quite as sharp as they were when they captured the national consciousness for a time last year, but the home crowd will be hyped for a chance to exact some revenge after last year’s lopsided result between these two teams. Here’s how the Broncos can mute that enthusiasm.
Three Keys to a Boise State Victory
1. Don’t let the Miners’ vertical passing game create breaks.
It hasn’t worked to the same extent as it did in 2021, but UTEP quarterback Gavin Hardison has still been charged with attacking down the field when the opportunity is there. Though his completion rate through four games is a meager 48.8%, he’s managed to create 14 plays of 20 or more yards through the air.
If that sounds like a dicey proposition against this Boise State defense, that’s probably because the Broncos have allowed a completion rate to date of… 48.8%. The team has also given up just eight pass plays of 20-plus yards, so this would seem to be an element of the game in the visitors’ favor.
2. Keep the ground game moving forward.
Other than getting overwhelmed against Oklahoma, UTEP’s defense has created its fair share of havoc to date with 26 tackles for loss against North Texas, New Mexico State, and New Mexico. The linebacker duo of Cal Wallerstedt and Tyrice Knight has been especially active in that regard, with nine TFLs between them, and Boise State’s offensive line hasn’t always looked that much better than the opponents listed above.
George Holani and Ashton Jeanty have managed 4.46 yards per carry on first downs so far, so the onus will be on that unit to keep the Broncos out of too many second-and-long and third-and-long situations.
3. Get it done in the red zone.
One thing that both teams have is common is that they have not been particularly good at finding the end zone: Boise State currently ranks 100th with 1.52 points per drive while UTEP is 112th with 1.3 PPD.
Much of that stems from red zone struggles, where the Miners have just three touchdowns in eight trips inside the 20 and the Broncos have just seven in 13 opportunities. It seems likely the defense will do its part since they’ve allowed just three red zone trips in three games, so another strong performance from Hank Bachmeier, who has actually been pretty good in such situations (10-of-12 passing, five touchdowns), could be the difference between winning going away and a closer-than-expected result.
Boise State’s offensive issues aren’t a secret, but they haven’t been as inefficient as UTEP has often been in this early part of the season. The Miners might connect on a few big plays, but the Broncos defense seems likely to carry the day in a workmanlike victory.
Boise State 30, UTEP 13