Mountain West Championship Game: Boise State vs. Fresno State Preview, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction
Bulldogs looking for revenge
New faces in action in title game
Title Game:: Fresno State (8-4, 7-1 in MW) vs Boise State 9-3 (8-0 in MW)
Where: Albertsons Stadium; Boise, ID
Streaming: Fubo TV with a free trial
Radio: Fox Sports Am 1340: 670 KBOI
Series Record: 17-7 Boise State Leads
Odds – 3.0 – Boise
Two of the best collide for the Mountain West Championship
Just like many people predicted, these two talented programs met to crown the best of the Mountain West. This will be the second time these two teams meet each other this season. Boise State took the first matchup 40-20 but the Bulldogs were without two of their stars Jake Haener and Evan Williams. Now with both teams healthy, this could be one of the more exciting matchups this weekend.
Players to Watch:
The heart and soul of this team. Haener missed the first matchup between these two due to an ankle injury. Now he will get his shot at revenge from last year’s 40-14 defeat. Since that loss, Haener is 8-2 and the two losses came to a last-second defeat to Oregon State and to USC the game Haener went down. Since Haener returned this season he has thrown for over 300 yards in four out of the five games and has thrown 13 touchdowns and only two interceptions. If the Bulldogs are going to have any chance against Boise State it will start with Jake Haener.
The Second Team All-Conference Safety Evan Williams will get his first shot at Boise State this season due to a leg injury that kept him out the first game. Williams has 44 tackles in eight games this season which ranks 15th in the conference. The Bulldogs desperately missed Williams as Boise State ran for over 300 yards. Since Williams has returned to action the Bulldogs have only given one 100-yard rusher which came from UNLV. Fresno State has to find a way to contain Boise State’s rushing attack and will start with their defensive captain Evan Williams.
First Team All-Conference David Perales is another name to watch Saturday. The question going into this will be the availability of Perales who suffered an ankle injury during last Friday’s game against Wyoming. Perales leads the Bulldogs and the Mountain West in sacks with 10.5 and leads the team with 15 tackles for loss which ranks third in the Mountain West. Perales had 5 tackles and half a sack in the first meeting with Boise State. Perales will be much needed especially since the Bulldogs have struggled against running quarterbacks. The question will be can Perales give it a go?
Keys to Game:
WIn the Turnover game:
Can the Bulldogs create turnovers? In the first matchup, the Bulldogs had one takeaway but turned it over twice. The key in this one the Dogs will have Haener and Williams in this matchup. Boise State has a lethal running game as we saw in the first matchup but if the Dogs can create turnovers and control the tempo and control this game it will play into a huge favor for them. Both teams have dangerous offenses and both teams can put up points but this game could come down to which offense can’t take care of the ball. We saw it in the first game when Logan Fife threw an INT in the 4th and Boise State proceeded to take all momentum and put the game away. Fresno State has nine takeaways on the year. Can someone on the Bulldog’s defense make a play late in the game?
Jordan Mims/ Running Game
All the talk and eyes have been about the Bulldog’s passing game and Boise State’s rushing game. Jordan Mims could be the key to a Bulldog’s Victory. In the first game, Mims had 21 carries for 61 yards. Boise State has held its opponents to 83 rushing yards a game and is giving up only 17.7 ppg. The Bronco’s defense is legit and one of the best in the country. The Dogs have to get Mims going and balance out the offense. Fresno State has to avoid being a one dimensional offense and keep the Broncos defense guessing. A fun stat Fresno State is 3-0 in conference play when Mims rush’s over 100 yards. Kirby Moore has to get creative and Remigio, Cropper, and Malik Sherrod all involved in the run game.
This is going to be a very physical game. It’s simple: can the Bulldogs O-line protect Haener enough and can the Bulldogs D-Line create enough pressure and get to Taylen Green? Whatever team can control the Line of scrimmage will have the upper hand in this game.
You can’t ask for a better rivalry. Battle of the Milk Can Trophy and the Mountain West Championship. Fresno State Bulldogs Vs Boise State Broncos. Two fan bases that don’t like each other. Two offenses that are electric. This game is going to be back and forth and very much could come down to the final possession as it has the last two times these programs met each other in the Mountain West Championship game. The difference in this one will be Jake Haener to Jalen Cropper game winning drive.
Bulldogs 34, Boise State 31