Fresno State vs. Boise State: Bold Predictions for the High-Scoring Affair
When: Saturday, October 13 at 1:30 p.m. MDT
Where: Bronco Stadium
TV: NBC Sports Network
This weekend, Fresno State will head over to the blue turf in Idaho to face Boise State in one of the most anticipated games of the weekend.
The two highly touted offenses square off in what looks to be an extremely high-scoring affair.
In the last six meetings between the two schools, the Broncos have come out victorious.
This year, Fresno State has all the necessary tools to surprise Boise State on its home field and end the Bulldogs' eight-year losing streak against ranked opponents.
However, playing in front of the Broncos fans in Boise is not easy. Since 1999, the Broncos are 84-3 at home. Granted, they are not the same team as they have been in previous years, but it’s still a tough place to play.
Will Fresno State live up to the hype on college football’s main stage and possibly sneak into the top 25?
I think so.
Here are some bold predictions for the Fresno State-Boise State matchup this weekend.
Over 180 All-Purpose Yards for Robbie Rouse
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Fresno State has the 14th-ranked passing attack in the nation.
You may be wondering why I started off my slide on Robbie Rouse with a passing stat.
It’s simple: Teams have to overcompensate so much for Rouse’s ground game that it opens up the passing game for Derek Carr. As the linebackers creep up to help stop the run, Carr is able to find receivers over the middle of the field with ease.
And why do they have to overcompensate for Rouse’s running game?
Because Rouse has become one of the elite running backs in college football over the past two years.
Through six games, Rouse is ninth in the nation with 711 rushing yards on 132 carries—5.4 yards per carry—and eight touchdowns.
The senior from San Diego, Calif. has carried the ball for over 100 yards every game this season except against San Diego State in Week 5. However, he did have seven catches for 65 yards in that game, which brings me to my next point.
Rouse has excellent hands for a running back. Rouse already has more receptions by Week 6 (33) than he had all last season and has seen his workload as a dual threat in the backfield increase each game.
Expect Rouse to be all over the field Saturday.
5 Total Turnovers in the Game.
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Saturday’s game features two of the highest scoring teams in college football. However, both defenses have been the story of the early part of the season.
Through six games, Fresno State leads all FBS schools with 18 turnovers on defense. The Bulldogs average three turnovers per game and have taken four interceptions back for touchdowns. They have also sacked opposing quarterbacks 20 times and forced six fumbles.
On the other hand, Boise State leads college football with 3.2 turnovers per game. The Broncos defense has 17 takeaways and has taken two interceptions back for touchdowns.
Regardless, neither team has been perfect at holding onto the football. Boise State has turned the ball over seven times this season while Fresno State has given up the ball eight times.
Though both teams' turnover margins are extremely impressive—2.00 for Boise State, 1.67 for Fresno State—against big-time defenses, they will cough the ball up.
Under 100 Yards Rushing for Boise State
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Fresno State has been equally as impressive against the run this season.
Only Oregon has had a 100-yard rusher against the Bulldogs so far, and in that game, Fresno State allowed two players to do it—Kenjon Barner (201 yards) and DeAnthony Thomas (102 yards).
This week, Fresno State matches up with the 78th-ranked rushing attack in college football.
While D.J. Harper hasn’t exactly had a subpar season thus far—427 rushing yards and five touchdowns—he will have difficulty finding the holes this week against the aggressive Bulldogs rush defense.
Fresno State Will Win
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The combination of a high-powered offense mixed with the ball hawks on defense will be too much for the Broncos to handle.
The Bulldogs will frustrate Broncos quarterback Joe Southwick and force turnovers early.
The turnovers will lead to points on the board, and the last thing the Broncos want is a shootout with one of the best offenses in the nation.
The best hope for Boise State will be to hold onto the ball on offense and stay on the field. If the Broncos can run the ball effectively with D.J. Harper and keep drives going, their chance of winning will improve dramatically, but I don’t see it happening.
Final score: Fresno State 35 Boise State 24
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