The Boise State Broncos lost an average of one game per year over the past five seasons, but the prolific program has already suffered its first defeat of 2013.
Chris Petersen's bunch will take on Fresno State in what should be another demanding road trip, which marks the second one of the season thus far. The season-opening 38-6 loss at Washington was followed by the Broncos' dismantling two clearly inferior opponents at home.
The Bulldogs have had an impressive, unblemished start to the year and are receiving a lot of votes for the AP's Top 25; the only unranked team with more is Michigan State.
Here is a closer look at this showdown between two Mountain West teams at an early crossroads, either of which could make a strong case to be considered in the nation's elite 25 with a victory on Friday.
When: Friday, Sept. 20, 9 p.m. ET
Where: Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, Calif.
Watch: ESPN and WatchESPN
Betting Line: Fresno State (-3), per Bovada
Boise State Injuries
- Travis Sexton, LB (knee): Out for Season
- Jonathan Brown, LB (knee): Expected to Be Out for 6 Weeks
Fresno State Injuries
- Rodney Mathews, S (knee): Questionable
Note: Injury information is courtesy of SportsNetwork.com via USA Today.
Top Storyline: Can Bulldogs Stop 7-Game Slide?
The Broncos have owned this rivalry, which has allowed them to hold the coveted Milk Can trophy for quite some time.
Fresno State has a reasonable chance, being at home, and the high-powered offense triggered by Derek Carr should give the Boise State defense some problems. Carr started things off with a bang, throwing five touchdowns en route to an overtime victory over Rutgers in the opener.
ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit seems rather confident that Carr and Co. can get the job done at home:
There is little question that Carr gives the Bulldogs a prohibitive advantage at the most important position over his counterpart, Boise State's Joe Southwick.
Which head-to-head disadvantage will be more glaring?
The ease with which Washington's Keith Price threw on the Broncos in Week 1 should translate to another letdown from the Boise State defense against another quality signal-caller.
Fresno State's primary focus must be on slowing down Broncos sophomore running back Jay Ajayi, who ran for four touchdowns in last week's win over Air Force. If that can be done, Southwick will be put in the uncomfortable position of having to win the game for Boise.
Even though Fresno has shown a leaky defense, it should do just enough to minimize the damage big Broncos receivers Matt Miller and Geraldo Boldewijn do, allowing the Bulldogs to win a relative shootout.
Score: Fresno State 35, Boise State 31