Utah State vs. Boise State: Keys To An Aggies Win, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction

Utah State vs. Boise State: Keys To An Aggies Win, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction

The Aggies look to end the regular season on a high note against the Broncos. Here’s how to watch and what Utah State can do to win.

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Playing for pride on the blue.

WEEK 13: Utah State Aggies (6-5, 5-2 Mountain West) vs. Boise State Broncos (8-3, 7-0 MW)

WHEN: Friday, November 25 — 10:00 AM MT/9:00 AM PT

WHERE: Albertsons Stadium; Boise, ID

WEATHER: Mostly sunny, high of 45 degrees

TV: CBS

STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes CBS, by following this link.

RADIO: The Utah State broadcast can be found on the affiliates of the Aggie Sports Network, which includes flagship 1280 AM/97.5 FM (KZNS) out of Salt Lake City. The Boise State broadcast can be found on the affiliates of the Bronco Radio Network, including flagship 670 AM (KBOI) in Boise.

SERIES RECORD: Boise State leads the all-time series, 21-5. In the last meeting on September 25, 2021, the Broncos defeated the Aggies, 27-3, in Logan.

LAST WEEK: Utah State defeated San Jose State at home, 35-31, while Boise State defeated Wyoming on the road, 20-17.

WEBSITES: UtahStateAggies.com, the official Utah State athletics website | BroncoSports.com, the official Boise State athletics website

GAME NOTES (PDF): Utah State | Boise State

ODDS: Boise State -16.5

SP+ PROJECTION: Boise State by 19.4 (87% win probability)

FEI PROJECTION: Boise State by 15.5

PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: Boise State 81.67% win probability (32.01-19.55)

After wrapping up bowl eligibility for the tenth time in the last 12 seasons last week, the Utah State Aggies will head to Idaho to finish the regular season against the Boise State Broncos.

Both teams found different ways to rebound about disastrous non-conference results, but Andy Avalos’s men in blue found a way to clinch the Mountain division one last time and secure the homefield advantage for the conference championship game in December. Without much to play for, will the Broncos tap the breaks and preserve their stars for the bigger stage or should the Aggies be ready for a team that wants to stay sharp?

Here’s how the Aggies can spoil Boise State’s unbeaten run through the Mountain West in the season finale.

Three Keys to a Utah State Victory

1. Defend the run.

The Aggies have seen some modest improvement in this regard since entering Mountain West play, but the week-to-week performance has been inconsistent. In seven conference games, Utah State has given up 4.61 yards per carry, but they’ve held three opponents (UNLV, Colorado State, San Jose State) to 3.0 YPC or fewer and allowed more than 6.5 yards per carry to two others (Wyoming, Hawaii).

One way or another, Ephraim Banda’s unit is going to get a healthy dose of George Holani and Ashton Jeanty, who have averaged a combined 6.14 YPC in conference action on exactly 200 carries. The Broncos have excelled on that front since turning the offense’s reins over to quarterback Taylen Green, no matter how you slice it, ranking in the top twenty among FBS teams by opportunity rate, power success rate, and stuff rate allowed, so the Aggies will need to find ways to create havoc and keep the home team from running away with the result.

2. Avoid killer turnovers.

When ESPN’s Bill Connelly noted that Utah State had a 9% post-game win expectancy after last week’s game against San Jose State, one big reason for that low number revolves around the fact that it’s really hard to turn the ball over three times, force zero takeaways, and win a game. As a matter of fact, the Aggies were the first Mountain West team to turn that trick since 2018 (and it was only the 13th time in the conference’s history that has happened).

Suffice it to say, Utah State needs to find a way to take better care of the football because Boise State has been effective at making opponents pay for those kinds of mistakes. According to Brian Fremeau of BCFToys.com, the Broncos have averaged four points per drive on possessions that start less than 60 yards from the end zone, good enough to rank 33rd in the country, and much of this will fall on Cooper Legas and his 4.1% interception rate.

3. Get the ball to Brian Cobbs.

The Maryland transfer has been as good as advertised all season long and there’s little doubt that when the Aggies can put the ball in his hands, good things happen. He’s averaged 6.3 catches and 82.5 yards per game in Utah State’s six wins, including all three of his 100-yard performances, against just five receptions and 52.8 YPG in their five losses, which is something of which you can be certain Boise State is aware.

Prediction

The Aggies have done well to cobble together a quality campaign after their early trials, but Boise State isn’t likely to rest on its laurels after wrapping up the division title a week early. The Broncos will want to make sure they’re ready for a revitalized Fresno State in the championship game, so while protecting health is going to be important for both sides, the home team should get by with another win.

Boise State 24, Utah State 17

More Week 13!

Utah State Defies Odds, Crushes San Diego State in title game

Utah State Championship Week: Press Conference Recap

PODCAST: Week 13 Mountain West Football Recap

Story originally appeared on Mountain West Wire