This Saturday, October 12, the Boise State Broncos travel to Logan, Utah to take on the Utah State Aggies. This will be the Broncos third conference game and hope to come away with a win and a 2 and 1 record in conference, 4 and 2 overall. This will mark the first meeting between the two as members of the Mountain West conference. This will mark the 18th meeting between the two and a 13 and 4 overall record where Boise State has dominated. During their time together in the Western Athletic Conference, Boise State won by an average of 35 points against the Utah State Aggies.
Unfortunately for the Aggies, this game could turn out to be very much the same. A week ago, we would be calling this a potential nail biter; however, two key players were lost for the Aggies this past week, starting quarterback Chuckie Keeton and starting back Joe Hill, the biggest loss being Keeton. He is a big time star and team leader for the Aggies. Prior to the injury, torn ACL and MCL in last week’s loss to BYU, he had thrown 18 touchdowns, second in the nation, to only two interceptions. He was also 11th in the nation in completion percentage. During last week’s game against BYU, junior Craig Harrison finished the game. The Aggies coach, Matt Wells stated both Harrison and true freshman Darell Garretson will compete for the start. For Garretson to start, he will have to burn his redshirt. Either way, the Aggies may have a very difficult time pointing points on the board.
Boise State comes into this game with a couple injuries of their own, running back Aaron Baltazar and safety Ebo Makinde. Baltazar paired up with starting back Jay Ajayi as one of the best, if not the best backfield tandem in the conference. Baltazar was the team’s second leading rusher with 234 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 4.7 yards per carry average. Jack Fields, 91 yards and 3.4 yards per carry, will step in as Baltazar’s replacement behind Ajayi. Makinde was a big contributor on special teams and the backup safety.
Boise State rolled in their previous game against Southern Miss, defeating the Golden Eagles 60 – 7. The offense of the Broncos is rolling and the defense seems to be on the rise again. The Broncos are averaging over 42 points a game and that includes the six they managed against the Washington Huskies in week one. This Broncos offense is certainly not that same offense we saw shut out of the end zone in that game. Utah State is averaging an impressive 36 points per game, but without the starting running back and quarterback, will they be able to muster points against a Broncos defense starting to play much better? The Aggies defense will be severely tested as well. They allow an average of 19.3 per game, 26th in the country, but haven’t faced an offense quite as explosive as the Broncos either.
It’s widely believed the winner of this game will be the front runner to the division title and a spot in the first ever Mountain West championship on December 7 with the location determined by the highest BCS ranking of the two division champs. My prediction, Boise State 45 – Utah State 20.
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