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College football preview: Boise State Broncos vs Ole Miss Rebels

Bo Wallace in the pocket vs Georgia Tech
Bo Wallace in the pocket vs Georgia Tech
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Boise State Broncos travel across the country to take on the No. 18 Ole Miss Rebels On Thursday night. Although it is not a true home game for the Rebels, Boise State will be playing in the heart of SEC country at the Georgia Dome.

This a new regime under Broncos, with Chris Peterson moving onto Washington, but typically, this is the perfect atmosphere where Boise State has flourished in the recent past.

Ole Miss is 10 point favorite according to Sportsline.com, however, as a program, they haven’t been in this position very often. If the Texas A&M and South Carolina game is huge for the SEC East, this game is huge for the SEC as a whole conference.

Some pundits believe that Ole Miss has the right mix of talent and experience to win the SEC West. Well, if the winner of the SEC West lost to Boise State to open the season, there would be a chance that the SEC would be on the outside looking in of the college football playoffs.

Ole Miss

The Ole Miss offense is led by one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the SEC, Bo Wallace. The Ole Miss senior completed 64 percent of his passes as a junior and only threw 10 interceptions the entire season. He also has the ability to run the ball in the red zone. Wallace has 14 rushing touchdowns over the last two seasons.

Hugh Freeze is in the third year of implementing his offense and he has an assortment of weapons to utilize. He’s won 15 games in the first two seasons, but the talent within the program has continued to build. Double digit wins are possible, but the Rebels must start tonight.

Laquon Treadwell had 72 receptions as a freshman for Ole Miss. Treadwell has the ability to be the best receiver in the country, so it will be wise for Wallace to find his best target early and often. Even with all of that production, Treadwell only accounted for five touchdowns.

Earlier in the week, tight end Evan Engram said that he’s way more confident entering his second year than he was last year this time. Engram is a big time playmaker that will look to take advantage of Boise State in the middle.

Boise State

If all goes to plan for the Boise State Broncos, the headline will read, “different coach, same outcome” on Friday morning. New coach Bryan Harsin is ready to keep the Bronco program relevant on the national stage.

Grant Hedrick finally gets his chance to be the full time starting quarterback as a senior. He completed 69% of his passes last season, while throwing for 16 touchdowns and five interceptions. Make no mistake, Boise State has offensive prowess at the skill positions.

Jay Ajayi is a workhorse at running back that scored 18 touchdowns last season. He’s definitely a candidate to go over 1500 yards this season. If Ajayi becomes a force against a formidable Rebel defense, Boise State can hang in this game for the long haul.

The Boise State offensive line will have the unenviable task of taking on that Ole Miss front four that features Robert Nkemdiche.

The Verdict

Both teams come into the season with a lot to prove. They each finished the season with an (8-5) record, and hopes for the future look bright. The big question is, can Matt Miller dominate in the passing game for Boise State? If he’s able to make big plays, there will a classic to open the season.

Ole Miss 34
Boise State 31