A little Mountain West College Football action on Saturday evening as the Utah State Aggies invade Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho to grapple with the Boise State Broncos in the first game of the year for both teams. Utah State went 7-6 last year while the Broncos had a strong season at 12-2. Boise State has won the last four games in this series, which includes a 56-21 road win a year ago. The Broncos were favored by just 3.5 points in that contest.
Aggies Look To Pull Early UpsetIt's not early for 75 other teams around the nation, but it would be an early upset for the Utah State Aggies as they are playing their first game of the year. I am particularly excited that the Mountain West Conference and the Pac-12 are starting their seasons this week and the next as I miss those Saturday night games that start around 10 or 11 pm ET. This will not be a late-starting game, but it is still nice to see this conference start playing their games. The Aggies went 7-6 last year, and they could have another winning season this time around. Utah State has eight starters back from an offense that averaged 29.2 ppg a year ago. One significant loss to the offense is QB Jordan Love, who was drafted in the first round by the Green Bay Packers.
Jason Shelley is a transfer from Utah, and he will take over for Lovee at the all-important start. He didn't play much last year, but in 2018, he played in nine games and threw for 1162 yards with five TDs and six INTs while also rushing for 192 yards and three TDs. The Aggies did lose their top receiver from a year ago, but the next two return and they also have their 2nd top RB returning. The offensive line will be a strength with all five starters back. The defense will need some work as the Aggies have just five starters back from a unit that allowed 30.7 ppg a year ago. That is not good news as they will be facing a Boise team that always scores plenty of points on their home field.
Broncos Are Looking For A Big StartThe Bosie State Broncos have some holes to fill from a team that went 12-2 last year as they have just 11 starters back. The Broncos won their 2nd MWC title in the previous three years with a 31-10 win over Hawaii. They then went on to get crushed by Washington in the Las Vegas Bowl by a score of 38-7. Boise State will look to erase the memory of that game, and they will be facing a team they beat 56-21 a year ago. The Broncos have just five starters back on offense, but one is quarterback Hank Bachmeier, who threw for 1879 yards with nine TDs and six INTs a year ago. Chase Cord is also back at QB after throwing for 670 yards with nine TDs and just three INTs. Bachmeier is slated to start, and we note that he did not start last year's win against the Aggies.
This week's Bronco Rewind, looking back at the 2015 opener against Washington, will be on @KBOI670 at 7 p.m.!— Boise State Football (@BroncoSportsFB) October 14, 2020
Hear @BsuBob chat with LB Kamalei Correa and RB @JeremyMcNichols about the win over UW!
📻 https://t.co/s5eskD36P7#BleedBlue pic.twitter.com/G9Og8q9jVM
Also, back for the Broncos is running back George Holani, who ran for 1014 yards and seven TDs a year ago. Their top three RBs return overall, but the offensive line could be a weakness as just one starter is back from that group. Boise does lose it's top WR from a season ago, but their next two pass catchers are back, including Khalil Shakir, who caught 63 passes for 872 yards and six TDs. The Broncos are mainly known as an offensive machine, but this team can also play defense as they have not allowed more than 23.3 ppg in each of their last five seasons. The defense allowed just 21.9 ppg last year and with six starters back, including four of their top five tacklers. They will be taking on an offense with some rebuilding to do, especially with a new QB.
Stats & Trends
Utah State is:
- 7-17 ATS in their last 24 games as an underdog
Trends Boise State is:
- 9-4-2 ATS in their last 15 conference games
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games
I will be taking the Broncos in this game. they had a very rough end to their season last year, so you can bet they have been itching to get back on the field here. They Beat the Aggies 56-21 on the road last year and that was when Utah State had Jordan Love. Now they have Jason Shelley, who didn't play much last year for the Utah Utes but he did back in 2018. Shelley was not great when he played and I don't see him doing much better in this one against a tough Boise State defense that has not allowed more than 23.3 ppg in their last five years. The Broncos will have a good offense once again and they will be facing a Utah state defense that has just five starters back. I can see the Broncos taking this one by at least 21 points.