Johnny Teixeira | Friday night in Boise is the place to be for college football fans as the No. 9 ranked BYU travels north to face off against their undefeated rivals, the Boise State Broncos. Under normal circumstances, this matchup would be highly anticipated but add that this game serves as a gateway to a potential New Year’s Six bowl game, and the stakes get even higher. The Cougars and the Broncos boast undefeated records coming into Friday’s matchup, and with easy schedules on the horizon, this game proves to be the only roadblock on the path to an undefeated season.
Coming off seven straight winning weeks, BYU travels to Boise to face their toughest matchup yet in the Boise State Broncos. Though the numbers and the eye-test both back-up the legitimacy of BYU, this is the heat checks of all heat checks for the Cougars and Heisman contender, quarterback Zach Wilson. An offense that has boasted 530.9 yards per game so far is going to have to show up big time in Boise. This is crucial if they are going to establish themselves as a threat in college football.
Starting receivers Dax Milne and Gunner Romney will be essential for tomorrow’s matchup as Zach Wilson needs to get this offense rolling early and often. Trusting the Cougars’ defense is a challenging task, especially against the Broncos’ offense. However, early stops could lead to a snowball effect that sees Boise State stunned and unable to get anything going. This can only happen, however, if Zach Wilson plays a career game. This is easily the toughest game Wilson has played in so far. Since this game is on national television, he has to play phenomenal in order to cement himself as a Heisman contender. A loss will not only tarnish a NY6 bowl appearance for the Cougars, but will ultimately eliminate Wilson from Heisman contention. Coming out of Boise with a win will boost Zach Wilson’s national status, giving more people a reason to tune into BYU football to watch the Heisman contender go to work.
While BYU has seven winning weeks under their belt, Boise State comes into this game only two weeks into their season. Although they have been impressive so far in 2020 with wins against Utah State and Air Force, the Broncos are limping to Albertsons Stadium after an injury-riddled weekend against Air Force. Sophomore defensive end Demitri Washington is out for the year after suffering an ACL injury during the Broncos’ victory last week against Air Force. Also, starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier and starting safety JL Skinner both did not travel to Colorado Springs last week. Although Boise State’s starting QB is still up in the air for tomorrow’s matchup, JL Skinner will be ready to play. In Bachmeier’s absence, USC transfer Jack Sears stepped up to the occasion. He threw for 280 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Broncos to a victory over Air Force.
This goes to say that no matter who starts, Boise State’s offense is no joke. Another question mark heading into tomorrow’s game surrounds Boise State’s starting running back George Holani, who exited the game last week early on. It is still not confirmed if Holani will be available for the Broncos. Look for the Broncos to come out swinging against a BYU pass defense that has been lackluster so far this season, with early downfield targets to playmakers Khalil Shakir and CT Thomas. Big plays will win this game for Boise State as the Broncos cannot get complacent and give the ball to Heisman contender Zach Wilson without scoring any points of their own.
Vegas has the over-under on this game at 61 points. This is fitting for BYU and BSU offenses who have put up an average of 44.4 and 45.5 points per game, respectively. Expect this game to be just as high scoring as Vegas foresees with two powerhouse offenses going up against lackluster defensive backfields. BYU is favored by three points indicating that bettors believe this game will be closer than any game that either team has played so far this year. BYU is defeating opponents by an average score of 31 points over seven games while Boise State has beat opponents by an average of 24 points over two games. While both teams have shown no evidence of close games this season, fully expect this game to deviate from the norm and be a close thriller.
Featured image courtesy Vanquish the Foe