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Boise State vs. Nevada

Betting Line: Boise St -13.5 o/u 68

11/26/10

One final major test stands before the Boise State Broncos and regular season perfection. That test is the 10-1 Nevada Wolfpack. If they pass the test they could be headed to the Rose Bowl or BCS Championship if things shake out their way. This game will be like the final boss of a video game for the Wolfpack who have only faltered once this year when they lost to Hawaii. Both of these teams are rock solid, but the edge obviously goes to the Broncos. Can Nevada parlay home field advantage and a rocket ship offense to a huge upset?

The Broncos were last seen making easy work of the Fresno State Bulldogs. Fresno entered the game a solid 6-3, but were smashed 51-0. They were child's play for Boise State playing on their trademark "smurf" turf. Kellen Moore was 27/38 for 333 yards, 4 TDs, and an INT. Star WRs Andre Pettis and Titus Young each caught a pair of TDs. Safeties Jason Robinson and George IIoka both recorded a single INT. The Bulldogs aren't the best team around, but they don't stink. Boise beat them emphatically and made a statement in the process. They want their shot at the BCS Title.

Nevada played Fresno State two weeks ago and narrowly escaped with the road victory, winning 35-34. Fresno State is a very tough place to play and that must be taken into consideration. RB Vai Taua saved the day by rushing for 89 yards and 3 very important TDs. QB Colin Kaepernick rushed for 2 TDs, and threw an INT. The Wolfpack was able to escape with a win despite having 28 fewer total yards and 5 less first downs. It's hard to argue with a 10-1 record, but Nevada doesn't own a signature win. The Broncos are going to be the toughest team they have played so far and by far.

HC Chris Peterson has lost just 4 times in his tenure as Boise State's leader. That is due in large part to their nasty defense. This year they own 40 sacks, 16 of them coming in the last 3 games. Their shut out of Fresno State was the third of the season. They are allowing a mere 211 total yards when on the road. Hawaii is the best offense they have met this year, and they allowed just 7 points in that game. The Wolfpack average 44.1 PPG which is 4th best in the nation. It will be interesting to see how the Broncos respond. If the past is any indication, they could have trouble Nevada scored 33 points against them in 2009. Taua and Kaepernick both had big games. 

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The Wolfpack defense has been far from stellar, giving up in excess of 430 yards 4 times this year. They are winning games by going score for score with their opponents. California was able to cut them up for 502 yards. Despite losing, they played well against Hawaii. They held the Warriors to 27 points and 346 yards. Stopping the potent Broncos offense that trashed Fresno State for 51 points will be no easy task. The Broncos have a big time passing game. It will be up to Nevada to try and stop star WRs Andre Pettis and Titus Young. If they can do that their chances of winning will sky rocket.

It's very clear who will win this game on paper, but games aren't played on paper. Nevada has put together a great 10-1 season behind two special players in Taua and Kaepernick. Every player on their team is going to give 100% as they seek to go out on a winning note in their final home game. On the flip side, Boise State is set to go undefeated for the second consecutive year if they can keep their play up. They want to play in the Rose Bowl or the BCS Title Game.

In a way, we hope Boise loses. It gets tiring every year to hear how Boise should be playing in the title game, etc. Folks, their schedule is a complete joke. They beat Virginia Tech, Oregon State, and then 8 jokes for the most part. We aren't saying they can't compete with the big boys. They can. Put them in the title game and they may even win. What we are saying is, throw them in the SEC, or another major conference and they would likely not be undefeated. Let them try getting up for Alabama one week, LSU the next, Florida after that, and so on. See how they deal with the high emotion, the injuries, etc.

Put another way, you can take quite a few college football teams in this country, and have them play the schedule Boise State has played, and they too, would be 10-0 at this point. Hey, Nevada, their opponent, has only lost once. No one mentions them in the same breath as "Rose Bowl", or National Title.

All that aside, the number on this game this week is Boise State -13.5, down from an opener of -15. Of all the Boise State games we handicapped this year, aside from Oregon State and Virginia Tech, this is the closest margin we have predicted, and yet, we still have them beating Nevada by 3 touchdowns. Boise has one thing Nevada doesn't. A defense. So we'll go ahead and lay the number here. When this game is over, let the chit chat begin. Boise's #1  : )

Boise State -13.5 Predicted Score: Boise State 41 Nevada 20

 

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