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2018

Boise State

College Football

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Boise State managed an 11-3 record last year, yet early losses to Washington State and Virginia kept the Broncos out of a better bowl. That’ll be the goal this year behind one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the country in Brett Rypien. Per usual, they’re expected to reach and win the MWC title (-170) with an undefeated season on the cards if all goes right. Boise’s over/under (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) opened at 10 wins and stayed that way throughout the summer.

If there was a problem for the Broncos last season, it was the inconsistent offense that only scored 23 points in the loss to Virginia. Rypien’s numbers dropped across the board as he passed less than the previous two seasons and only had 14 touchdowns. It’s a wonder if he can improve those numbers with his top receiver and tight end gone, although he has +20000 odds to win the Heisman. A.J. Richardson (494 yards) steps into the No. 1 role, but it’s likely others will have bigger roles from senior Sean Modster to sophomore Octavius Evans. The Broncos would also like to run the ball better than 3.9 yards per carry. That should be possible with four starters returning on the line along with running back Alexander Mattison, who rushed for 1,074 yards and 12 touchdowns. This offense had trouble with Fresno State, but blew past every other opponent in the second half of 2017 and that’s how 2018 figures to go.

The defense should be elite again and that’s reason to take the over for the Broncos. They lose their top playmaker, but return nine starters from a group that held opponents to 23 points per game. Maybe most impressive was the 38-28 win against Oregon in the bowl. Sure, they’ll have trouble replacing Leighton Vander Esch, the MWC player of the year, but 10 of their top 11 tacklers return. That includes everyone on the line, a senior linebacker and four in the secondary (4-2-5 scheme). David Moa, Jabril Frazier and Curtis Weaver form the best line in the Mountain West, while the secondary is just as good with corner Tyler Horton and safety Kekoa Nawahine. To go with that, everyone returns in special teams from the kicker and punter to return man Avery Williams.

Boise’s non-conference slate could be tricky, but it’s favored by double-digits at Troy and faces an OK State team trying to break in a new quarterback early in the season. If the Broncos can win those games, an undefeated season isn’t impossible, although they’ve always had trouble playing at Air Force. The problem, of course, is drawing the tougher teams out of the MWC West division, even if both San Diego State and Fresno travel to Boise. As long as the defense stays just as dominant, which it should, and Rypien keeps it rolling behind an experienced offensive line, then 10 wins should be the benchmark for this squad. The goal is a New Year’s Six bowl (+260), but that may require winning at OK State early in the season. 

 

2018 Boise State Broncos Football Schedule

Sept. 1 at Troy 

Sept. 8 vs. Connecticut

Sept. 15 at Oklahoma State

Sept. 29 at Wyoming

Oct. 6 vs. San Diego State

Oct. 13 at Nevada

Oct. 19 vs. Colorado State

Oct. 27 at Air Force

Nov. 3 vs. BYU

Nov. 9 vs. Fresno State

Nov. 16 at New Mexico

Nov. 24 vs. Utah State

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