San Diego State
Pick – Analysis
Everyone assumed Boise State would be in this Game ahead of the season, ranked as a Top 25 team. However, Air Force changed that a couple weeks ago with a big win in Boise. The Falcons take on San Diego State, who won the West division by Four Games. The Aztecs are a -4.5 point favorite (at 5 Dimes Sportsbook) playing at their home stadium.
These schools didn’t play in the regular season, but SDSU has had the leg up, winning the last five meetings and covering in them all. Led by a stout defense and power running Game, the Aztecs took last year’s Game 30-14 as Air Force had trouble doing much on offense.
Still, it’s been an impressive season for the Falcons, who lost starting quarterback Nate Romine in the second Game of the year. Karson Roberts stepped in, and while he isn’t a great passer, has run the triple-option with plenty of success. The problem for Roberts is that he has thrown six interceptions in the last two Games, which he can’t do here. Roberts has rushed for 591 yards and 9 TDs on the year, while Jacobi Owens leads the backfield with 853 yards and 6 TDs. One guy to watch out for is Timothy McVey, who came out of nowhere last Game and totaled five touchdowns with 262 total yards. Prior to that Game, he was rarely used. Expect Roberts to be forced into passing the ball a little more in this Game, just because they’ll probably be down. That means receivers Jalen Robinette and Garrett Brown could be looked at a little more.
Air Force’s issue is on the defensive end where they allowed 47 points to New Mexico last week. The Lobos ran for an incredible 377 yards and six touchdowns.
That should play right into the Aztecs’ hands, who ran through everyone in the Mountain West. After a slow start to the season, SDSU went undefeated in Conference play and is 7-0-1 ATS in its last eight Games overall (all MWC Games). In last week’s win over Nevada, the Aztecs rushed for 320 yards and Four touchdowns.
Donnell Pumphrey is the lead horse in the backfield, and truly no one has stopped him in the conference. Pumphrey has 1,464 yards and 16 TDs on the year and had at least 120 rushing yards in every MWC Game. Another spark is senior RB Chase Price, who is getting plenty of looks as well with 889 yards and 6 TDs on the year. The small issue for the Aztecs is that starting QB Maxwell Smith got hurt last week and he’ll likely miss the title Game. Inexperienced freshman Christian Chapman will get the start, but that may not matter in the end if they run over the Falcons.
again, the Aztecs have covered in six straight in this meeting and are 7-0-1 ATS in their last eight against the Mountain West. It also helps that this Game is at Qualcomm Stadium, home of the Aztecs.
Our Pick – San Diego State -4.5