NCAAF Week 8: BYU Cougars @ Boise State Broncos
BYU Cougars @ Boise State Broncos -7 (-110)
Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
October 20, 2016, 7:15PM PDT
This is not just another week for the Broncos, in our estimation. In last year's matchup between these teams, Boise State held a three point lead with 45 ticks left on the clock when Cougars' QB, Tanner Mangum connected with receiver Mitchell Juergens in the end zone on a 35-yard Hail Mary pass. BYU won by four. We think the lingering taste of this upset will serve as added fuel Boise State's effort this evening.
The Broncos are fifth by yards per passing attempt, while BYU is 123rd by opponents' completion percentage and 16th by opponents' passing yards as a percentage of total yards. These numbers speak both to Boise State's aerial explosiveness as well as to BYU's vulnerability to the passing game. We look for Broncos QB, Brett Rypien, owner of the 17th best Passer Rating in college football, to find his favorite target, Thomas Sperbeck (who, not coincidentally, ranks 14th in receiving yards) early and often. Our sim work calls for over 300 yards through the air for Rypien, with a TD/INT ratio of about 2:1, and 100 yards and a touchdown for Sperbeck.
And though the Broncos defense is likewise pretty lax versus the pass, Boise State's advantage in offensive talent renders the Broncos more capable of exploiting the Cougars shortcomings than the other way around.
Further, while BYU's defense is decidedly more stout against the run than Boise State's, our sim work nonetheless expects Broncos' RB, Jeremy McNichols, to show up and show out Thursday. Look for McNichols to notch in excess of 100 yards on the ground, including a couple of rushing TDs.
In aggregate, our computer simulation work forecasts a final score of 22.5-32.7 Boise State. Back the home cover.