Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#197 Oklahoma State vs.
#198 Boise State
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 9:00pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

It’s a non-conference matchup between the Big 12 and one of the best non-Power Five programs in the nation, from the Mountain West, on the gridiron in the Gem State. The Oklahoma State Cowboys are on the road as they make the trip to face the Boise State Broncos Saturday night. Oklahoma State comes in off a 28-23 home victory over in-state rival Tulsa in their previous contest last Saturday. Boise State bounced back from a season-opening loss by throttling UTEP 54-13 at home last Saturday in their most recent game. In the only previous meeting between the programs, it was the Cowboys picking up a 44-21 triumph at home on September 15, 2018.

Oklahoma State Cowboys Expecting Better Showing

Oklahoma State had their struggles last week in putting away Tulsa at home. The Cowboys trailed 14-7 after three quarters before scoring three fourth-quarter touchdowns to earn the win. It’s clear that Oklahoma State will need to be better if they hope to earn a road win here and get to 3-0. Against Tulsa, Oklahoma State trailed 17-14 with 10:56 to play before LD Brown scored on a 98-yard kickoff return to give them a 21-17 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The Cowboys were outgained 347-313 in the contest, though they held a 19-18 advantage in first downs. Oklahoma State lost time of possession by a 31:23 to 28:37 margin and committed the game’s lone turnover, which was a pick-six for the Golden Hurricane.

For the year, Oklahoma State is 56th in the nation in passing offense with 244 yards per game while they are 112th in rushing offense with an average of 97 yards per contest. The Cowboys are 91st in the FBS in scoring offense with 25.5 points per game and 53rd in scoring defense by allowing an average of 19.5 points per contest. Shane Illingworth is 22 of 40 passing for 315 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Spencer Sanders is 15 of 26 for 173 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He leads the team in rushing with 62 yards plus a score. The run game has struggled with LD Brown (24 carries, 56 yards, TD) and Jaylen Warren (20 carries, 46 yards, two TD) failing to generate much in the way of yardage. Brennan Presley leads the team with eight catches for 103 yards. Jayden Bray (six grabs, 136 yards, TD) and Tay Martin (six receptions, 107 yards, TD) are also over the century mark for receiving yards this season. Alex Hale is six of seven on extra-point attempts and hit his lone field goal try, which came from 35 yards.

Oklahoma State has to find a way to open some holes in the ground game. The Cowboys are averaging a paltry 2.7 yards per carry as a team and that’s propped up by Sanders’s 6.2 yard per carry average. Brown and Warren each are averaging 2.3 yards per carry and that won’t get it done. Perhaps Sanders’ return under center can help jumpstart the offense. Boise State has had some problems with the run early on, allowing 179.5 yards per game and 4.1 yards per carry on the ground thus far.

Boise State Broncos Look to Prevail at Home

Boise State regrouped after letting a 21-0 lead against UCF slip away on the road in their season opener as they put the boots to UTEP at home last week. The Broncos look to build off that demolition of the Miners and let it carry over to this week’s contest. Boise State led just 10-6 early in the second quarter before scoring three touchdowns in a 2:50 span to take a 31-6 lead and turn things into a rout. The Broncos held a 461-336 advantage in total offense, picked up 21 first downs while allowing 20 and had a 30:30 to 29:30 edge in time of possession. Boise State forced six UTEP turnovers, turning them into 17 points, while committing only one. In addition, the Broncos scored on a punt return.

This season, the Broncos are 24th in the nation in passing offense with an average of 301.5 yards per game through the air and 125th in rushing offense with 70.5 yards per contest on the ground. Boise State is 22nd in the FBS in scoring offense as they average 42.5 points per game while they are 80th in scoring defense by giving up an average of 24.5 points a contest. Hank Bachmeier is 42 of 63 passing for 603 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Jack Sears misfired on his lone pass attempt though he has 10 rushing yards. Tyler Crowe leads the ground game with seven carries for 45 yards. Cyrus Habibi-Likio (15 carries, 34 yards, TD), Andrew Van Buren (15 carries, 29 yards, three TD), Taequan Tyler (five carries, 28 yards) and George Holani (five carries, 22 yards, TD) are all capable of toting the rock. Khalil Shakir leads the team with 12 catches for 257 yards and two scores. Octavius Evans (seven receptions, 83 yards), Habibi-Likio (six receptions, 31 yards) and Stefan Cobbs (five grabs, 124 yards, TD) are valuable targets as well. Jonah Dalmas has hit all 10 extra-point attempts and five of five field goal tries with a long of 39 this season.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Oklahoma State handled Boise State rather easily in their lone meeting three years ago but both teams are different from that point. The Cowboys are going to have to avoid turning the ball over and that could be tough against a Boise State secondary that has recorded five picks in the first two games of the season. All told, the Broncos have recorded eight takeaways in their two games and that will put pressure on Oklahoma State to be better with protecting the ball. After seeing the Cowboys struggle at home against a Tulsa team that doesn’t have the highest of expectations this season, it’s hard to like their chances on the road against a Boise State team that found their footing last week against UTEP. Look for the Broncos to earn the victory on the blue turf here for their second straight triumph.

Prediction: Boise State Broncos -4

Full-Game Total Pick

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Oklahoma State has seen the under go 1-0-1 in their two games this season as a failed two-point conversion late by Tulsa kept the game as a push. The Cowboys have seen the under go 3-1-1 in their last five games and 6-3-1 in their last 10 games dating back to last season. Oklahoma State has seen the under post a 6-0-1 mark in their last seven games in September, 7-1-1 in their last nine after an ATS loss and 6-1 in their last seven games as an underdog. The only previous meeting ended up falling half a point short of the total. This one seems poised to be a lower-scoring affair as Oklahoma State struggles to generate offense and Boise State focuses on grinding the clock away once they establish a lead.

Prediction: Under 57
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Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

Chris Kubala has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well. as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.