When and where: September 29, 2018, War Memorial Stadium-WY, Laramie, WY, 5:00 PM ET
A late fourth quarter touchdown reception by wideout Raghib Ismail helped the Wyoming Cowboys avoid a 1-3 start to the season, but they’ll need more of that magic to fend off the visiting Boise State Broncos on Saturday. The Broncos will be on the hunt for a little redemption after a lopsided loss to No. 24-ranked Oklahoma State in Week 3. They’re last two wins came against Troy and Connecticut.
Boise State needs better offensive line play
Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien was beaten and battered in the 21-44 loss to Oklahoma State. There was no room to operate, breathe or even think in the pocket with all of the defensive jerseys consistently flying around him. He was sacked seven times on the day, and the Oklahoma State defense had 10 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, making the process of moving the ball near impossible.
The offensive line for Boise State simply didn’t play well, and they were consistently dominated in the trenches by a more physical football team. Despite the offensive struggles up front, Rypien actually had a nice game, going 39-of-56 for 380 yards and three touchdowns. His most impressive stat so far this season is the fact that he has yet to throw an interception, despite being under duress every time he drops back to pass.
The running game also struggled to get going behind the patchwork line. Junior running back Alexander Mattison, who rushed for 115 yards the previous week, could only muster 53 yards on 14 carries.
The special teams unit giving up two blocked punts didn’t help matters, either.
Defensive help finally arrives for Wyoming
An ugly pair of losses to Washington State and Missouri had some wondering if Wyoming would have to put up 30-plus points to even have a shot at winning another game in 2018.
Granted, they weren’t losing to cakewalk teams, but it’s never a good sign when the defense gives up 40-plus points in back-to-back games. They gave up a total of 995 yards combined in both of those losses, which is equivalent to video game numbers.
No one is going to overhype a 17-14 win over the Wofford Terriers, but it was a positive sign for Wyoming to see the defense finally show a sense of urgency and raise its level of play. Although they gave up 221 yards rushing, they did manage to completely shut down the passing game, holding Wofford quarterback Joe Newman to only nine completions for 73 yards and two interceptions. The secondary stuck to the receivers so well Newman was only able to throw an average of 4.9 yards down the field.
Wyoming will need a similar effort with a prolific passer like Rypien coming to town on Saturday.
- Cowboys are 2-5 in last 7 games
- Cowboys are 2-9 in last 11 games played in the month of September
- Cowboys are 2-5 in last 7 games after an ATS loss
- Broncos are 7-2 ATS in last 9 games played on the road
- Broncos are 7-3 ATS in last 10 games
- Broncos are 12-5 ATS in last 17 games after rushing for less than 100 yards in the previous week
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The defensive turnaround for Wyoming won’t last coming into a week where they’ll be tasked with slowing down a Boise State offense averaging 549.3 total yards per game.
Rypien should have plenty of time to work playing against a downgraded defense as opposed to what he faced against Oklahoma State. If Boise State keeps the ball in his hands, he could throw for over 400 yards against Wyoming’s defense, but the thinking here is that the coaching staff will seek more balance on offense.
That means we could see more of Mattison running against a defense that is giving up an average of 122.5 yards on the ground. Boise State is at its best when their mixing the play-calling and showcasing versatility in the pass and run game. They got away from that formula against Oklahoma State, but they’ll find a way to get back to it against Wyoming.
On defense, they should have no trouble shutting down Wyoming freshman quarterback Tyler Vander Waal, who hasn’t completed more than 50 percent of his passes in two of his last three games.
Prediction: Boise State (-16.5)
Full-Game Total Pick
It’s hard to feel comfortable picking the over coming off a week where Wyoming struggled to put up points against Wofford. Their defense seems to finally be finding its footing, but the offensive miscues are likely to continue when Boise State comes to town on Saturday. The under is 4-1 in the last five head-to-head meetings between these two teams.
Prediction: Under (46.5)