The Boise State Broncos are back in a familiar place, playing as a contender to be the top Group of Five team this season. After a couple of tune up tilts where they averaged 59 points per outing, the Broncos face their toughest test of the season when they travel to Stillwater for a Week 3 showdown with the Big 12’s Oklahoma State Cowboys. This has the makings of a shootout with both teams putting up lopsided numbers, so expect a defensive effort to play a critical role in the outcome of this one.
This contest in Week 3 will go down Saturday, September 15, 2018, at 3:30 p.m. ET at Boone Pickens Stadium.
College Football Odds at BookMaker.eu
Boise State Broncos +3
Oklahoma State Cowboys -3
Over/Under (Check Back Later)
Both teams were dominant in their first two outings and look evenly matched on paper. Oklahoma State opened as a 3-point favorite with the advantage of playing at home. That didn’t bother Boise State in its opener, pounding Troy by 36 as a 9-point favorite. Boise State is getting the majority of early action which could sway the line before kickoff.
Player to Watch
There were some big shoes to fill on offense and Mike Gundy has apparently found his man to take over for Mason Rudolph. Taylor Cornelius won the quarterback battle during the summer and he’s shown no signs of giving up the starting job. Making his first career start in the season opener, Cornelius threw for 300 yards on 25 of 35 passing with five touchdowns, leading the Cowboys to a 58-17 win over Missouri State.
Flashing the skill that won him the gig, Cornelius again delivered in last week’s matchup with South Alabama, this time throwing for 428 yards when the Jags sold out to stop the run game. He was 25 of 40 with a touchdown and two interceptions in the 55-13 win. OSU was still able to grind out 164 yards and the ground and compiled 617 total yards in the matchup.
Matchup to Watch
It’s hard to assess if the OSU defense has improved over the past several years when the rankings were in the bottom half of the FBS in total yards allowed. Gundy made a change to his staff on that side of the football, brining in Jim Knowles to run the defense, and so far the results are encouraging. The Cowboys held Missouri State to 260 total yards and 17 points in the opener then limited South Alabama to just 214 total yards and 13 points. We will get a clearer picture of the defense on Saturday.
Boise State appears to be clicking on all cylinders ahead of its much anticipated matchup with OSU. Not looking ahead the Broncos pasted UConn by amassing a school record 818 total yards in the 62-7 win. Brett Rypien threw for 362 yards and three touchdowns before taking a seat in the third quarter. The Broncos looked every bit the top G5 team and can solidify that ranking with a win over OSU on Saturday.
Overshadowed by the offensive exploits has been the play of Boise State’s defense during the first two weeks. The Broncos allowed just seven points and less than 200 total yards to UConn last week, and they were able to get off the field quickly by allowing the Huskies to convert just 3 of 13 third-down opportunities. And that’s a slight improvement over their Week 1 output when Troy was able to extend four drives in 15 third-down chances.
Boise State has a veteran group that was dominant at times last season and nearly everybody has returned. For the season opponents have converted just 25 percent of their third-down chances and the group will have to stall drives to prevent the Cowboys from taking over.
Free ATS Pick
This should be a fierce matchup between two explosive teams and there is a lot riding on the season for Boise State. Considered the top G5 team along with UCF, the Broncos can’t afford to lose a game if they want that title at the end of the year. And I think they are a better team the Oklahoma State. They are experienced on both sides of the football and the defense has weapons that OSU hasn’t seen in its first two outings.
Rypien and his teammates had this one marked on their calendar when the schedule was announced, and that they didn’t flinch in their first two games shows me they are focused and all business. The Cowboys are solid, but the experience at key positions will eventually be the difference. Boise State has it and OSU doesn’t, and that’s what decides this one.
College Football Odds: Boise State 41, Oklahoma State 33
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