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Poke Preview Week 11: Boise State Broncos

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Wyoming will look to keep things rolling against red hot Boise State

NCAA Football: Boise State at Wyoming Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

What: Wyoming Cowboys vs. Boise State Broncos

When: Friday, November 12th, 2021, 7:00 p.m. M.T.

Where: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho

Network: FS1

Line: Wyoming +13.5, O/U 49 (via William Hill SB)

Series: The Broncos lead the all-time series vs. the Cowboys 14-1 with the Cowboys' lone victory coming in 2016, in Laramie. The Cowboys have never won a game when visiting the blue turf at Boise State and will look to change that narrative come this Friday night.

Fresh off their first conference victory of 2021, the Wyoming Cowboys will look to carry momentum into a tough matchup with the always competitive Broncos of Boise State. The Broncos are coming off of arguably their most impressive victory of the season, where they dismantled one of the top teams in the Mountain West, the nationally ranked Fresno State Bulldogs, beating the Bulldogs handily by a final score of 40-14. The Cowboys are also coming off of arguably their best all-around performance this year and are looking to right the ship of their season in hopes of upsetting the Broncos on their home blue turf, in Boise.

What to expect:

The Boise State Broncos come into this matchup red hot, winning three of their past four Mountain West Conference games. In those three winning efforts, the Broncos have been able to consistently put points up on the board while forcing an allotment of turnovers on the defensive side. Against Fresno State last week, QB Hank Bachmeier threw for a total of 238 yards and 1 touchdown. RB George Holani also rushed for 117 yards on 21 attempts for the Broncos. Arguably, however, the defense made a more noticeable impact. The Bronco front sacked Jake Haener five times including four times in the first half while forcing three interceptions to boot, and limiting Fresno State to under their season average in yards per game. Boise State and Wyoming have both certainly had their struggles with inconsistency this season, however, with both teams coming off of their most impressive games on their respective ledgers thus far, it seems that we could be in for a closer matchup than expected.

Three keys to a Cowboy Victory:

1. Limit the turnovers

Against Colorado State, Levi Williams did a phenomenal job conserving the football and creating sustainable possessions. Uncharacteristically, however, Xazavian Valladay fumbled the ball twice. Levi will need to do what he did last week in sustaining drives and making smart, efficient passes, while X must improve upon protecting the ball while running it down the gut of the defense. If the Pokes can limit their turnovers and not give the Broncos a short field, they should make it a close contest on Friday.

2. O-Line will need to set the tone for the offense

The Broncos have been able to get to the QB in recent weeks, sacking the quarterback five times in their most recent matchup. Luckily for the Cowboys, their rush attack is their strength, but they will need to be able to not only continue to maintain their blocks in the running game, but when Levi drops back, they’ll need to do the same for him. If the Cowboys want a chance at their second victory on the blue turf, they’ll need to set the tone early up front.

3. Win the battle on the ground

Wyoming is a team that is known for running the ball, while Boise is a team that has more of a balanced approach to their offense. The Cowboy defense limits production through the air, giving up a mere 156 yards passing, per game. However, they give up a whopping 169 yards per game on the ground. With that being said, the Pokes will need to not only run the ball effectively and efficiently in order to slow down the clock and sustain their drives, but they will need to stop it on the other end in order to win this one.

Prediction:

While it does seem like both teams are beginning to hit their stride and find their identity, Boise State is not only the more sound team overall, but they have a lot more at stake with a chance at winning the Mountain Division, as well as becoming bowl-eligible. While I don’t think Friday night will be a walk in the park, I do believe that Boise State will be able to edge the Cowboys this weekend.

Final Score: Boise State 34

Wyoming 20