Date/Time: Saturday, November 20 @ 7:00 pm MST
Location: Boise, Idaho (Albertsons Stadium)
Television: Fox Sports One
Betting Line: Boise State -27.5 – Over/Under 48
Head-to-Head: Boise State has a 10 – 1 lead in a series that has rarely been competitive. Only two of the 11 games between the two teams have been a one possession game. New Mexico beat the Broncos on the Blue Turf in 2015 in what is arguably the worst loss in modern Boise State history.
Boise State is coming off a tough battle against Wyoming. The Broncos won 23 – 13, extending their winning streak to three games. This week, Boise State takes the field on Senior Night against a struggling 3 – 7 New Mexico team. Let’s dive into the Senior Night questions for the last regular season home game of the year for the Broncos.
Senior Night Questions
Can the Boise State Defense Pitch a Senior Night Shutout?
New Mexico State has struggled to move the ball and score points all year. The Lobos are averaging 10 points per game against Mountain West teams and have been held to one score or less in four of their nine games against FBS opponents. Wyoming, Colorado State, Fresno State, and Wyoming each held New Mexico to one touchdown or less.
Meanwhile, while the yearly numbers don’t look great for the Bronco defense, the squad has been lights out in recent weeks. In a stretch of five games, including road games against the 14th and 23rd ranked teams in the country, Boise State is giving up an average of 17 points per game.
New Mexico is a run heavy team (24 pass attempts against 37 rush attempts per game). This looks like it would be a problem if you look at the season long stats, but after being gashed in the run game early in the season, the Broncos have tightened up. In the last three weeks Bronco opponents are averaging just 80 yards per game on the ground.
The big hurdle, of course, is Boise State’s history against the triple option. While the Broncos have had better success against the pistol/gun triple option than the traditional under center look, all it takes is one missed assignment to blow a potential goose egg. Overall, the Broncos have a realistic chance to shut New Mexico out on The Blue on Senior Night if they can avoid the triple option assignment slipups that have plagued the team in the past.
Can the Boise State Offense Score 40 on Senior Night?
New Mexico’s defense isn’t nearly as bad as the offense. They have a top-50 rush defense and a top-35 pass efficiency defense. That being said, they give up a ton of points. The Lobos have allowed 30+ points in five of their six games against Mountain West opponents. However, New Mexico has not given up 40 points to any team this season.
Boise State has struggled on offense in 2021 but seem poised to have a breakout game against the Lobos. The run game has been much improved since George Holani returned to the lineup, and if not for red zone woes, would have had back-to-back explosive performance in the last two weeks. This week, Andy Avalos has stressed red zone efficiency and the Broncos have usually responded well when the attention is turned to a specific deficiency. Ultimately, the Boise State offense is in “show me” mode. Can they score 40 tomorrow night? Absolutely. Will they? They’re going to have to show me.
Saturday night is Senior Night for 27 Broncos. The group includes players who have seemingly played at Boise State forever and many who will almost certainly return to the program in 2022. Either way, this is a hungry group of athletes who haven’t had the season they expected to have dating back to Fall camp. This game feels like a perfect storm for a team that is improving by leaps and bounds and have all the motivation in the world to pile it on against a rare, overmatched foe on the schedule. Broncos win big on Senior Night. Boise State 41 New Mexico 7.