Date/Time: Friday, November 26, 9:00 am PST
Location: Carson, California (Dignity Health Sports Park)
Television: CBS Sports Network
Point Spread: Boise State State -2.5 – O/U 44.5
Head-to-Head: The Boise State and San Diego State football series is tied at three wins apiece. Each team has a two-game win streak in the series. San Diego State won the last matchup with a 19 – 13 win in 2018. The Broncos combined margin of defeat in their three losses is just 11 points.
Boise State is back in action on Friday morning after extended their winning streak to four games against New Mexico last Saturday. The Broncos cruised to a 37 – 0 victory on Senior Night to improve to 7 – 4 on the season.
In the regular season finale, Boise State travels to Carson, California to face off against the 22nd ranked San Diego State Aztecs. This week we’ll look at two factors that are likely to decide the game.
Will the Schedule Affect the Outcome of the Game?
There is no sugarcoating it, the scheduling of this game is weird. For starters, the game between Boise and San Diego is being played in Carson, California at Dignity Health Sports Park. The 27,000-seat stadium is a nearly six-hour drive from the San Diego State campus and is expected to house far fewer than 27,000 fans on Friday morning.
That brings us to the second bit of strangeness; this game will be played on Black Friday, at 9:00 in the morning. Add in championship implications, a possible back-to-back for the two teams (the MWC strikes again), a national audience, and Thanksgiving scheduling, and there is a lot going on before a football is even kicked off.
Does the schedule give either team an advantage? Possibly. For one, Boise State is coming into the game on a short week. They played Saturday night and must turn around and play on Friday morning in a week that was already disrupted by extra time off for Thanksgiving.
On the other hand, the Broncos have played a 9:00 am road game already this season and the Aztecs haven’t. In fact, several San Diego State players said that they haven’t played a game this early since their Pop Warner days. Ultimately, the team that handles the oddity of the schedule best will likely come out victorious tomorrow morning.
Who Will Win the Race to…20 Points?
In a game that fellow Mountain West Connection writer @JeremyKawika affectionately referred to as a brick fight; points will be at a premium. The Aztecs and Broncos are the 10th and 11th ranked teams in scoring defense nationally, and the 1st and 2nd stingiest defenses in the Mountain West.
San Diego State gives up around 17.5 points/game while Boise State allows just over 18 points per game. The Aztecs allow fewer yards than the Broncos, but Boise State averages about three more points scored per game.
San Diego State is especially efficient against the run. The Aztecs are 3rd in the nation, allowing just 77 rush yards per game. Boise State has been almost as good since their bye week, allowing 99 yards per game during their four-game win streak. The Broncos have an edge in pass defense, allowing the 23rd fewest yards through the air to the Aztecs 80th ranking.
Again, points will be at a premium in this game. Both teams will have trouble moving the ball. Something has to give. That something will likely be special teams. Field position and field goals will be a factor in the game, and each team has a secret weapon.
For the Aztecs it is punter Matt Araiza who is averaging 52 yards per punt and can boom the ball over 80 yards if the situation calls for it. Flipping the field is gigantic in a game where 20 points might get the job done. On the other sideline, the Broncos have a special teams weapon of their own in kicker Jonah Dalmas.
Dalmas is 25 for 27 on kicks this season and has proved to be cool under pressure. Three points will feel like a victory in Friday’s game. Hidden yardage, turnovers, penalties, and the leg of two fantastic special teamers will loom large for the Black Friday early morning game.
This is a perfect game for Boise State fans to close out the regular season. San Diego State offers the Broncos a chance to beat their third ranked opponent on the road and help erase the memory of a disastrous start to the 2021 season.
Boise State can improve to 8 – 4 on the season and avoid the moniker of “worst Bronco team in almost 20 years” with a victory tomorrow morning. They will have to earn it, though. The Aztecs are 10 -1 on the season for a reason. They play suffocating defense and are very comfortable in close games. The Broncos will get it done. The defense will do enough, and the offense, while struggling by Boise State standards, will win the race to 20-ish. Boise State 26 San Diego State 19.