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Boise State at Nevada: Three Questions, Prediction

Coming off of a heartbreaking loss to rival BYU, the Broncos look to take their frustrations out on the Wolf Pack.

NCAA Football: Brigham Young at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports


Location: Reno, Nevada (Mackay Stadium)

Date/Time: Saturday, November 12th at 8:30 p.m. (Mountain Time)

Television: CBS Sports Network (CBSSN)

Streaming: CBS Sports app

Radio: KBOI 670 AM/ 93.1 FM

Head-to-Head: Boise State leads the series 30-14, but Nevada has bragging rights as they won in Boise last year for the first time since 1997 (the Houston Nutt year). That was also their first win against the Broncos since 2010 when Colin Kaepernick ended a dream season for Chris Petersen and company.

Three Questions

  1. Will the Boise State defense return to form after a subpar outing?

BYU torched the Bronco defense through the air and the ground last Saturday. Quarterback Jaren Hall had all the time in the world to keep drives alive via a diminished pass rush. Other than two interceptions in the red zone, Boise State only forced one punt. Now, it would be a major surprise to see Nevada’s offense put up similar numbers. However, their last game against San Jose State was tighter than expected as the Spartans needed back-to-back touchdowns to escape with a win.

Transfer quarterback Shane Illingworth has steadily improved over the course of the season and has had a QB rating of over 100 in his last two games. Illingworth has been connecting with senior receiver B.J. Casteel as of late, and it showed against San Jose State. Casteel raked in 149 yards on seven receptions, including a 53-yard bomb that he took to the house. Of course, the key player that keeps this offense ahead of the chains is running back Toa Taua. The senior had three touchdowns last week and always keeps his legs churning for extra yardage.

Nevada will not be afraid to test Boise State’s secondary over the top as the Broncos have been suspect in the third level. If they play soft coverage like they did against BYU, then it will allow the Wolf Pack to stay in the game longer and dictate the games’ ebbs and flows.

2. Will Taylen Green be encouraged to use his legs more?

I know for a fact that I don’t have the football knowledge to question someone with the vast experience that offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has. With that being said, letting Green display his threat of running via the read option or designed keepers would be a welcome sight. In the long run, what Koetter is doing with Green is remarkable and fans, including myself, will thank him for his dedication to developing Green as a true passer. Playing Nevada reminds me of the balance that Chris Ault and the Wolf Pack were able to create in Colin Kaepernick’s game.

Taylen Green has continued to show tremendous progress through the air, recording three straight games of more than 200 yards passing with only one interception. This is the type of game where he can pass beyond 300 yards and add a few chunk plays on the ground.

3. Is Ashton Jeanty healthy enough to help split carries with George Holani?

Holani had a solid performance against BYU despite the loss, accounting for two touchdowns on the ground and carrying the ball 20 times. Other than the Air Force game, Holani has been relatively healthy this season and the Bronco staff will look to keep it that way. It is believed that Jeanty suffered a concussion a few weeks ago, but he did have five carries last week. It’s not just that Jeanty can give Holani a breather, but he adds an extra dimension to the running attack with his physical style.


Weird things can happen in Reno.

But not this time.

The Broncos remain undefeated in Mountain West play behind an explosive offense that runs up the score. The defense looks to make a statement and flush last week’s performance down the drain.

Boise State will control their own destiny in the Mountain West with two weeks to go.

The line, brought to you by DraftKings, is set at 21 in favor of the Broncos. I envision Boise State covering with relative ease.

Final score

Boise State 49 - Nevada 21