Friday's College Action
October 25, 2013
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BOISE STATE BRONCOS (5-2) at BYU COUGARS (5-2)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: BYU -7 & 60
Opening Line & Total: Cougars -7 & 61.5
Two red-hot teams meet on Friday night when Boise State travels to BYU with each school trying to cool down the other one and move to 6-2.
With both teams riding winning streaks (three games for Boise State, four games for BYU) and coming off offensive explosions (557 yards for Boise State, 681 yards for BYU) this should be an exciting matchup. The Broncos are coming off a 34-17 win over conference foe Nevada, and have now scored 102 points (34.0 PPG) combined during their winning streak (Southern Miss, Utah State, Nevada). The Cougars have one-upped Boise State recently with a winning streak of four games (MTSU, Utah State, Georgia Tech, Houston) in which they have scored 153 points (38.3 PPG).
With all this offense, it is surprising that when these two teams met last season the score was 7-6, with Boise State coming out ahead when the Cougars missed a 2-point conversion late in the game. Besides that contest, these two programs have met only three times since 1992, with the Broncos winning all three SU (1-2 ATS). Boise State will be missing star QB Joe Southwick, who broke his ankle early in the first quarter against Nevada, and he will be replaced by Grant Hedrick.
With Joe Southwick out for the game, QB Grant Hedrick will replace him and attempt to take the Broncos to victory. Hedrick had only 16 attempts before their last game but did complete 12 of them. His real threat is his ability to run. So far this season, Hedrick has rushed for 192 yards on just 15 carries (12.8 YPC) including rumbling for 115 yards (14.4 YPC) and two touchdowns after replacing Southwick against Nevada. He also added 150 yards on 18-of-21 passing in that game, but did throw an interception. With an emphasis most likely being even more on the running this week, HB Jay Ajayi will try to pad his already spectacular numbers. Ajayi ranks 16th in the nation with 766 rushing yards (5.7 YPC) and is tied for the FBS lead in touchdowns scored with Arizona State's Marion Grice (12 TD).
The Broncos do not attempt to stretch the field too often with their passing attack, averaging only 10.4 yards per catch, instead they pick away and wear down opposing defenses. Both WR Matt Miller (454 receiving yards) and WR Shane Williams-Rhodes (396 receiving yards) have caught more than 42 balls this year. The Broncos defense has been stellar in its five wins (16.2 PPG allowed) but has given up an average of 39.0 PPG in their losses to Washington and Fresno State.
BYU put up a season-high 681 total yards against Houston in a 47-46 shootout and they may need to have a similar output in order to defeat Boise State. The Cougars have averaged 503 total YPG this season and can thank their 14th-ranked rushing attack (263 YPG) for much of that. Both QB Taysom Hill (772 rush yards, 6.2 YPC, 7 TD) and HB Jamaal Williams (626 rush yards, 5.0 YPC, 3 TD) have run the ball 124 times this season. Hill is coming off his third 120-yard rushing performance of the season and no one can forget his 259 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the Cougars 40-21 victory over Texas in the second week of the season.
Hill has also thrown the ball quite a bit, with 1,680 yards passing and nine touchdowns on the season. His one big downside is his eight interceptions, with at least one thrown in 6-of-7 games this year, including three last week at Houston. WR Cody Hoffman has been Hill's main target this year with 467 receiving yards on 25 catches (18.7 avg.) and two touchdowns. Hoffman had his best game of the year so far in last week's win, where he caught seven balls for 156 yards and a score. Before giving up 46 points last week, the Cougars were allowing only 17.3 PPG on average to their opposition.
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