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Boise State vs. New Mexico Game Preview

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Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

How did we get here?

Not How did we get here like what are we doing on this earth. Duh we're here to make peace and eat churros. I mean How did we get here as in how in the world are we talking about Boise State playing in a New Year's Six bowl game after looking like hot garbage against Air Force, losing our second-most-dynamic offensive player for the season, and playing so many games way too close. Pinch me, Mark May. I must be dreaming!

But I'm not dreaming, at least no more than usual. Boise State is in the conversation for a big bowl despite lacking the destructive force of Bronco teams past. I don't think anyone is going to mistake these Broncos for any of the Kellen Moore-era Broncos, and yet the Grant Hedrick version might play in a Cotton Bowl while the Kellen Moore version played in way too many Vegas Bowls?

If you say so!

Of course, the Boise State we'll see on Saturday is an improving, confident, motivated team that has played through adversity, shown flashes of dominance, and is loaded with players who are getting better each and every week. That's a pretty good formula, and it just so happens that when you combine it with college football's formula for New Year's bowls and the lack of a clear-cut favorite from the non-BCS conferences, it's kind of the perfect storm.

If ever there was a year when a less-than-perfect Boise State team could slip into a major bowl, this could be it.

The next year BSU can blow everyone out of the water and make no mistake about who's going where on New Year's.

Game facts

Oh yeah, New Mexico is also playing football on Saturday. Thought I should mention them!

Boise State versus: New Mexico

Location: Albuquerque

Time: 5:00 p.m. MT

TV: CBS Sports Network

Line: Boise State by 19

Players to watch

Jhurell Pressley, New Mexico running back

The Lobos average 300 rushing yards per game (because that's pretty much all they do), and Pressley gets a load of them. He's gone for over 130 yards in each of the last two games, and if I remember right, the last time Boise State played in Albuquerque, New Mexico was holding a triple option clinic. The Broncos learned a lot!

Grant Hedrick, Boise State quarterback

I owe Hedrick a heap of praise, to make up for all the doubts I've had about him during the season. I still have some doubts, of course, but his play of late has been so sharp that he's become not just "the guy who gets the ball to Jay Ajayi" but instead "the guy who wins games and throws touchdowns." He's had some truly spectacular passes, several great deep balls, tons o' good decisions, and he's saving his interceptions for late in the game after the Broncos have piled up some points.

Keys to the game

Score more points than the other team

Preferably tons more.

Win the turnover battle

Or at least postpone a turnover loss until late in the game when things have been decided.

Limit New Mexico on first down yardage

It's a lot harder to run the triple option when you're facing 3rd and long every series. Third and long starts with stops on first down.

Don't look ahead to San Diego State

The Broncos are in that weird spot between a relaxing by week and an exciting revenge game, which could make New Mexico a bit tricky. Nothing a little expert Bryan Harsin coaching can't fix.

Score prediction

Boise State 45, New Mexico 24