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Dog day afternoon: Boise State at Fresno State Game Preview

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Fresno State v Hawaii Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

Game facts

  • Time: Saturday November 6th, 5 PM
  • Location: Bulldog Stadium, Fresno, CA
  • Weather at kickoff: 68° partly cloudy
  • Odds: Fresno State by 5
  • TV: CBS Sports Network
  • Radio: 670 KBOI
  • Commentators: John “Pat” Sadak (close enough), Aaron “Murr” Murray, and Lindsay “Dusty” Rhodes

Other facts

1. Un-rivaled

The Broncos are 15-4 against Fresno since joining them in the WAC in 2001 (what happened next?) and then obviously when Fresno followed the Broncos lead to the MWC, They are 5-3 since that date IN Fresno as well but just 5-5 there all-time (the Broncos were 0-3 to FSU back in the FCS days). Of course, the last time these two met, it was a snowy December night and it was Fresno who took home the MWC championship hardware...so a little room-temperature revenge is in order, wouldn’t you say? Oh, btw...Fresno has gone 4-8 and 3-3 since that last meeting, with the Broncos winning an outright title and a runner-up finish in the meantime, but this year it’s the ‘dogs who are ranked and favored. Life comes at you fast.

2. Road worriers

Believe it or not (what do I care?), the Broncos will play on the road in back-to-back weeks for just the fourth time since joining the MWC. Lucky for them, they’ve played better on the road this season...winning 3 of 4. Unlucky for them...they’ve lost every other game and well, we won last week. Ah, I’m sure that means nothing!

3. Passing away

At 337 yards per game, Fresno ranks 7th in the country in passing offense...but don’t worry, we already played the 3rd-ranked passing offense in the country in Nevada and...oh. Top 3 corners injured? All part of the plan!

4. Still a feel-good story

Streaks

Boise State - Won 1

Fresno State - Won 3

Antiques

Best name on their roster

DB Alzillion Hamilton truly has a name that is one in alzillion.

Best picture on their roster

O-lineman Bula Schmidt haunts my dreams. Like, he palpably HATES that photographer, man.

Players to watch

Jake Haener, QB

After originally committing to Chris Petersen at Washington, Haener found himself in the mysterious transfer portal and somehow ended up in Fresno (Ctrl+alt+delete and reboot the portal). It was probably for the best as the senior is having himself a season. Through 9 games, Haener is completing nearly 67% of his passes and has racked up nearly 3k passing yards and 23 TDs vs just 6 INTs. A Timex type...Haener has been known to take a lickin’, but as we know of our favorite wristwatch...he’ll keep on tickin’.

Jalen Cropper, WR

The Bulldogs get a lot of wide receivers involved in the Haener Attack, with 4 wideouts over the 300 yard mark on the year...but Cropper is the top target with 61 grabs in 2021 for 664 yards and 10 TDs. Cropper is no pass Dropper.

Ronnie Rivers, RB

Rivers seems like he’s been in Fresno forever...maybe that’s just what it seems like to everyone that visits Fresno. Anyway, the 5’9” senior is leading the Bulldogs in rushing with 573 yards and 4 TDs, with a tidy 5 YPC average. If you don’t remember Rivers, he’s the guy that scored the game-winning touchdown to win the MWC title (over our Broncos) in 2018...damn missed PATs.

Jordan Mims, RB

Rivers leads the team in rushing yardage, but Mims (who took over last week when Rivers was injured) leads the team in rushing yard average (6.1 yards). Also a senior, Mims will likely be a part of the Fresno attack...just tackle the guy with the ball, okay?

Evan Williams, DB

The 6’ junior leads the team in tackles AND interceptions (69 and 3, respectively), and has also recovered 2 fumbles (causing one of them) and broken up 2 more passes. The kid is ACTIVE.

Players NOT to watch

Tyson Maeva, Lee Marks, Kirby Moore, Taylor Pope, and Julius Brown are all former Broncos who have heel-turned and are now wearing Bulldog red. Benedict Arnold might as well be suiting up for Fresno State.

Keys to victory

  • Get George loose. KNOCK ON WOOD, but it sounds like George Holani might be full go for the first time since 1978 and getting him plenty of touches out of the backfield would be a good idea. Think how they used Habibi-Likio against BYU...just with George.
  • Take it away. The Broncos will need to add some scoring opportunities in Fresno, but have been skunked in the takeaway department the last two games. Get back on track.
  • Finish in the red zone. They kind of rectified this last week when finishing off 97-yard drives. Not so much the previous two weeks. Points will be at a premium against a potent Fresno State offense.
  • Don’t lose. 50% of the time, it works every time.

Score prediction

I haven’t picked the Broncos to lose this year (you can’t prove anything about BYU)...and I’ve been HALF right. That said...in for a penny, in for a pound.

Boise State 27, Fresno State 24