Plenty of stakes as No. 14 Utah St visits No. 21 Boise St
No. 14 Utah State (10-1, 7-0 Mountain West, No. 21 CFP) at No. 21 Boise State (9-2, 6-1, No. 23 CFP), 10:15 p.m. EST (ESPN)
Line: Boise State by 3.
Series record: Boise State leads 17-5.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The Mountain Division title will be decided along with hosting duties for the conference title game next week. Utah State survived a scare last week at Colorado State when a desperation touchdown on the final play by the Rams was nullified by a penalty and the Aggies escaped with a 29-24 win. Boise State has won six straight.
Utah State QB Jordan Love vs. Boise State’s defense. Colorado State proved a week ago it’s possible to slow down the Aggies. The 29 points scored by Utah State its second fewest all season — it had scored at least 30 in every game — and had topped 60 in two of the three previous games. Love has been the leader of that offense, but he was limited to 169 yards passing against Colorado State a week after throwing for 491 yards. Boise State’s defense has been stingy enough since giving up 38 points in a win over Air Force. But the Broncos have shown they can be vulnerable to the pass.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Utah State: RB Darwin Thompson. He doesn’t get a ton of carries, but when Thompson does he has a knack for big plays. Thompson has 14 rushing touchdowns on 121 carries this season.
Boise State: QB Brett Rypien. The senior would like to play at least one more home game on the blue turf. He’s thrown for 28 touchdowns and just seven interceptions — five of those coming during a shaky two-game stretch. In his last five games Rypien has 14 touchdowns and two interceptions.
FACTS & FIGURES
First Mountain West game where both teams were ranked in AP Top 25 since 2010 when Utah faced TCU. … Second time since 2014 teams have met in Boise with division title on line in regular season finale. Broncos won that game 50-19. … Aggies have just one win over Boise State since 1997. … Utah State leads country with six defensive touchdowns and is second in forced turnovers with 28.