Wyoming (4-5) at Boise State (6-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 16, 10:15 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bronco Stadium (36,387) -- Boise, Idaho. Television: ESPN Networks. Home Record: Wyoming 3-2, BSU 4-0. Away Record: Wyoming 1-3, BSU 2-3. Neutral Record: Wyoming 0-0, BSU 0-0. Conference Record: Wyoming 2-3, BSU 4-1. Series Record: Boise State leads, 7-0.
GAME NOTES: The Boise State Broncos try to remain in the hunt for the top spot in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference, as they clash with the Wyoming Cowboys at Bronco Stadium on Saturday night.
Already bowl eligible with a total of six victories, the Broncos are coming off a bye week following a 42-30 victory against Colorado State on Nov. 2 in Fort Collins. The team has won four of the last five outings overall, the one loss coming out of conference versus BYU in late October by a score of 37-20 on the road.
As for the Cowboys, they still have the potential to make themselves eligible for the postseason, but they'll first need to put an end to their three-game slide. The team last took the field against nationally-ranked Fresno State last weekend and was crushed by the Bulldogs at home, 48-10.
Boise State has never lost to the Cowboys, posting a 45-14 victory last year in order to run its unbeaten record in the series to 7-0.
The Cowboys scored the first points of their game last Saturday night against 16th-ranked Fresno State, keeping the Bulldogs off the scoreboard until the second quarter, but once the flood gates opened it was all over for Wyoming in 38-point setback.
Brett Smith tried to keep hope alive for the Pokes as he completed 18-of-32 passes for 141 yards and a score, but it wasn't nearly enough to keep the hosts from suffering yet another setback. Wyoming was limited to just 296 yards of total offense, compared to the 600 for the Bulldogs as the latter remained undefeated.
Because of the huge letdown against FSU, the Cowboys now rank 113th in the nation in total defense with a staggering 480.7 ypg allowed. The squad has been exposed quite a bit on the ground with 235.8 ypg surrendered to opponents and their rushing attacks.
From an offensive standpoint, the Pokes try to keep pace with the help of Smith who is one of the more accurate of the unknown passers on the national scene. He has made good on 63.0 percent of his throws for 278.7 ypg, leading to 20 touchdowns and just eight interceptions over the course of 351 attempts.
The big challenge for the Cowboys will be how well they can bounce back from a weak effort. While the Broncos may not be the team of note in the MWC any more, they still should not be taken lightly, even if they are operating without their starting quarterback these days.
Instead of preparing of Joe Southwick, Wyoming has to study up on Grant Hedrick who is slated to make just his third start of the season for the Broncos this weekend. Hedrick saw spot duty as a backup after BSU had made it clear that games were under control, but now he is the one directing the offense from the opening whistle, which means the pressure is on.
The signal caller has completed close to 70 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and two interceptions, but because he's a bit raw, the Broncos might be inclined to give the ball a little more to running back Jay Ajayi who already has breached the 1,000-yard mark and has scored 12 times on the ground. But make no mistake, Hedrick has plenty of down field threats in Shane Williams-Rhodes (60 catches, five TDs), Matt Miller (53, four) and Geraldo Boldewijn (32 receptions).
On the defensive side, Demarcus Lawrence has recorded at least one quarterback sack in five straight games for the Broncos, so the Wyoming offensive line has to keep tabs on him, and Smith will also need to keep him on the radar as well.
The Broncos have had to regroup with the change at quarterback, but the squad should be more than ready to get back on the field and show that they are capable of being a top-tier program in the MWC moving forward, no matter the circumstances.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boise State 42, Wyoming 24
11/14 15:07:10 ET