Week 11: Boise State at Nevada. Game Preview and Prediction

Location: Reno, Nevada (Mackay Stadium)

Appointment time: Saturday, November 12 at 8:30 p.m. (Mountain Time)

TV: CBS Sports Network (CBSSN)

Stream: CBS Sports app

Radio: KBOI 670AM/ 93.1FM

Head to head: Boise State leads the series 30-14, but Nevada has bragging rights since they won in Boise last year for the first time since 1997 (the Houston Nutt year). It was also their first win against the Broncos since 2010, when Colin Kaepernick ended a dream season for Chris Petersen and co.

  1. Will the Boise State Defense return to form after an underperforming outing?

BYU set fire to the Bronco defense through the air and ground last Saturday. Quarterback Jaren Hall had all the time in the world to keep drives alive with a diminished pass rush. Aside from two red-zone interceptions, Boise State only forced one punt. Now, it would be a big surprise to see Nevada’s offense put up similar numbers. However, their last game against San Jose State was closer than expected, as the Spartans needed back-to-back touchdowns to walk away with a win.

Transfer quarterback Shane Illingworth has steadily improved throughout the season and has had a 100-plus QB rating in his last two games. Illingworth has linked with senior receiver BJ Casteel of late and it showed against San Jose State. Casteel raked in 149 yards on seven receptions, including a 53-yard bomb that he brought home. Of course, running back Toa Taua is the key player keeping this offense off the chains. The senior had three touchdowns last week and is always keeping his legs churning for extra yards.

Nevada won’t be afraid to over-test Boise State’s secondary after the Broncos were third-level suspects. Playing soft coverage like they did against BYU will allow the Wolf Pack to stay in the game longer and dictate the ebb and flow of games.

2. Is Taylen Green encouraged to use his legs more?

I know very well that I don’t have the football knowledge to ask someone with the great experience of offensive coordinator Dirk K├Âtter. With that in mind, it would be a welcome sight to have Green display his escape threat via the read option or drafted goalies. In the long run, what Koetter is doing with Green is remarkable and fans, including myself, will thank him for his dedication to developing Green as a true passer. Playing Nevada reminds me of the balance that Chris Ault and the Wolf Pack managed to create in Colin Kaepernick’s game.

Taylen Green has continued to show tremendous strides in the air, recording three straight games for 200+ yards with just one interception. This is the kind of play where he can go past 300 yards and add a few chunk plays on the ground.

3. Is Ashton Jeanty healthy enough to help out on split carries with George Holani?

Holani put on a solid performance against BYU despite the loss, grabbing two touchdowns on the ground and carrying the ball 20 times. Aside from the Air Force game, Holani has been relatively healthy this season and the Bronco staff will try to keep it that way. Jeanty is believed to have suffered a concussion a few weeks ago, but he’s had five carry surgeries in the last week. Not only can Jeanty give Holani a breather, but he adds an extra dimension to the running attack with his physical style.

Strange things can happen in Reno.

But not this time.

The Broncos remain undefeated in the Mountain West game behind an explosive offense that boosts the score. The defense is trying to make a statement and wash last week’s performance down the drain.

Boise State will control its own destiny in the Mountain West with two weeks to go.

The line brought to you by DraftKings is set at 21 in favor of the Broncos. I envision covering Boise State with relative ease.

bottom line

State of Boise 49 – Nevada 21

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