CSJ Mountain West Championship Game Preview — Fresno State at Boise State, How To Watch and Fearless Predictions
November 30, 2018
Fresno State at Boise State When: Saturday, December 1, 5:45 PM MST Where: Albertson’s Stadium, Boise, Idaho TV/Streaming: ESPN / WatchESPN
Fresno State Bulldogs (10-2, 7-1 MWC)
Mountain West West Division Champions Location: Fresno, Calif. Enrollment: 22,221 Sagarin Rating: 22 (2 in G5)
Season Recap: Fresno State has won the Mountain West twice since becoming a member in 2011, earning back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. Fresno State clinched the West Division title with a 7-1 record, two games ahead of Hawaii in the standings. Fresno State is making their fourth appearance in the MWC title game, the most in the conference, and is 1-2 overall.
Fresno State claimed a second straight West Division title. The Bulldogs were perfect against divisional opponents and finished two full games ahead of second-place Hawaii.
Fresno State lost just once in conference play and it happened to be to its opponent in this game in Boise State on the road 24-17.
Best Win: at UCLA (38-14)
Worst Loss: at Minnesota (21-14)
Other key outcomes: at Boise State (24-17 L)
Key Player: QB Marcus McMaryion has flourished with Fresno State and was a big catalyst in that program’s turnaround a season ago. He is ranked in the top 10 in the FBS in pass efficiency. McMaryion has thrown for 3,283 yards and 24 touchdowns while completing 70.5 percent of his passes. He has tossed just three interceptions all season. Against Boise State last time, he threw for 283 yards and a touchdown on 24-of-35 passing. He will likely need bigger numbers than this to beat the Broncos on the road.
Fantasy Bonus Baby: WR KeeSean Johnson n has been the best in that category in program history.He has just one game in his entire career where he has gone without a catch – at Ole Miss in 2015 as a redshirt freshman in his second career game. Since then, Johnson has caught at least one pass in 48 consecutive games. Last season, Johnson surpassed the program’s previous leader in consecutive games with a catch, Henry Ellard. Last week against San Jose State, he broke the program record for career receiving yards. Johnson broke Charlie Jones’ record of 3,344 yards, a record that stood since 1995. Look for him to put up some great fantasy statistics in this game.
Boise State Broncos (10-2, 7-1 MWC)
Mountain West Mountain Division Champions Location: Boise, Idaho Enrollment: 20,767 Sagarin Rating: 27 (3 in G5)
Season Recap: Boise State has captured a Mountain West crown two times, posting 7-1 league records in both 2014 and 2017 just as it finished this year. Boise State and Utah State met to close out the regular-season with 6-1 and 7-0 records, respectively. The Broncos defeated the Aggies 33-24 and won the Mountain Division by virtue of the win over Utah State.
Boise State’s pass-dominant offense is second in the conference in both scoring and pass offense in the Mountain West.
This is the fourth time in two seasons that these two schools are playing each other. The Broncos hosted the Bulldogs earlier in November and ground out a 24-17 victory after scoring 21 straight points starting late in the third quarter.
Best Win: vs. Utah State (33-24)
Worst Loss: vs. San Diego State (19-13)
Other key outcomes: at Oklahoma State (44-21 L)
Key Player: QB Brett Rypien set Mountain West career records for passing yards and completions when the Broncos beat the Bulldogs in November. He was nearly flawless against Fresno State in that game, throwing for 269 yards and a touchdown on 24-of-29 passing. Rypien also made plays with his legs, scrambling for first downs on three different occasions and ultimately adding 30 yards on eight carries. On the season, he has totaled 3,580 yards and 29 touchdowns while completing 68.8 percent of his passes. He will need to be steady to keep the balance on offense.
Fantasy Bonus Baby:RB Alexander Mattison torched the Bulldogs for 144 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries earlier this season. His workhorse effort allowed Boise State to control the ball in the second half and opened the door for the Broncos to rally from a 17-3 deficit. He has been his best over his last six games. In that stretch, he has totaled 799 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging 5.2 yards per carry. . He ranks fifth nationally with 16 rushing touchdowns. Look for him to find the end zone again in this game.
Fearless Prediction: The Bulldogs have struggled in Idaho and there’s little reason to expect that to change on Saturday especially after seeing the result from a month ago. Boise State has caught fire on both sides of the ball at the right time of the season. The winner in this game has an outside chance of getting a New Year’s Six Bowl game should UCF fall earlier on Saturday. But the Broncos look like the best bet to win this game but it will be close just like they played earlier this season. Boise State 27, Fresno State 20
Originally from LaMoure, North Dakota, Kent is a 1996 graduate of North Dakota State University. His prior writing experience is over 15 years having previously worked with D2football.com, I-AA.org, and College Sporting News before coming to College Sports Journal in 2016. His main focus is college football in the western half of the United States– the Big Sky Conference and Missouri Valley Football Conference within the Division I FCS. And in 2017, he began also to look at the FBS Group of Five conferences of the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt.
Originally from LaMoure, North Dakota, Kent is a 1996 graduate of North Dakota State University. His prior writing experience is over 15 years having previously worked with D2football.com, I-AA.org, and College Sporting News before coming to College Sports Journal in 2016. His main focus is college football in the western half of the United States-- the Big Sky Conference and Missouri Valley Football Conference within the Division I FCS. And in 2017, he began also to look at the FBS Group of Five conferences of the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt.