UNLV vs. Boise State
When: Friday, November 18, 2016 7:00 PM MT
Where: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
Betting Line: Boise State (-29), O/U – 66
The name of the game for the Rebels is “win and you’re in.” After a shocking upset over Wyoming last week, the Rebels are flying high, needing to win their final two games to be bowl eligible. That being said, even though Kurt Palendech seems to be the go-to guy for quarterback for the rest of the season, the Rebels have had to now convert two players to WR because of injuries. With leading receiver Devonte Boyd going down to injury, UNLV converted former starting quarterback Dalton Sneed to WR for this game, along with linebacker Jericho Flowers who was converted to WR last week because of injuries.
To make matters somewhat worse, the Rebels managed 400 yards on the ground last week against Wyoming, and that was without one of their starting running backs Lexington Thomas. While fortune smiled upon the Rebels last week, one could and probably would make the argument that Boise State is a better team than Wyoming (despite head-to-head) and having to play on The Blue, will make life hell for the Rebels.
The key for the Rebels to win this game is this: keep pushing. That’s how they beat Wyoming, they didn’t back down when the Cowboys stormed back, and Tony Sanchez kept his players believing. If the Broncos jump to their usual fast start, just keep on pushing back, especially since Boise State has had a tendency to pump the breaks after the first quarter. That’s how Wyoming came back and defeated the Broncos, and that should be UNLV’s game plan should they not score first.
Boise State outlook
This Rebels team just gave you the ultimate favor. Now unfortunately you must never return the favor…at least this season. With Wyoming losing and having to face Donnel Pumphrey and SDSU this week, the Broncos jumped over WMU in the College Football Playoff rankings in hopes that they can make and win the championship game. It all sets up nicely: Brett Rypien is on a hot streak, Jeremy McNichols is being his usual weaponized self, but the new wrinkle is that Jake Roh and the tight end game is back. This opens a whole new possibilities on offense and should be used with no discrimination.
Really though the game plan is this: don’t get caught looking ahead to Air Force, focus on this week, and Boise State should be fine. It might not be a 29-point victory like the odds suggest, but it should still be significant.
UNLV gives Boise State a strong fight for the first three-quarters on The Blue, but McNichols eventually wears down the tired front seven of the Rebels. Boise State 52, UNLV 35