No. 25 Bulldogs face Boise State for Mountain West title
No. 25 Fresno State (9-3, 7-1 MWC, CFP No. 25) at Boise State (9-3, 7-1), Mountain West championship, 7:45 p.m., Saturday (ESPN)
Line: Boise State by 8.
Series Record: Boise State leads 13-6.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The Mountain West title is at stake a week after the Bulldogs knocked off the Broncos in Fresno to close out the regular season. It’s an awkward scenario as both knew before last week’s 28-17 Fresno State victory that they would meet each other in the conference title game. The question was where the game ended up and despite having the head-to-head victory the game was put in Boise due to cumulative computer rankings. The winner likely ends up in the Las Vegas Bowl opposite a Pac-12 opponent.
Fresno State QB Marcus McMaryion vs. Boise State’s secondary. How much did the Broncos learn from their mistakes of last week? McMaryion carved up Boise State’s secondary for 332 yards and two touchdowns last week, including an 81-yard strike to KeeSean Johnson in the fourth quarter after the Broncos had pulled within 19-17. It was the first time this season McMaryion topped 300 yards passing although he previously had games with 296 and 299 yards passing this season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Fresno State: Johnson. There are few players to have come through Fresno held in as high regard as Henry Ellard. Johnson can topple one of Ellard’s records against the Broncos. Johnson needs one catch for a school record of 34 straight games with at least one reception. Johnson leads the Bulldogs with 64 catches and eight touchdowns.
Boise State: QBs Brett Rypien and Montell Cozart. Boise State continues to mix its quarterbacks with Rypien getting the majority of the snaps and Cozart getting worked into the action in certain stretches. Rypien was solid last week against Fresno State throwing for 2798 yards but didn’t have a touchdown. It was Cozart who had the Broncos one TD pass.
FACTS & FIGURES
Per Fresno State, this is the second time since 1935 teams that faced in regular season finale will play in conference title game. Other was Pac-12 title game in 2012 between Stanford and UCLA. ... Third time in school history Boise State has faced same opponent twice in one season: Fresno State in 2014 and Nevada in 1990. ... Boise State LB Gabe Perez is out for the season due to a broken wrist suffered against the Bulldogs. ... Win over Boise State last week was Fresno State’s first over a ranked opponent since 2004.
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