MW title at stake as No. 25 Fresno St faces No. 19 Boise St
Mountain West championship
No. 25 Fresno State (10-1, 7-1, No. 25 CFP) at No. 19 Boise State (10-2, 7-1, No. 22 CFP), Saturday, 7:45 p.m. EST (ESPN)
Line: Boise State by 2½.
Series record: Boise State leads 15-6.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The Broncos and Bulldogs met for the conference title a year ago on the blue turf with Boise State pulling out a 17-14 victory. Fresno State earned its spot in the conference title game two weeks ago, but the Broncos needed a win over Utah State in the regular season finale to earn their spot. The Broncos also hold a 24-17 victory over the Bulldogs three weeks ago in Boise. The winner could land a New Year’s Six bowl game if No. 7 UCF loses.
Boise State run game vs. Fresno State defense. The Broncos got a huge performance from RB Alexander Mattison (144 yards rushing and two TDs) and some key scrambles from QB Brett Rypien (30 yards) to rally from a 17-3 deficit in the first meeting. Boise State finished with 179 yards rushing, the second-most allowed all season by Fresno State’s defense.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Fresno State: QB Marcus McMaryion played well in the first meeting, throwing for 283 yards and a touchdown, but Fresno State’s offense failed to convert a third-down attempts in the second half and was shut out after scoring on the opening drive of the second half. That’s not all on McMaryion but he must be even better this time around.
Boise State: Rypien was named the Mountain West offensive player of the year, the first Boise State player to earn the honor since Kellen Moore in 2011. He was great in the first game against Fresno State, going 24 of 29 for 269 yards.
FACTS & FIGURES
Third time the teams will have met in the regular season and the MWC title game. Boise State has won the title game both times previously: 28-14 in 2014 and 17-14 last year. ... Fresno State is 1-2 in previous title game appearances. The Bulldogs beat Utah State in 2013. They are 0-10 all-time at Boise. ... Saturday will be fourth meeting in past 371 days. Combined score in previous three meetings: Fresno State 59, Boise State 58. ... Fresno State LB Jeff Allison was named Mountain West defensive player of the year.
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