No, you’re not having deja vu, the Boise State Broncos are playing the Fresno State Bulldogs for the second week in a row. This time, however, there is much more on the line: a Mountain West Conference championship.
Though Boise State enters the game as 9.5 point favorites, in the two team’s meeting last week, Fresno State got the best of the Broncos, winning 28-17. If Boise State hopes to see a better result this week, they are going to have to keep Fresno State receiver KeeSean Johnson in check, after he exploded last week for 119 yards and two touchdowns on six receptions.
“Everyone at Boise State knows how important this game is,” said Boise State student Angel Cantu. “We have a rare opportunity to make up for a devastating loss last week and I’m excited to see our Broncos make the most of that opportunity.”
Boise State has earned a 9-3 record on their journey to the conference championship game, including a 7-1 record against in-conference foes. Fresno State has had a nearly identical path this season, as they too are 9-3 with a 7-1 conference record.
The matchup to watch in this game is the Boise State offense against Fresno State’s defense. Boise State is currently No. 34 in the Football Bowl Subdivision in points scored per game, featuring the three-headed monster: quarterback Brett Rypien, running back Alexander Mattison and receiver Cedrick Wilson.
On the other side of the ball, Fresno State is currently No. 12 in points allowed per game in the nation, and seemed to figure out Boise State’s dynamic offense in last week’s matchup. Whichever of these two units get the upper hand early could be telling in how the game will play out.
In the five years the Mountain West Championship has existed, this will be the second time Boise State and Fresno State have met to fight for the conference title. The previous time came in 2014, where the Broncos crushed the Bulldogs at home 28-14. This was Boise State’s only other Mountain West Championship game appearance, while Fresno State also made it in 2013, defeating the Utah State Aggies 23-17.
The winner of this game will have their second conference championship and move into a tie with San Diego State for the most Mountain West Conference titles.
The game is on Dec. 2, kickoff being at 5:45 p.m. and those unable to attend can watch the game on ESPN.