#24 Boise St Broncos at #13 Michigan St Spartans
Friday, August 31, 2012, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Spartan Stadium – East Lansing, Michigan
Opening Line: Michigan St -4 1/2
Current Line: Michigan St -7
Opening Total: 51 1/2
Current Total: 46 1/2
Opening Money Line: MSU -255 / BSU +215
Current Money Line: MSU -275 / BSU +235
For the past three seasons, Boise St has opened the season with a win over a ranked BCS Conference team. In 2009, the Broncos beat #14 Oregon 19-8 in Boise. In 2010, Boise St beat #7 Virginia Tech 33-30 in Landover, MD. In 2011, Boise went to Atlanta and beat #19 Georgia 35-21.
This year, Boise takes aim at another ranked opponent on the road as they take on the #13 Michigan St Spartans of the Big Ten. This is the first meeting between the two schools. Boise St is coached by Chris Petersen who is 73-6 in his seventh year as head coach of the Broncos. Michigan St coach Mark Dantonio is in his sixth year with the Spartans.
Last year, Boise St moved from the WAC to the Mountain West. The Broncos finished 12-1 for the second year in a row. The loss came at home against TCU in heartbreaking fashion. TCU took a 36-35 lead after a gutsy 2 point conversion with a minute left. Senior quarterback Kellen Moore led the Broncos into field goal range but freshman kicker dan Goodale missed a 39 yard field goal as time expired, and TCU escaped with the upset. The loss snapped a 65 game home winning streak for the Broncos that dated back to 2001, and also gave TCU the Mountain West title in their final year before moving to the Big 12. Boise St will leave the Mountain West after this season for the Big East. Despite winning every other game by double digits, Boise St had to settle for a berth in the Las Vegas Bowl. The Broncos crushed Arizona St 56-24 in that game. Boise St was 5-8 ATS and the total was 8-5 last season
For Michigan St, it was a successful season last year under quarterback Kirk Cousins. The Spartans finished 11-3 with the only losses coming to Notre Dame, Nebraska and Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis. The Wisconsin game was a rematch of a memorable game played in the regular season in East Lansing. Michigan St won on a 44 yard Hail Mary pass on the last play of the game to take the 37-31 win. The Spartans ended the season with a thrilling 33-30 win in triple overtime over Georgia in the Outback Bowl. Michigan St was 10-4 ATS and the total was 7-7 last season.
Both teams must replace successful quarterbacks who are now in the NFL. Boise St’s Kellen Moore won an NCAA record 50 games in his career along with 142 TD passes, and was drafted by the Detroit Lions. Moore threw for 3,800 yards last year with 43 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Joe Southwick was named the starter for Boise St last week, after backing up Moore for the last two years. Michigan St must replace Kirk Cousins who threw for over 9,100 yards and 66 touchdowns in his career. He was drafted by the Washington Redskins. Andrew Maxwell will start at quarterback for the Spartans.
Boise St returns only six total starters from last year on both sides of the ball. Not only do the Broncos have to replace Moore, but leading rusher Doug Martin and receiver Tyler Shoemaker as well. Sixth year running D.J. Harper returns after his second torn ACL last season. Matt Miller made 62 catches last year and will be the top receiver.
The Boise St defense loses 9 starters from last year, and 7 signed with NFL teams. Losing that kind of talent will hurt, obviously, but the players that are left have the potential to be a solid unit. The defense will be led by corners Jamar Taylor & Jerrell Givens and weak-side linebacker J.C. Percy.
Michigan St running back Le’Veon Bell returns after he rushed for over 900 yards and 13 touchdowns. Junior receiver Bennie Fowler returns after he missed a lot of games with a foot injury last season.
Michigan St is again expected to have one of the nation’s top defenses after they were sixth last year. Junior linebackers Denicos Allen (11 sacks) and Max Bullough (89 tackles) return as does star defensive end William Ghoulston. The secondary will be led by cornerback Johnny Adams and strong safety Isaiah Lewis.
Boise St is 26-12-1 ATS in non-conference games, 21-7 in road games, 20-7 on grass, 4-1 in Friday games, and 1-6 overall. Michigan St is 5-0 ATS overall, 6-1 on grass, and 5-1 at home. Seven of the last nine Boise St games have gone over the total, and five of the last six Michigan St games have also gone over.
The Bronco offense will be fine. Southwick might not put up the numbers the legendary Moore did, but Southwick is very talented. The biggest question for Boise St will be on defense. I think it will be close game. Boise St always seems to step up their game when playing big time BCS opponents. The line opened at Michigan St -4 1/2 but is now at 7. I like the extra 2.5 points, and Boise has a chance to pull off the upset. Expect lots of points even with two new quarterbacks.
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