MWC Picks ATS: San Diego State Aztecs at Boise State Broncos

Jay Ajayi is well over 1,000 yards, but can he bring Boise State a MWC title?
Jay Ajayi is well over 1,000 yards, but can he bring Boise State a MWC title?

San Diego St-Boise St.
Time: 10:15 PM ET
TV: ESPN U
Spread: BS -14
Total: 56

Betting Odds courtesy of Bovada

The San Diego State Aztecs have won three of its past four games but traveling to Boise State this week will prove tough. The Boise State Broncos are 7-2 on the season with a 4-1 Mountain West record, and are 14-point favorites in this game, with the college football odds showing the total set very high at 56 points.

San Diego State has a very strong defense, and it will be needed against the Broncos. The Aztecs allow 20.2 points per game this season, which would be outstanding if the offense would put up more points. With just a plus-3.4 point differential, it’s difficult to manage much more than a .500 record. The Aztecs are particularly poor passing the ball, getting just 181.1 passing yards per game, good for 107th in the nation.

Last week, the Aztecs entered the fourth quarter with a seven-point lead, but moved up 35-21 on a 28-yard TD pass Ezell Ruffin with 5:32 to go. Neither team would score over the final five minutes. The Aztecs were particularly effective on third downs, completing 9-of-14 while also committing no turnovers the entire game.

Quinn Koehler was effective from the slot when passing plays were run, racking up 249 yards on just 14 completed passes, while getting three TDs from his receiving corp. Donell Pumphrey had a good rushing game with 142 yards including a TD.

Boise State is riding a four game win streak with victories over Nevada, Fresno State, BYU and New Mexico. Last week against the Lobos was a high scoring affair, as the teams combined for 109 points, in a 60-49 Broncos win. The week prior, Boise State scored 55 in a win over BYU, and the offense is averaging 37.7 points per game.

Offensively, the Broncos have no real glaring weaknesses. The team ranks 15th in the nation in passing yardage (312.7 per game) and 34th in the rush (208.4 yards per game). The Broncos have played just one ranked opponent this season, in its opener against then-No. 18 Ole Miss. A loss to Air Force on Sept 27 accounts for the other loss, and Boise State will face its toughest remaining challenge in closing the season at home against Utah State.

Grant Hedrick has just had a monster year at QB for Boise. He’s thrown for 2,608 yards with a 71.8 percent completion ratio, while racking up 16 TDs (though he does have 11 INTs). His passer rating of 156.8 is a reflection of his good WR corp which features ten players with 100-plus yards on the season and four of those have 400 yards or more. Shane Williams-Rhodes leads the team in total receptions (56), total yardage (485) and TDs (6).

In the backfield, Jay Ajayi has been dominant. He’s rushed for 1,146 yards on the season with 14 TDs while averaging 5.0 yards per carry. Behind him, Hedrick is the second leading rusher with 420 yards and five TDs. Williams-Rhodes has carried the ball nine times and has 136 yards on those attempts (15.1 yards per carry), but is not an option the Broncos will really look to turn to, despite those results in a small sample size.

All things said, this Boise State offense is really dangerous but the Aztecs have a decent shot at containing it. This should make for a fun game, without preposterously high scoring, but 56 points by college football odds could be low if Boise State gets cooking.

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