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Mountain West rivalries resume Saturday as #19 Boise State hosts the New Mexico Lobos.
The Lobos rescheduled their Nov. 9 game vs. Air Force following the abrupt passing of defensive lineman Nahje Flowers. The 21-year-old’s death sent somber waves through a program that’s won eight contests since 2017. Following bereavement, New Mexico looks for its third 2019 win this weekend. NM will now host the Falcons Nov. 23.
Boise State enters nationally-ranked, atop the MW Mountain Conference and 8-1 overall. That success has become tentative recently, though, as the Broncos suffered their lone 2019 defeat Oct. 19 vs. BYU before stern tests in consecutive wins over Hawaii and Wyoming.
Experiencing turbulence of late, BSU enters Saturday a prohibitive -28 point favorite.
Lobos seek on-field return after off-field misfortuneLosing their teammate, friend and program veteran redefined a year of struggles for the Lobos. With hard on-field luck, Flowers’ situation compounds matters, but gives greater life perspective. UNM teammates remember the junior lineman with these comments, per KRQE News 13:
“His smile was contagious. He smiled and it lit up the room, everyone was smiling. You didn’t know what you were smiling about, but you were smiling.” UNM Center Kyle Stapley.
“We are doing as good as we can be doing, getting out here working, doing the best we can to not forget by any means, but keep pushing forward as he would want us to do.” UNM Defensive Lineman Trent Sellers.
The Lobos have dropped six straight contests and are in danger of failing to surpass three wins for the third-consecutive season. Most recently, NMU fell 21-10 vs. host Nevada. Carson Strong’s 28 of 40, two-touchdown, 305-yard outing exploited New Mexico’s #120 FBS defense. However, the Lobos’ offense became its undoing, laboring all afternoon while falling well under its #103 FBS-ranked 23.4 ppg average.
After dedicating this season’s remainder to Flowers’ memory, perhaps a two-way spark will emerge Sat. from New Mexico.
With Bachmeier ailing, Boise State looks for passing offense from CordBacksliding since touted freshman Hank Bachmeier’s undisclosed injury, backup signal-caller Chase Cord’s recent performances have left BSU on shaky ground. Cord’s 19 of 30, one touchdown, one interception, 190-yard performance nearly faltered last weekend vs. one-dimensional Wyoming. If not for the Broncos’ timely defensive stand, and Eric Sachse’s steady leg, Boise State might’ve lost its second game in three weeks.
During a come-from-behind effort, the Broncos’ defense held Wyoming to 283 yards, as Ty Vander Waal replaced injured dual-threat signal-caller Sean Chambers. With Chambers lost for the season, Vander Waal’s 15 of 23, 160-yard outing yielded no aerial scores. Though, Vander Waal and feature back Xazavian Valladay’s scoring scramble nearly stole BSU’s national recognition.
While Boise State coach Bryan Harsin remains mum concerning Bachmeier’s status, the Bronco’s will need bounce-back offensive performances to cover Sat.’s lofty spread. This season, the Broncos average 35.4 ppg (#24 FBS) & allow 22.7 ppg (#29).
- Broncos are 7-0-1 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
- Broncos are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
Trends courtesy of covers.com
- Lobos are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game.
- Lobos are 3-14 ATS in their last 17 conference games.
- Lobos are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Lobos are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games on fieldturf.
- Lobos are 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games following a straight up loss.
- Lobos are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in November.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
If Bachmeier opens today, expect a solid BSU cover vs. a Lobos defense which allows 35.8 ppg and 490.2 total yards. If Cord opens, the spread will obviously be more difficult for Boise State to reach -though Cord tossed three touchdowns vs. Hawaii’s defense which owns a profile akin to New Mexico’s. Also consider that BSU is 7-0-1 ATS when allowing less than 20 points in their previous game. Offensive lulls aren’t routine, especially at home for the Broncos. Expect a clean BSU cover as the Mountain West leader steadies for a season-ending run with Air Force nipping at its heels for division honors.
Full-Game Total Pick
Inspired from recent off-field tragedies, this weekend New Mexico will play its best football since opening the season 2-1. The Lobos highlighted those two wins by adding 39 and 55 points, respectively. Don’t expect more than 31 points from an offensively-challenged Lobos bunch today, but do expect enough to aid Boise State’s outburst while the teams reach Over Saturday’s 59-point spread. Over is 5-2 in Boise State’s last seven games vs. a team with a losing record. Over is 9-3 in Lobos last 12 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game. Take the Over.