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Utah State Aggies vs. Fresno State Bulldogs
Where and when: Bulldog Stadium, Fresno, California, Saturday, 7 pm EST
A win can be huge for both the Utah State Aggies along with the Fresno State Bulldogs. Each of these squads will meet on Saturday night at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, California, for a 7 pm EST start. PointsBet has favored the Bulldogs by 6 points while the total has been set at 58.5 points. The Bulldogs may have won seven of the last ten matchup versus the Aggies, however, Utah State has picked up wins in their last two contests, including a 56-14 win in 2015.
Fresno State continues to recover from a rough, 0-2 start to the year in winning four of their last six games. However, they have been unable to get on a winning streak after picking up consecutive wins over the Sacramento State Hornets along with the Aggies of New Mexico State in late September. Soon after their win over the Aggies, they fell by 19 points to the Air Force Falcons on the road only to destroy the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels at home a week later.
And while their high-scoring offense was able to post 31 versus the Rams of Colorado State at home in their next outing, the defense allowed 41 points (178-rushing, 322-passing) in a defeat before being able to sneak out a slim road victory over the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors last weekend.
Despite the win, the Bulldogs gave up 24 points to the home team by halftime while surrendering 209 rushing yards for the game in addition to 322 in the air. The defensive unit for the Bulldogs have allowed 38 points or more in three of their last four while giving up 32 points per game for the season. In all, at 4-4, they are not only vying for a bowl game, but as the second-place team within the Mountain West’s West division, they seek to keep pressure on the West’s top team in the San Diego State Aztecs, whom they will face in next week’s contest.
Utah State enters this matchup fourth in the Mountain division of the conference at 4-4 along with 3-1 in the conference. They will certainly have a chance to propel themselves not only with a win over the Bulldogs, but, with matchups versus third-place Wyoming Cowboys along with first-place Boise State Broncos all at home and in consecutive weeks, one can say that the Aggies are in a critical position to make a play to win the conference. Of course, that is only if they can somehow find some consistency on both sides of the ball.
After beginning the year at 3-1, Utah State has dropped three of their last four games. Aside from scoring 36 points in a home matchup versus the Nevada Wolfpack on October 19th, starting QB Jordan Love and company posted a total of 27 points in three games combined. However, look for the Aggies to somehow get their mojo back versus a Bulldogs defensive unit that surrenders almost 250 yards per game in 2019. On the other hand, the defense for Utah State, which is not only one of the worst defenses in the division, will certainly get a workout from senior QB Jorge Reyna as he has led Fresno State to the endzone often by throwing for slightly over 1800 yards.
Bulldogs pick up much-needed win over Rainbow WarriorsRonnie Rivers along with Jorge Reyna combined to rush for 199 yards versus Hawaii, with Rivers scoring twice.Also, Reyna passed for 188 yards in the contest while also throwing for a score to receiver Jared Rice with 10 minutes remaining in the fourth period, which gave the Bulldogs a 38-24 lead. In all, Fresno State destroyed Hawaii with 290 total yards on the ground, which was very much in line with the Bulldogs’ average for the year (183 yards per).
Rivers leads the team in this department with 553 yards from scrimmage in addition to posting ten scores. Furthermore, the junior’s two scores marked the third-straight game with two touchdowns. Unfortunately, offensive lineman Matt Smith has been ruled out for the season with a shin injury, which could very well affect the rushing attack on Saturday.
Reyna and the 63rd ranked passing attack in the country, nonetheless, should really be chomping at the bit to face an Aggies defensive secondary that is ranked 104th in defending the pass (258 yards per). Important to note that Reyna has thrown for over 1800 yards on the season while coming just 12 yards shy of passing for 200+ yards in four consecutive games versus Hawaii. His favorite target happens to be sophomore Zane Pope who, despite having just 336 yards along with a score on the year, is averaging over 10 yards per catch.
Defensively, the Bulldogs have their work cut out for them as they will face an offense for the Wolfpack that is averaging just over 420 yards, total, per outing. Their passing attack averages 266 yards per game while Fresno State has not done well in defending the pass all year (245 yds/game). Furthermore, the Bulldogs have also been susceptible to giving up yards on the ground as well (165 yards per).
Aggies seek to halt two-game road skid with win over BulldogsAnd while the defense for the Aggies will also have their hands full as well in battling a high-scoring offense for the Bulldogs, the unit may be short-handed with linebacker David Woodward continuing to be questionable with an undisclosed injury while cornerback Zahodri Jackson continuing to remain on the injured list with an undisclosed ailment. Important to note the Utah State has not done well in defending the pass (258 yds/game) or rush (186 yds/game) all season.
However, their offense, led by junior Jordan Love, continues to be the tip of the spear in the team’s success. Love has thrown for over 2000 yards on the season, including coming off a 300+ yard performance in a blowout home loss versus the Cougars of BYU last weekend. However, the junior also three three picks versus the Cougars while, for the season, has posted nine touchdowns in addition to a whopping 12 picks. His favorite target is sophomore Siaosi Mariner, who is averaging 16 yards per catch, while recording 527 yards on 34 receptions in addition to four scores on the year.
The final component to this three-headed monster offense happens to be senior running back Gerold Bright. Bright is coming off a 12 rush, 66 yard, 1 TD rushing night versus the Cougars while recording 535 yards along with five scores in 2019. Also, the back has proven that he can catch the ball as well in having 19 receptions for 116 yards. With the way the Bulldogs have been allowed teams to push them around up front this year, look for the Aggies to attempt to create some opportunities up front that can open up their passing game with Love and company.
Trends from Covers.com
- Bulldogs are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Bulldogs are 24-9-2 ATS last 35 on fieldturf.
- Bulldogs are 19-5-2 ATS last 26 after an ATS win.
- Aggies are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
- Aggies are 1-4 ATS last 5 games overall.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Despite a huge blowout at home versus the Aggies in 2015, Fresno State has dominated against the number versus their Mountain West foes in recent years. And with the Bulldogs seemingly heating up at the conclusion of the year, I certainly look for them to put on an outstanding performance versus the Aggies on Saturday night. Again, the Aggies have a solid passing attack with Love and the crew, and this should keep them in the game for much of the contest. However, their offense has slowed down the past two weeks while Bulldogs continue to exhibit their ability to move the ball on the opposition. In all, look for the Bulldogs to be more consistent at home while covering the six.
Prediction: Fresno State Bulldogs -6
Full-Game Total Pick
The over has been the play in the last two games amongst these two teams with the offenses racking up a total of over 600 yards in each contest. Furthermore, with Fresno State playing at home while having the bulk of the momentum at this point, expect them to pull away from the Aggies at Bulldog Stadium (where the over has been the result in three of the last four games). Again, each of these defenses are prone to allowing tons of offense for opponents. With that being the case, the over is indeed the strong play for two units that have each given up over 70 points, total, in their last two outings.
Prediction: Over 58.5