Saturday’s matchup between BYU (4-5) and Boise State (6-2) will mark the 11th-consecutive year the two programs have faced off.

The Cougars will travel up north to the “smurf turf” for the final time as an Independent as the program continues its “Independence Farewell Tour.” BYU will officially be a member of the Big 12 Conference on July 1, 2023. With the shift into a conference, BYU had to drop most of its games and does not currently have any future games scheduled against Boise State — though both schools are wanting to keep the series going.

Saturday’s game will be a “blackout” with Bronco fans encouraged to wear black. Boise State leads the all-time series 8-4. BYU is 3-3 against the Broncos at LaVell Edwards Stadium, but just 1-5 on the road. The lone win came in 2020 when the Cougars rolled to a 51-17 victory behind Zach Wilson.

Viewing Information

Date: Saturday, November 5
Time: 5:00 p.m. MT
TV: Fox Sports 2
Announcers: Dan Hellie (play-by-play), Petros Papadakis (analyst)
Location: Albertsons Stadium (36,387) — Boise, Idaho


Boise State 50, BYU 12 (Oct. 30, 2003)
No. 21 Boise State 28, BYU 27 (Sept. 24, 2004)
No. 24 Boise State 7, BYU 6 (Sept. 20, 2012)
BYU 37, Boise State 20 (Oct. 25, 2013)
Boise State 55, BYU 30 (Oct. 24, 2014)
BYU 35, No. 20 Boise State 24 (Sept. 12, 2015)
No. 14 Boise State 28, BYU 27 (Oct. 20, 2016)
Boise State 24, BYU 7 (Oct. 6, 2017)
Boise State 21, BYU 16 (Nov. 3, 2018)
BYU 28, No. 14 Boise State 25 (Oct. 19, 2019)
No. 9 BYU 51, No. 21 Boise State 17 (Nov. 6, 2020)
Boise State 26, No. 10 BYU 17 (Oct. 9, 2021)

Betting Lines

The Spread: Boise State -8.0
Money Line: Boise State -300, BYU +240
Over/Under: 54.5

When betting lines first opened, Boise State was an eight-point favorite. It dropped to 7.5 throughout the week but has since moved back up to 8 as of Friday. The over/under has dropped from 56 to 54.5. In regards to the money line, oddsmakers are favoring Boise State at -300. The money line simply involves picking the winning team. With Boise State at -300, those picking the Broncos would have to risk $300 to win $100. However, for those picking BYU, one would win $240 for his/her $100 wager.

SP+, a predictive analytics tool created by ESPN’s Bill Connelly, has Boise State beating BYU, 29-23. Bill gives BYU a 37% chance of beating the Broncos, although this is higher than what ESPN’s Football Power Index is giving the Cougars. As of right now, the FPI gives BYU just a 34.6% chance of beating Boise State. For an in-depth look at ESPN’s FPI predictions for BYU this year, and how accurate/bad it’s been over the years, click here.


What a difference a month makes.

Coming into October, BYU was ranked in the Top 20 with a 4-1 record. Meanwhile Boise State was 2-2 and was coming off an embarrassing 27-10 loss to UTEP.

Since then, the two programs have gone in opposite directions. BYU has lost four straight games (Notre Dame, Arkansas, Liberty and East Carolina), while the Broncos have won four straight (SDSU, Fresno St., Air Force and Colorado St.). A big part of that is due to the changes that the Broncos have made, including at the quarterback position as Taylen Green leads the way, taking over for senior Hank Bachmeier.

“We got a huge task in front of us and a huge challenge in front of us,” said Boise State head coach Andy Avalos. “We have the upmost respect for what Kalani Sitake has done at BYU and the program he’s built. They’ve played a tough schedule this year… the teams they have face this year are a combined 30-11 and they’ve played a bunch and beat ranked teams too.”

While the offensive has stepped up for the Broncos, it’s Boise State’s defense that has been solid all season long as the blue and orange rank No. 2 in the nation in total defense, allowing just 232.2 yards per game. The Broncos also rank in the Top 15 in several other defensive categories:

Passing yards allowed: No. 1 (133.6 YPG)
Total defense: No. 2 (232.2 YPG)
Rushing defense: No. 13 (98.6 YPG)
Points allowed per game: 17.4

BYU’s offense has struggled mightily since Jaren Hall got injured against Utah State. However, coaches still believe Hall is the better quarterback despite the injuries as highly touted quarterback Jacob Conover has yet to take a snap.

If BYU is going to upset the Broncos on the blue turf, the Cougars are going to need to do so with a balanced attack to help out Hall. One of BYU’s biggest bright spots coming into the season was at the wide receiver position with Puka Nacua and Gunner Romney leading the way. Kody Epps quickly turned into a star to form one of the best wide receiving trios, however, injuries have been brutal as all three have only played together once this season.  Hall won’t have Romney or Epps again on Saturday as the duo continues to battle injuries.

With a depleted wide receiver and running back corps, BYU’s offensive line is going to need to step it up and be the force that many national national pundits though they’d be with several NFL lineman upfront. The running game finally got going as the Cougars racked up 244 rushing yards last week against East Carolina and averaged close to six yards per carry. While BYU won’t need a similar performance on Saturday, they’ll need to do better than what they’ve done in all of its other games where the Cougars are averaging roughly three yards per carry since the Baylor game.

BYU Football: Give The Ball To Jaren Hall

Prediction: Boise State 33, BYU 20

The smurf turf is weird, but there’s not a better home field advantage in all of college football as the Broncos have lost just 13 home games since 2000. Ironically, the largest of these defeats (34 points), came in BYU’s 51-17 win in 2020. The Cougars are hoping for a bounce back win and to get consecutive wins on the smurf turf for the first time in program history.

However, based on BYU’s recent showing the past few weeks, I’m not sure there’s another team they can beat at the FBS level. Yes the Cougars are going through injuries — but so is every other team. On film, players appear to have given up on the season with players giving little effort and going through the motions.

Coach Sitake is a players coach who loves having fun. He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, but the lack of discipline and the lack of changes has killed the season. When Boise State was 2-2, coaches were fired, players lost their spots. Yet for BYU, there seems to be no urgency as Sitake has admitted that nobody is getting fired anytime soon.

But if the struggles continue, BYU AD Tom Holmoe may have not other choice than to act for him. And with just three games left, the Cougars must win two of those if they want to go bowling this season. Hard to think after such a tremendous start to the season along with bringing back one of the most experienced teams in all of college football.

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