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Utah State Aggies vs. Boise State Broncos Preview and Prediction

Kent Myers

Kent Myers

Last season's 52-26 loss to Utah State marked a low point for Boise State. The Aggies tied a single-game school record by forcing eight turnovers, and they scored 35 points off those turnovers to snap a 12-game losing streak to the Broncos dating back to 1997.

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Boise State committed seven turnovers in the first half of that game alone — the most first-half turnovers by any FBS team in 10 seasons. The eight total turnovers ended up being the most the Broncos committed in a single game in the program's FBS history.

Revenge will be on Boise State's mind when Utah State travels to Idaho this weekend. The No. 24 Broncos lead the series 15-5 and will be looking to notch their eighth consecutive home victory against the Aggies. Since 2000, Boise State has gone 97-6 at home (.942) and has the nation’s best home winning percentage during that time.

Utah State at Boise State

Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 1 at 10:15 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN2

Spread: Boise State -20

Three Things to Watch

1. Can Kent Myers handle the pressure?

The Utah State quarterback is coming off one of the best performances of his career. Myers threw for 360 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a 27-20 loss to Air Force. He set a career high with 29 completions while notching his second 300-yard passing game as an Aggie.

Boise State is going make it tough for Myers to do much this week. The Broncos lead the nation with 4.33 sacks per game and are tied for 13th in the FBS with 13 total sacks. Against Oregon State, Boise State produced a season-high six sacks and totaled 11 tackles for a loss.

David Moa and Sam McCaskill have led the way in making life miserable for opposing quarterbacks. The defensive line duo has combined for 6.5 sacks and 8.5 TFL through three games.

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That strength up front has helped Boise State force turnovers and turn those mistakes into defensive scores. The Broncos scored on Tyler Horton's 85-yard interception return against Washington State and Darren Lee's 19-yard fumble return against Oregon State in back-to-back weeks.

2. What will Jeremy McNichols do for an encore?

Showcasing explosive passing offenses has been a Boise State trademark for several seasons. This year, the Broncos are just as dangerous on the ground with the all-around play of McNichols.

McNichols put together his career-best performance to date in last week's 38-24 victory over Oregon State. The junior set new personal bests with 208 rushing yards and four total touchdowns. He rushed for 146 yards in the first half alone. McNichols became the first Boise State running back to total at least 200 yards and four touchdowns in a game since Jay Ajayi posted 229 and five against Utah State in 2014.

McNichols is tied for first nationally in scoring (18.0 ppg). He also ranks fifth among FBS players with 182.0 all-purpose yards per game.

3. Can Boise State continue to build on hot start?

For the first time since 2011, Boise State has opened a season with three straight wins. The last five times the Broncos have started a season 3-0, they have won 12 or more games and finished undefeated twice.

Boise State is one of just five FBS teams who have not trailed an opponent yet this season. One reason why the Broncos are leading wire-to-wire each week is the explosiveness of their offense. Boise State currently ranks 20th among FBS teams in both passing offense (321.0 ypg) and total offense (505.3 ypg).

The Broncos have also made a habit of piling up points right out of the gate. In three games, Boise State has outscored its opponents 83-17 in the first half.

Final Analysis

Utah State has not beaten Boise State on the road since 1996. The chances for the Aggies to break the streak this week don't look good. Top running back Devante Mays is sidelined with a leg injury that he suffered against Air Force last week. Without Mays, the Utah State offense is decidedly much more one-dimensional. Boise State is too potent on offense for the Aggies keep up with the Broncos for four quarters.

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Prediction: Boise State 35, Utah State 21

— Written by John Coon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Coon has more than a decade of experience covering sports for different publications and outlets, including The Associated Press, Salt Lake Tribune, ESPN, Deseret News, MaxPreps, Yahoo! Sports and many others. Follow him on Twitter @johncoonsports.