The Broncos host the Cowboys on the blue turf in a key Mountain West battle
The Wyoming Cowboys and Boise State Broncos are both having solid seasons in 2019. At 3-1 in Mountain West play, Wyoming (6-2 overall) is still very much in the hunt for a Mountain Division title and a trip to the conference championship game. Boise State (7-1, 4-0) currently leads the division and the Broncos are also alive in the race for the Group of 5's New Year's Six Bowl bid. Boise State checked in at No. 22 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings.
These two high-quality Group of 5 programs will meet up once again Saturday night in Boise in what has become one of the better rivalries in the Mountain West Conference.
Wyoming at Boise State
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 9 at 10:15 p.m. ET
Spread: Boise State -12.5
When Wyoming Has the Ball
The Cowboys want to make this a slow, physical game and pound the ball at the Broncos. Wyoming averages 239.4 yards per game on the ground, good for 14th in the country. Running back Xazavian Valladay paces that rushing attack. He has 631 yards on the season and is averaging 5.3 yards per carry. He has turned into quite the workhorse as of late, logging 59 carries in his last two games.
Freshmen dual-threat quarterback Sean Chambers has made things happen with his feet this season, but the Cowboys suffered a blow when Chambers was lost for the season following knee surgery. He'll be replaced by Tyler Vander Waal, who is more of a traditional pocket passer.
Boise State will need to play sound, assignment football on defense in order to get stops and prevent Wyoming from putting together long, clock-killing drives.
When Boise State Has the Ball
The Bronco offense goes as freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier goes. Bachmeier has developed into an efficient game manager as the season has progressed. He doesn't get rattled, and he does a great job of getting the ball to the Boise State playmakers in key moments. Boise State's only loss — a 28-25 setback against BYU — came while Bachmeier was out with an injury. His replacement, Chase Cord, tossed two interceptions in that game. Bachmeier has thrown a total of four all season.
With Bachmeier at the helm, the Broncos are a balanced offensive unit that can control the pace with a sound rushing attack or strike quickly through the air with a talented stable of receivers. The most dangerous of those receivers is John Hightower, who averages 18.8 yards per reception.
Ideally, Wyoming will want to focus on defending the Boise State passing attack in order to force the Broncos to run the ball and shorten the game.
Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl is going to come into the game with a game plan that he feels confident in. The issue, however, is going to be whether or not he has the athletes to execute that plan against Boise State, especially with a quarterback change. The matchup of the Bronco receivers against the Wyoming defensive backs leans heavily in favor of Boise State. The Cowboys give up 288.8 yards per game through the air, making them one of the worst teams in the country in that category. It could be a long night for the back end of the Wyoming defense.
Prediction: Boise State 38, Wyoming 20
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo!, SBNation, USA Today and Bleacher Report. He is a three-time FWAA writing contest award winner. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.