Boise State (5-3) at Colorado State (4-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 2, 8 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hughes Stadium (32,500) -- Fort Collins, Colorado. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: BSU 4-0, CSU 2-1. Away Record: BSU 1-3, CSU 2-2. Neutral Record: BSU 0-0, CSU 0-1. Conference Record: BSU 3-1, CSU 2-1. Series Record: Boise State leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Boise State Broncos hope to kick off the month of November on a positive note as they clash with the Colorado State Rams in Mountain West Conference action at Hughes Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Broncos went into last Friday night's meeting against BYU in Provo with a 50-game win streak in contests held during the month of October, but that all came to an end as Boise State suffered a 37-20 setback to the Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Even though BSU had a three-game win streak come to an end, the team is still tied with Utah State for the top spot in the MWC's Mountain Division with a record of 3-1.
Boise State, which had won 21 consecutive games against opponents from the state of Utah, now have three regular-season defeats for the first time since 2005 when the squad opened with back-to-back setbacks to Georgia and Oregon State and then fell to Fresno State in league play in November.
As for the Rams, they've rebounded from a 1-3 start to the season by winning two straight and three of their last four in order to even their overall record at 4-4. Last Saturday, Colorado State was in Hawaii taking on the Rainbow Warriors, and nearly let a huge first-half effort go to waste before pulling out a 35-28 victory.
Colorado State, the only program in the MWC that has played a neutral-site game this season, is currently third in the Mountain Division standings with a mark of 2-1.
Boise State has won both previous encounters with the Rams, including a 42-14 victory just last season.
The Broncos defense was both hot and cold in the first quarter, giving up more yards than it had during the entire meeting between the teams a season ago, but at the same time permitting just seven points. In the end, BSU surrendered 568 yards on 91 plays run by the Cougars in last Friday's setback.
Offensively, Grant Hedrick made his first career start at quarterback, stepping in for an injured Joe Southwick, and converted 25-of-42 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown, but was sacked twice and intercepted once. Running back Jay Ajayi was responsible for a game-high 151 yards on 23 carries, but all of that mattered little as the visitors suffered three lost fumbles and turned the ball over on downs a total of three times as well.
With Hedrick under center now for the Broncos, the offense takes on a slightly different look and the rest of the players on that side of the ball have to get used to the change. Still, Boise State is one of the top producing teams in the MWC and ranks 20th in the country with 495.0 ypg in total offense. A large part of that is due to the efforts of Ajayi who is averaging close to six yards per attempt and has scored 12 touchdowns on 158 attempts, although he has also shown a propensity for losing the ball from time to time.
As a group, the Broncos are generating 222.8 ypg on the ground, leading to 25 TDs, with the former average rivaling the team's passing (227.0 ypg) and the latter easily exceeding what Hedrick and Southwick have combined for (13 TDs) to this point.
Defensively, for a team that has been outstanding on both sides of the ball for several years, Boise State has had more than a few hiccups, permitting 414.8 ypg which is 79th in the country.
Kapri Bibbs ran for 137 yards and three touchdowns as the Rams held on to defeat the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors last weekend. Bibbs, who now has 12 rushing TDs on the season to establish a new high for a Colorado State sophomore and is tied for the fifth-most in a single season for any Rams player, carried the ball a career-high 33 times in the close call.
Quarterback Garrett Grayson converted 15-of-26 passes for 177 yards and a score for a Colorado State squad which has now won back-to-back conference road games for the first time since 2002, with much of the credit going to Bibbs who has registered three TDs in each of the last two outings. Also having a big game in Honolulu was linebacker Max Morgan, who complemented his 15 tackles with a 73-yard fumble return for a touchdown.
Morgan has a team-best 75 tackles, while Aaron Davis follows closely behind with 71. Making the most of his 46 tackles is Shaquil Barrett who leads the Rams with 13.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks, the latter being a huge portion of the unit's overall total of 17 sacks.
Even with the Broncos operating with their second-string quarterback these days they are still considered a favorite to take down the Rams, which is a testament to the coaching of Chris Petersen and his staff.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boise State 31, Colorado State 21
10/30 10:33:38 ET