Boise State vs. UNLV prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Friday night’s matchup between the Broncos and Rebels.
When: Friday, Nov. 18 – 9:00 p.m. ET
Where: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Seven straight wins to open the season had Boise State (9-1) in contention for the College Football Playoff, but a 30-28 loss on a safety to Wyoming ended any hope the Broncos had at making it into the top four spots. Since then, though, Bryan Harsin’s team has won back-to-back games against San Jose State and Hawaii. The 52-16 rout of the Rainbow Warriors this past weekend came in Honolulu.
UNLV (4-6) hasn’t been in the conversation for the CFP at all, but Tony Sanchez’s team is coming off of a win. The Rebels had lost two games in a row to Colorado State and San Jose State before taking on Wyoming this past weekend at home. UNLV found itself in a shootout with the Cowboys, and it took the Rebels three overtime sessions to find the win.
There haven’t been many chapters in the Boise State-UNLV saga, but it’s been the Broncos who have taken control of it, 6-3. Boise State has won the last four meetings and took last season’s meeting in Las Vegas, 55-27.
What To Know About Boise State
Jeremy McNichols has been the most valuable member of the Broncos this season, and he showed out once again in the win over Hawaii. Boise State’s star tailback was given 16 carries, and he racked up 153 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Alexander Mattison added 40 rushing yards on 10 carries but never made his way into the end zone.
The spotlight was also on Brett Rypien, who completed 18-of-22 passes for 338 yards and four touchdowns. The sophomore quarterback also ran for a score. Two of his four passing touchdowns went to Thomas Sperbeck, who reeled in five catches for 114 yards. Cedrick Wilson caught seven balls for 141 yards and a touchdown. And Alec Dhaenens also caught a six-yard touchdown, which was his only grab of the game.
What to Know About UNLV
Just as Rypien shined for Boise State, it was quarterback Kurt Palandech who played exceptionally for the Rebels in their win over Wyoming. He connected on 20-of-32 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns. One of them went to Jericho Flowers, who hauled in three passes for 65 yards. Another scoring strike went to Andrew Price, and the other went to Xzaviar Campbell. Price and Campbell combined for four receptions and 41 receiving yards.
Palandech did damage on the ground, too. He ran the ball 16 times and picked up 158 yards while also navigating his way across the goal line. He got help from Campbell, who rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. And David Greene supplied 70 rushing yards and two scores on 14 rushing attempts.
Offense: Boise State – McNichols has been unstoppable all season long, and Rypien is coming off of a great game.
Defense: Boise State – The Broncos are ranked No. 51 in total defense, allowing 389.1 yards per game. UNLV ranks No. 80 (427 yards/game).
Special Teams: UNLV – Evan Pantels has converted all 39 of his extra point attempts, and he’s 11-of-12 on field goal tries.
Coaching: Boise State – Harsin gets the nod without question.
Matchup To Watch
Jeremy McNichols vs. UNLV defense
McNichols can do it all, and he’s been dangerous all season long. He can run in between the tackles. He can run outside and turn up on the perimeter. And Boise State loves to get him involved in the passing game. For UNLV, the focus has to be for all 11 guys to keep an eye on the Broncos’ star halfback. The Rebels will have to diagnose plays quickly and wrap up when they get their hands on McNichols.
Spread: Boise State -27.5
Over/Under: No line as of publication
Boise State vs. UNLV Prediction
This one won’t even be close. UNLV simply won’t be able to hang with the kind of power Boise State can generate on offense. McNichols will go off for yet another game with at least 100 rushing yards. He’ll end up putting two touchdowns up on the board for the Broncos — from the running game alone. Rypien will tag on three or four more, and it will be all Broncos, all the time. Boise State wins easily.
Boise State vs. UNLV Score Prediction: Boise State 52, UNLV 27