Boise State (2-1) at Virginia (1-2)
When: Friday, September 25th, 2015
Where: Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA
Time: 8:00 ET
TV: ESPN Radio: XM 193
The Boise State Broncos make the trek across the country without their starting quarterback to take on the Virginia Cavaliers. Starter Ryan Finley broke his ankle in last week’s win over Idaho State. Sophomore Thomas Stuart and freshman Brett Rypien will share the quarterback position against Virginia after having success in the easy win over the Bengals. Virginia coach Mike London is preparing his defense on the style differences – Stuart is a running threat while Rypien is a drop-back thrower in the model of his uncle Mark Rypien, the former Washington Redskins star. Stuart received first call after Finley’s injury and went 9-of-13 for 69 yards and one touchdown, while Rypien excelled in the second half by going 8-of-9 for 126 yards. Sophomore running back Jeremy McNichols has rushed for 204 yards and seven touchdowns while senior receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes has a team-best 18 receptions for 173 yards but hasn’t yet found the end zone. The Broncos won their opener over Washington before losing 35-24 at BYU. They open their conference schedule next week at home against Hawaii. Boise State owns the 2nd best rush defense in the country allowing only 45.7 yards a game.
The Virginia Cavaliers will end their tough non-conference schedule tonight. Virginia opened up the season losing 34-16 at UCLA, then came up short at home 34-27 against Notre Dame. Last week, the Cavs had some trouble with William & Mary before pulling out a 35-29 victory. Virginia doesn’t have much of a running game and going up against Boise’s tough run defense will be a challenge. Junior quarterback Matt Johns has passed for 790 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions so far this year. Junior wideout Canaan Severin has a team-high 19 receptions for 264 yards and the Cavaliers have another solid threat available in senior T.J. Thorpe, a transfer from North Carolina who is now healthy after breaking his clavicle on Aug. 12. Running back Taquan Mizzell has 155 rushing yards, but has been used mostly in the passing game with 17 receptions for 233 yards and two touchdowns. The Virginia defense is allowing 444 yards a game, ranked 102nd out of 128 teams.
It will be interesting to see how these two young Boise quarterbacks handle their first road game against a power conference. Look for Virginia to go mostly through the air tonight with Johns. Boise isn’t as good as they have been the last 10-12 years. I think the Cavs can keep this close and pull out a win.
Pick: Virginia +3