Two of the top Group of Five teams meet when Memphis hosts Boise State on Saturday.
Boise State-Memphis How To Watch
4 p.m. (ET) Saturday
Boise State (2-2)
Boise State-Memphis Betting line
Memphis -2.5 (-110)
Place College Football Wagers at BetMGM
Boise State: Andy Avalos (19-11)
Memphis: Ryan Silverfield (24-16)
This is the first meeting between the two.
Why This Game Is Important
Both teams are in contention for a New Year’s Six bid, so the winner will have a high-profile victory on its resume over a Group of Five team. This season, all three of their combined losses have come against Power Five teams.
Boise State’s two P5 losses were at Washington, 56-19, and home against UCF, 18-16. Against UCF, the Knights won the game on a 40-yard field goal as time expired. Memphis is coming off last week’s 34-27 loss to Missouri in St. Louis.
Boise State-Memphis Preview
For Boise State:
The Broncos are coming off their best win of the young season, a 34-31 Mountain West win at San Diego State. The win improved Boise State to 13-0 in Mountain West Conference openers.
Sophomore running back Ashton Jeanty rushed for a career-high 205 yards (8.9 avg.) along with two touchdowns. QB Taylen Green completed 12 of 22 passes for 162 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. Green also rushed for 25 yards (2.3 avg.) and one score.
The 6-6, 221-pound Green has been erratic passing the ball. He has thrown for four touchdowns and four interceptions. Green has completed 53.2% of his passes for 738 yards and has rushed for 128 yards (4.7 avg.) and two scores.
Against San Diego State, redshirt sophomore receiver Eric McAllister had five receptions for 90 yards and a TD. Redshirt sophomore LB Marco Notarainni, who is from San Diego, had a team-high eight tackles.
The Broncos are averaging 27.75 points while allowing 30.75. They average 171 yards rushing, which is 45th nationally.
The Tigers couldn’t contain Missouri’s offense, allowing 542 total yards. Memphis, meanwhile, accumulated 399 total yards. The game wasn’t quite as close as the score indicated. Memphis was down 34-20 before scoring on a TD with 1:25 left.
Seth Henigan completed 31 of 47 passes for 316 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions.
This season, he has completed 69.4% of his passes for 1,107 yards, eight touchdowns, but five interceptions.
Blake Watson is the leading rusher with 342 yards (5.9 avg.) and four touchdowns. He also has a team-high 24 receptions for 213 yards and a score, while receiver Roc Taylor has 22 receptions for 297 yards and a touchdown.
Redshirt sophomore linebacker Chandler Martin has a team-high 26 tackles.
The Tigers are averaging 37 points per game while allowing 18.75. The key defensive stat is Memphis is allowing just 22.6% third down conversions (12 of 53). Conversely, Boise State has a 46.55% conversion rate on third down (27 for 58).
Boise State-Memphis Prediction
The pick is Memphis -2.5.
Memphis has a bye next week, which is good since the Tigers then host defending AAC champion Tulane on Oct. 13. With the bye, there should be no looking ahead to the big AAC contest.
The key, actually for both teams, is which quarterback will make the fewer mistakes. Green and Henigan have a combined nine interceptions. The difference-maker could be Watson. In the Tigers’ other close game, a 28-24 home win over Navy, he rushed for 169 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries. A fifth-year player, Watson spent his first four seasons at Old Dominion. He has had to learn a new system, and now with four games under his belt with his new team, he should continue to put up big numbers.
As the line suggests, this one could go either way, but Henigan is the more polished passer, and that could give Memphis the edge, providing he can cut down on the interceptions.