AIR FORCE FALCONS (1-1)
at BOISE STATE BRONCOS (1-1)
Kickoff: Friday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Line: Boise State -23.5, Total: 57.5
Air Force will head to the blue turf on Friday to face heavily favored Boise State.
While Air Force is coming off a dreadful 32-point loss to MWC foe Utah State, Boise State is coming off a 63-14 rebound win after a very disappointing loss to Washington in the season opener. The Falcons (0-2 ATS) look to keep their ground-and-pound running game going Friday. Air Force averages just 90 yards passing a game compared to 285 yards on the ground, which is good for 18th in the country. The Broncos have showed porous run defense (208 YPG), which must change in order to stop the relentless Air Force ground game. Boise and Air Force have only met once in the past 20 years in 2011 when the Broncos ousted the Falcons 37-26 in a much closer game than people expected. Air Force used its run game to keep it close by rushing for 264 yards and dominated the time of possession, with more than 36 minutes to less than 24 for the Broncos. Air Force will have to put last weeks' blowout loss behind them, which they have not been good at in the past, with a miserable 1-13 ATS mark coming off a loss of 21+ points to a conference rival. Air Force overall is just 3-12 ATS over the past two years. Since Chris Petersen has taken over the Broncos, they have become a perennial powerhouse and are a very profitable 51-37 ATS overall, including 26-14 ATS in the first half of the season.
Can Air Force keep this game relatively close in such a tough venue to play in? For the answer, connect to College Football Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 regular season and bowl season. The experts have a combined 59% ATS (20-14) mark in the first two weeks of the college football season, highlighted by StatFox Brian's 71% ATS (5-2) record and StatFox Scott's 70% ATS mark (7-3), which includes a 4-1 ATS record in games that are not featured on the marquee games grid published on Page 11 in the Platinum Sheet.
Air Force junior Jonathan Lee has been dynamic, rushing for 149 yards on just 18 carries for the year. Alongside Lee is Broam Hart who has 125 yards of his own on 25 carries. Regardless of the run game, the Falcons will have no shot Friday if they don't show up defensively like last week against Utah State when they allowed 577 total yards and 52 points. The famous blue turf also may be a problem for the Falcons on Friday. You would think Air Force's ground game would flourish on turf, but the Falcons are just 4-10 ATS when playing on the foreign substance. Air Force hasn't always been known to get off to great starts either, going 2-6 ATS in September.
The Broncos come into Friday night still trying to forget about their upset loss to Washington in the season opener. In that defeat to the Huskies, Boise State was completely dominated, allowing a total of 592 yards and letting Washington convert 11-of-15 third downs. Senior QB Joe Southwick played very well last week, tossing five touchdowns with no picks. He didn't fare as well against the much tougher Huskies defense, which he did not find the end zone against, but did find the opposing team once. Jay Ajayi will look to make Southwick's life easier by getting an effective run game going. Ajayi has averaged just 4.6 yards a carry this year, which has been disappointing, compared to his 6.7 YPC average last year. Boise State, once the Gonzaga of college football, has become a household name with big expectations. This has brought on large point spreads, which the Broncos have been bad at covering. Boise is 1-6 ATS in the past seven games when the spread is 21.5 to 30 points. The well-known blue turf hasn't been as kind as expected ATS either. The Broncos are just 4-10 ATS in home games since the start of 2011.