SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 15: Jamaal Williams #21 of the BYU Cougars celebrates a touchdown during a game against the University of Utah Utes during the first half of a college football game September 15, 2012 at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
BYU and Boise State open a long series this Thursday in Boise.
The BYU Cougars travel north to Idaho to play the first game of what is slated to be a 12-game series with the Boise State Broncos on Thursday night. The regional rivals will square off for the first time since 2004, when Boise escaped with a one-point win as BYU missed a field goal as time expired.
Missing field goals is fresh on the minds of Bronco Mendenhall's Cougars for another reason, too, as BYU moves on after missing a potential game-tying field goal as time expired last week in its rivalry match with Utah.
Boise State recovered from its disappointing Week 1 loss at Michigan State with a convincing 39-12 win over Miami of Ohio on Saturday. The 1-1 Broncos are 19-0 against teams from the state of Utah, and haven't lost a home game in September since 2001.
The Broncos are led by senior running back D.J. Harper, who ran for 162 yards and posted three touchdowns in last week's win. Junior quarterback Joe Southwick is completing 63 percent of his passes, and although Boise State ranks just 65th in total offense, its offensive S&P+ rating is 31st.
BYU is the opposite -- both of Boise and of what people are used to seeing out of the Cougars. The offense was wildly inconsistent last week against Utah as senior quarterback Riley Nelson struggled with ball security. His offense has an S&P+ rating of 92. The BYU defense, however, has been one of the best in the country. Led by play-making linebacker Kyle Van Noy, the Cougars give up just 241 yards per game, good for an S&P+ rating of sixth nationally.
Game time/date: Thurs., Sept 20, 7:00 p.m. MT
Location: Boise, Idaho
Odds: Boise by 6.5
Matchup History: Boise State leads the all-time series 2-0 (50-12 in 2003, 28-27 in 2004).
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