Time and Date: 9:00 PM ET - September 23
Broadcast Network: CBS Sports Network
Location: Sun Bowl - El Paso, TX
ESPN FPI: Boise State 89.8%
Line: Boise State -16*
Point Total: O/U 46.5*
All-Time Series: Boise State leads the all-time series 6-0. The Broncos beat UTEP 54-13 in 2021.
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
After a 2021 season that was UTEP’s best in years, it’s been a tough start to the 2022 campaign. The Miners are 1-2 to start the year after a win against New Mexico State, but losses to North Texas and New Mexico.
Last weekend, the Miner offense gave the ball up seven times against UNM. Quarterback Gavin Hardison threw three interceptions and backup Calvin Brownholtz also threw one. While Hardison has a cannon for an arm with 970 passing yards through three games, accuracy is a concern. Hardison has completed 48.4% of his passes.
Through four games, UTEP has entered the red zone just eight times and have come away with a touchdown on two such trips.
While depth in UTEP’s front seven has also been a concern through the first few weeks, a few names have stepped in admirably. Redshirt junior linebacker Cal Wallerstedt and safety Kobe Hylton have 5.5 and 5 TFLS, respectively. As a whole, the UTEP defense is allowing 29 points per game, which is actually modest compared to the rest of the league.
Kicker Gavin Baechle leads C-USA in made field goals with seven on eight attempts. He will likely be a candidate for C-USA Special Teams Player of the Year later this year.
The visiting Boise State Broncos have an opponent in common with UTEP this season. Boise State played New Mexico in week two and won that game 31-14. UTEP lost to New Mexico last week 27-10. New Mexico’s other win this season came in week one when they blew Maine out 41-0. The Broncos blew out an FCS opponent themselves last week with a 30-7 win against UT-Martin.
Touted quarterback Hank Bachmeier has been up and down to start the season. He’s completed 63.3% if his passes with five touchdowns and three interceptions. The Broncos also have Taylen Green backing him up, who is significantly more mobile than Bachmeier. Bachmeier exited their last game with an injury, so it’s possible that Green is the guy, depending on the severity.
WOW Taylen Green is FLYING— The Transfer Portal CFB (@TPortalCFB) September 4, 2022
First career TD is a great one! pic.twitter.com/5UhbKqsXgm
Defensively, the Broncos are allowing 18.3 points per game to start the year. They look like one of the better defenses in the Mountain West so far, though it’s a small sample size. Graduate transfer Linebacker George Tarlas, a native of Greece, is near the top of the league in tackles for loss with four through three games. Boise State’s defense likes to switch up how they line up, so keep an eye on where Tarlas ends up in that regard.
Based on what I’ve seen the last few weeks, I’m not convinced that UTEP are where they need to be. Despite their own issues, Boise State are the better team. Broncos win 34-20.