Dane Miller’s 2022 Mountain West Championship Preview
n a game featuring two programs that turned their seasons around, Boise State and Fresno State face off in the Mountain West Championship.
The teams met once before this season, but Bulldog quarterback Jake Haener wasn’t available and the result of that game is now mostly meaningless.
With everything to play for and history on the line, each team promises to leave all that they have on the field.
I preview the game here and the picks of our senior writers and broadcasters appear at the bottom.
Fresno State at Boise State
Saturday, December 3
1:00 pm PT, FOX
Jake Haener has a chance to cement his legacy with a victory over Boise State in the Mountain West Championship Game.
Returning the Bulldogs from the dead after suffering an injury early in the year against USC, Haener faces one of the elite defenses of College Football.
Andy Avalos’s group is No. 9 in the country in scoring defense, No. 3 in passing yards allowed per game, and No. 19 in interceptions forced. That’s a tall order for the spread-pass attack that Fresno State runs.
Matched up against such a formidable group, the Bulldog run game is arguably the deciding factor. Jordan Mims has had an inconsistent season that’s varied from pure ineffectiveness to satisfactory domination.
Coming off a three-touchdown game against Wyoming, the senior is on track to deliver the goods.
The production Mims provides could help to open the passing game just enough for Haener to take advantage. An effective ground game would keep the BSU defensive backs honest and create space for the FSU receivers.
On the flip side, if Mims struggles to get going, Fresno State could be made one-dimensional. If that happens, Haener will have to single-handedly win the game himself and might be forced into interceptions.
The Bulldogs have been able to get away with poor rushing performances at times this season, but need their senior running back to shine in Idaho.
On defense, the game plan could be relatively straightforward: Contain Taylen Green. The Boise State quarterback is a constant threat to run and has the speed to eviscerate the Fresno State “D.”
Improving as the season has progressed, Green is arguably in peak form. He threw four touchdowns against Utah State while rushing for 91 yards with a score on the ground.
Talent like that is nearly impossible to stop and Fresno State will have its hands full.
Still, a single interception or forced fumble could change the game and FSU might be aggressive in trying to force one.
But if the Bronco rushing attack is hitting on all cylinders, the Fresno State defense could get gashed for chunk plays over the top and quarterback keepers.
It’s a toss-up game, but one that undoubtedly features the top teams in the Mountain West Conference. Whoever wins will be deserving of the trophy and can truly claim to be the best team in the league.
Game Picks from our Senior Writers and Broadcasters
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