Late action on the opening Thursday (8:00pm ET) features the Bosie St. Broncos led by new head coach Bryan Harsin traveling to Atlanta, GA to take on Hugh Freeze’s 18th ranked Ole Miss Rebels of the SEC in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff at the Georgia Dome. Boise St. finished with a disappointing for them 8-5 record and will be looking to bounce back this year after the departure of head coach Chris Petersen, while Ole Miss has high expectations after they also finished 8-5 a year ago with 3 losses by a touchdown or less.
On offense Boise St. will feature junior tailback Jay Ajayi who ran for 1,425 yards last season, and . Defensively the Broncos ranked 73rd nationally in pass defense last season, which could spell trouble against an explosive Ole Miss passing game. The Broncos did rank 12th overall in 2013 in total defense with 315.6 yards per game allowed, but they were 51st in scoring defense with 24.8 points per game allowed. Quarterback Grant Hedrick returns after completing 69% of his passes with 16 TDs through the air and 6 on the ground in only 7 games last season.
Ole Miss returns an offensive line that averages 320 lbs. and experienced playmakers at quarterback in Bo Wallace who has 26 career starts and wide receiver in sophomore Laquon Treadwell who was the SEC Freshman of the Year last season and had 72 receptions for 608 yards and 5 TDs. Treadwell should easily surpass those totals this season with more targets after receiver Donte Moncrief departed for the NFL. Wallace can make plays with his legs (355 yards rushing, 6 TDs) as well as his arm (3,346 yards passing), and led a unit that averaged 473.3 yards per game and played fast with an average of 78.3 plays per game. The Rebels return 16 starters overall, including 9 on defense. Last season the pass rush ranked 91st nationally but that should improve this year with the Nkemdiche brothers (Robert and Denzel) both poised for breakout seasons. With All-American safety Cody Prewitt manning the secondary the Rebels should be strong on the back end as well.
Boise St. vs. Ole Miss Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Boise St. Broncos +10
@Ole Miss Rebels -10
Over 53.5 (-110)
Under 53.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from BetOnline.ag
Boise St. vs. Ole Miss Pick:
Boise St. went 0-2 against power conference teams last year with losses at Washington in their opener and a loss to Oregon St. in the Hawaii Bowl. Their other losses came against BYU, Fresno St. and San Diego St., so their losses came against probably the five best teams on their schedule. Ole Miss has won 5 consecutive non-conference games.
The Rebels’ Achilles heel last year was their tendency to turn the ball over with 21 including 10 interceptions for Wallace, ranking 58th nationally with a +1 turnover margin. If they can hold on to the ball in this game and the call here is that they will; then they should roll over a Boise St. team that is not as strong as the squads that Petersen has fielded in recent years. The crowd in the Georgia Dome should be a decidedly pro-Ole Miss group, and the fast track favors the Rebels’ speed and explosiveness. Ole Miss simply has too many playmakers for the Broncos to handle. Treadwell and Wallace should have big games against a suspect Boise secondary, and with the fast track and controlled conditions of the Georgia Dome Boise St. should be able to put up some points as well with the experienced Hedrick under center. This game figures to be a rare season-opening barn burner, take the over here.