Boise State opened its season with a loss to the Michigan State Spartans, which caused the Broncos to drop out of the national rankings for the first time since 2008. Their victory this past Saturday over Miami (Ohio) put them back into the rankings at No. 24. They'll try to maintain that ranking Thursday when they host BYU.
D.J. Harper is coming off of a 162-yards-rushing, four-touchdown (three rushing) performance, but he'll be facing a tough BYU run defense that has allowed a mere 53 yards per game for the 2012 season. If the Broncos struggle to run the ball, quarterback Joe Southwick will need to shoulder the load for Boise State.
BYU (2-1) is led by senior quarterback Riley Nelson and receivers Cody Hoffman and Kaneakua Friel. Nelson has completed 60 percent of his passes on the season for 735 yards, while the pair of wideouts have been on the receiving end of every one of BYU's passing scores this season.
Game time, TV channel: 9 p.m. ET, Thursday, ESPN and streaming on WatchESPN
Point spread: Boise State is the early 7.5-point favorite on Saturday. The over/under has been set at 48 points.
For news, discussion and more: For more on Cougars football, visit BYU blog Vanquish The Foe. For more on Broncos football, visit Boise State blog OBNUG, plus SB Nation Denver. And you should probably start reading Big East Coast Bias.
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