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Fresno State returns to the Top 25, faces Boise State

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Boise State (4-4, 2-2 MWC) at No. 25 Fresno State (7-2, 4-1, No. 23 CFP) , Saturday at 7:30 p.m. EDT (CBSSN).

Line: Fresno State by 4 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Boise State leads 15-7.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

No. 25 Fresno State returns to the Top 25 after more than a month away and is close to clinching a spot in the MWC championship game. The Bulldogs are 4-0 at home and are coming off back-to-back wins over Nevada and previously ranked San Diego State. Boise State is looking to win consecutive games for the first time this season. This is the first matchup between the two teams since the 2018 MWC snow-filled title game when Fresno State won in overtime.

KEY MATCHUP

Boise State’s red zone offense vs. Fresno State’s red zone defense: The Broncos lead the MWC and are 22nd nationally in red zone efficiency, having scored on 32 of 35 trips inside opponents’ 20-yard line (20 touchdowns, 12 field goals). The Bulldogs, who have also been very good offensively in the red zone, have struggled to stop teams there, allowing opponents to convert at 85.7%.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener (2,888 yards, 23 touchdowns) is the player who makes everything work for the Bulldogs but keep an eye on running back Ronnie Rivers. Rivers is 10th in the conference with 573 yards rushing and four touchdowns but is trying to come back from an ankle injury that kept him out of last week’s game against San Diego State.

Boise State defensive linemen Scott Matlock and Isaiah Bagnah have six sacks apiece this season, tied for third in the MWC and 20th nationally. The duo have also combined for five hurries and 14 ½ tackles for losses.

FACTS & FIGURES

Fresno State is the last team to hand Boise State a conference road loss, beating the Broncos 28-17 on Nov. 25, 2017. … Broncos offensive lineman Jake Stetz has started at three different positions – center, left guard and right guard. … Fresno State played in the MWC title game four times from 2013-18. Boise State has played in the conference championship game each of the last four seasons.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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