Boise State Football: Bronco Players of the Week vs. Michigan State
Boise State almost did it again. However, this year it was not to be.
The fourth quarter of the Broncos opening game saw a slim 13-10 lead over No.13 Michigan State fade away down the stretch. This was, of course, caused by the powerful legs of Le'Veon Bell and Michigan State's relentless rushing attack.
The hard thing for fans now is that the Broncos have a bye week. However, Chris Petersen is probably happy to have the extra week to tweak some things and prepare for Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 15.
The Michigan State game was a tough game that was sloppy at times, but it proved that the Broncos are going to be very difficult to beat once again this season. The offense was stifled, but they were playing one of the best defenses in the nation—with a new quarterback.
Expect the Bronco offense to rebound in a big way against Miami (Ohio).
The defense was a mixed bag.
On one hand, the secondary played outstanding. On the other hand, the front four and linebackers had trouble tackling Bell for most of the game. Of course, when you look at Bell's size and speed, you can understand. But, don't expect coach Petersen to let his boys use that excuse.
There were several players who looked good on Friday, but there can only be three that make the players of the week list. Let's look at those, and what they accomplished.
Offensive Player of the Week
Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE
The offense for the Broncos struggled most of the night against Michigan State. Some of that can be attributed to execution and play calling, but the bulk of it, at least to the naked eye, seemed like it was a result of the competition.
Michigan State has one of the best defenses in the nation, and on Friday night they proved it. With nine starters from last year's excellent squad, is it any wonder they are a dominant group?
The Spartans were beating the Broncos off the ball, and the push they achieved most of the night into the backfield made it impossible for D.J. Harper to get anything done.
Senior offensive lineman Joe Kellogg's thoughts on the Michigan State defense were recently penned by Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman.
According to Cripe, Kellogg thinks the Michigan State front seven are probably the best he has faced in his 23 starts.
Cripe goes on to quote Kellogg about what he thought happened in Friday's contest.
“We could have executed better, but they just kind of outplayed us tonight,” Kellogg said.
Joe Southwick struggled in his first start as the Broncos quarterback, but he didn't have a meltdown. And considering he had no help in the rushing game his performance could have been much worse.
Southwick is not the offensive player of the week. He only went 15-31 for 169 yards and one interception. However, the player that grabbed nearly half of the passes Southwick threw is the one deserving the honor.
The offensive player of the week is Kirby Moore.
Moore caught six passes for 52 yards, some of them coming during key moments throughout the game.
Look for those totals to go up during the next contest against Miami (Ohio), but look for Matt Miller, Gabe Linehan, Chris Potter and others to step up as well.
Defensive Player of the Week
Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE
There were a few different players on defense that stood out. On the line, Mike Atkinson had 10 tackles while linebacker Tommy Smith racked up a team high 12. However, the defensive secondary was the highlight of the night for the Broncos.
Cornerback Jamar Taylor had eight tackles and one interception in the contest. Safety Lee Hightower also had an interception and added six tackles of his own.
Redshirt freshman Darian Thompson looked good with six tackles and redshirt sophomore Bryan Douglas added five.
But, the defensive player of the night goes to the Bronco player who scored the only touchdown in the game for Boise State.
The defensive player of the week is redshirt sophomore Jeremy Loane.
Of course, it didn't look that way when he was being hurdled by Le'Veon Bell early on in the game. However, he redeemed himself with a pick six and four tackles in the game.
The simple fact that he was the only Boise State touchdown of the night earns him this honor.
The defensive secondary was a shining spot for the Broncos on Friday night, and you can expect that to continue all season.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE
Boise State has become known for its special teams play. However, one of the overlooked aspects of that has been punting.
The punting game plays a big part in the field position game within a game. Any coach will tell you that field position is an absolute crucial part of the game of football.
Not only that, but with the new kicking rules in college football, the kickoff has become something of an art.
Since the kickoff has been moved up to the 35-yard line, coaches must decide to kick it into the end zone and allow opponents to start on their own 25—a new rule—or have their kicker place the ball in front of the goal line expecting the coverage team to stop them short of the 25.
Coach Petersen seems to like the latter of the two, and you can expect to see that for most of the season.
The special teams player of the week goes to Trevor Harman.
Harman did a great job kicking the ball all night. He also punted five times, averaging 40.6 yards per punt with his longest being 56 yards.
However, Harman didn't stop there. He also added two tackles to his stat sheet.
It was a good game for Harman, and he looks to be a field position weapon the Broncos could use all season long.
Senior Michael Frisina also looked good kicking field goals and extra points. He made his only point after touchdown attempt and two field goals on the night without a miss. The reason Harman was chosen over Frisina was the fact that both of Frisina's field goals were chip shots with the longest being 23 yards.
However, it had to be very nice for Bronco fans to see consistent play from their field goal kicker.