Boise State Football: 3 Keys to a Bronco Victory vs. Miami (Ohio)
It has been nearly two weeks since Boise State's football team took the field against an opponent. Since that time there have been words, opinions, discussions and a surprising amount of criticism flowing in the wind around Broncoland.
Losing a big-game opener is something the team, coaches and fans aren't used to, but it is something the team seems to be handling much better than the fan base. Local radio programs, blogs and water cooler talk seems to be angled toward what went wrong and whom to blame.
The team on the other hand, has been hard at work preparing for Miami of Ohio, and from coach Petersen to his players, the tone seems to be much more optimistic.
The problem with having a bye week after your first game is that it allows people to define a team, its players and even its season with little to go on. Which, any true student of the sport knows, it's not wise nor is it even possible to determine how good a team is after just one contest.
There is so much that happens between a first game and a second game of any season. Adjustments, corrections, advice, position moves and a whole lot of coaching occurs in a quest to get better.
Coach Petersen has proven that he is a great coach who knows how to use every situation as a teaching moment.
Expect the Broncos to come out this week with a pocket full of lessons.
On Saturday in Bronco Stadium, the team will renew its quest to remain among the elite teams in college football. This time the Broncos take on a pesky Miami (Ohio) team with a very good quarterback.
From the outside looking in, it appears that there will be three keys for the Broncos if they want to achieve their first win of the season. Let's break it down and pick it apart.
Key No. 1: The Running Game
The Broncos need a running game. It's a simple statement, but it is the first and possibly the biggest key to success this Saturday.
The line is coming off a less-than-stellar performance against Michigan State, and you know they are probably tired of hearing about it. You can most likely expect some incredible play coming from that group this week.
If the line is able to open up running lanes, D.J. Harper knows how to use them. He too is coming off of a very frustrating game, and he will be eager to rebound.
Look for Jack Fields, Drew Wright or Jay Ajayi to contribute as well. Ajayi is a powerful running back, and it wouldn't be surprising if he had some key carries in the contest. Also, look to see how Petersen uses his true freshman dynamo Shane Williams-Rhodes.
Establishing a rushing attack early in the game does three things for Boise State.
First, if they can establish a running game, it would allow Joe Southwick the opportunity to make some things happen. If the Broncos are moving the ball effectively on the ground, it opens up the air attack and keeps Southwick from trying to do too much by himself. If the passing attack opens up, the Broncos have the receiving corps to make a lot of noise.
Second, a running game allows the Broncos to keep Miami's prolific quarterback off of the field. This will mean the Broncos defense will stay fresh and better able to cover very capable receivers. It will also mean that it could frustrate the RedHawks and force them to make some mistakes if they are getting limited action on the offensive side of the ball.
Lastly, a solid running game breeds confidence. If the Broncos move the ball on the ground, they will quickly feel and look like the Broncos everyone is used to seeing.
There is a load of talent on this year's Boise State squad, and if they build some confidence early in Saturday's game—it won't be one.
Key No. 2: The Defensive Secondary
Zac Dysert is a very good quarterback. In fact, NFLdraftscout.com has Dysert as the No. 6-ranked quarterback in the nation out of 134.
He is 6'4", 228 lbs., can throw the ball hard, fast and very far and with accuracy. Not only that, but he can run the ball when needed as well. He is a dual threat with a great arm.
So far in two games, Dysert has thrown for 529 yards with a completion rate of 66.3 percent. Against Ohio State early, he was leading his offense up and down the field, but the team kept fizzling out in the red zone. However, he looked very impressive, and so did his wide receivers.
For Boise State to take victory from the RedHawks, they will need to contain this quarterback. In saying that, the Broncos are well equipped to do so.
Against Michigan State the Broncos proved that they have one of the best defensive secondaries around. They caused four turnovers and accounted for Boise State's only touchdown of the night.
If the Broncos get the same kind of effort and performance out of their secondary as they did against Michigan State, the boys in orange and blue should dominate the game.
If the secondary struggles for the Broncos, it could keep Miami in the game and cause the game to become a shootout.
Key No. 3: Passion and Toughness
The Broncos may have lost to Michigan State, but it wasn't for their lack of passion.
The Boise State football team played with tremendous passion and heart against the Spartans. They nearly willed themselves to win a game that could have easily gotten out of control.
If the Broncos come out with the same kind of passion and desire that they did opening night, it would mean bad things for the Miami RedHawks.
Not only that, but the toughness they displayed was tremendous. Anyone who watched the Michigan State game had to realized that.
If Boise State comes out hungry and with the kind of zeal it is capable of, it will be feasting on RedHawk all day long.
Summary and Prediction
If Boise State is able to establish a running attack early and often, it would do a lot for the team as a whole. Not only would it instill confidence, but it would allow junior Joe Southwick some breathing room to showcase his talents.
Southwick took a lot of criticism for the Michigan State loss, but most of that was unfair and unwarranted. You know he will want to have a great game in his home opener as a starter.
If the run game is established, it would allow Southwick to be very picky about his targets when throwing the ball. If he isn't forced to do too much, his decision-making should be solid, and it should lead to a great game for him and the team.
The Broncos have some very capable receivers who can make a lot of things happen if Southwick just gets them the ball. He should this Saturday.
If the Boise State secondary is even mildly successful shutting down the powerful passing attack of the RedHawks, it would definitely go a long way in producing a solid victory.
When it is all said and done, if the Broncos come out with passion and they play with the kind of toughness they are known for, the running game will flow and the defense will stifle its opponent.
In the end, it should be an impressive game, but look for Miami to score a touchdown late to make it a bit more reasonable.
Final Prediction on "The Blue": Boise State 38, Miami (Ohio) 21