The game versus BYU may have been a win for Boise State, but it was probably unsatisfying for all of Bronco Nation. It was a sometimes sloppy, somewhat boring, almost painful game that the Broncos are fortunate to have pulled it off.
Let's look at the 10 instant thoughts that came out of this "defensive" battle.
1. First, the obvious...Boise State has an incredible defense this year. They held BYU to just 200 total yards and caused five, yes five turnovers! The Cougars only passed for a total of 61 yards, and the Broncos contained them all night long. For the season, Boise State opponents are scoring an average of just under 12 points a game.
2. The second obvious thought...The dismal performance of the Broncos offense. They moved the ball, but they failed to take advantage of several huge opportunities. They failed in the red zone again, and missed an easy field goal. The play-calling was questionable, and some dropped balls were uncharacteristic of a Chris Petersen offense.
3. D.J. Harper is legit...However, he can't shoulder the team all season long. He needs some help.
4. Fake punt, really? Why go for a fake punt deep in your own territory in the first quarter? Coach Petersen likes to take chances, but that one just didn't seem right.
5. Joe Southwick does not know how to slide...The junior quarterback should never be allowed to slide again. On a crucial third down Southwick slid inches short of a first down. All he had to do was plunge forward, and there was no defensive player within five feet when he slid. Even if the play would have been nullified by penalty, it would at the very least have given the Broncos another shot at a first down.
6. One deep pass attempt? Why not go deep to Aaron Burks again? Early in the game Joe Southwick nearly missed on what would have been about an 85-yard touchdown pass. However, they never tried that play again all game. Burks was so open, you would think offensive coordinator Robert Prince would have gave it another go.
7. Loud crowd...The crowd in Bronco Stadium is louder than ever. However, even though the game sold out, a few hundred people chose not to use their tickets. Shame on them.
8. Watch out... If the Boise State offense does catch fire and get better, it could be a very good year for the Broncos. With the defense playing lights out, the offense needs to step up. If they do, Boise State opponents will not stand a chance.
9. Let the kicker kick...Boise State must let its kicker continue to try. At least two times in the game coach Petersen chose to go for it on fourth down rather than try a field goal. If you miss it, you miss it, but you have to try. There is a time to go for it on fourth down, but there is also a time to kick it.
If Boise State wants its kicking game, and its kicker, to get better then they should probably let him get some game-time experience.
10. The bottom line...Coach Petersen still led his team to victory. Think about it. They are a young squad with 15 new starters. They have had to replace six NFL draft picks and the all-time most winning quarterback in NCAA history this season. Yet, they are 2-1 on the year.
No matter the criticism and critiques on the Broncos' performance, the bottom line is that they won the game. BYU is no pushover, and the Broncos earned the win.
Sure, they should have won 21 or 24 to six, but a win is a win when the last second expires. BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall would probably love to have the "W" in his column—no matter what it looked like.
The fact is, coach Petersen has a young team that is coming of age. They are inconsistent, sporadic, frustrating and at times manic. However, they are 2-1 and ranked in the top 25—even if their quarterback has no clue how to slide.