Boise State Football: Broncos Must Improve After Lackluster Win vs. BYU

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2012

EAST LANSING, MI - AUGUST 31:  Joe Southwick #16 of the Boise State Broncos throws a first quarter pass while playing the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on August, 2010 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

It was tough to predict what to expect from Boise State after watching the team's two biggest offensive weapons, Kellen Moore and Doug Martin, move on after last season. The results have been mixed so far, but there's plenty of room for improvement.

The Broncos were able to escape a game with BYU on Thursday night, squeaking out a one-point victory thanks to a missed two-point conversion attempt by the Cougars. Watching the defense step up has become a common theme for Boise State.

After years of allowing a high-powered offense to do the heavy lifting, the roles have reversed for the Broncos as a new batch of offensive stars gets their feet wet. It's been the defense that has led the way to wins over Miami (OH) and now BYU.

The Broncos are allowing less than 12 points per game, which ranks 15th in the nation, while the offense is ranked outside the top 100 at just shy of 20 PPG.

Even though the defense's play has led to optimism about Boise State patching together another memorable season despite the key personnel losses, the offense will eventually need to start holding up its end of the bargain to make that happen.

The Broncos lost to Michigan State in the opener. While it was a missed opportunity, there's still a chance to turn it into a great year. Every game left on the schedule would certainly fall into the winnable category.

Since they played on Thursday, the Broncos have 10 days until their next game against New Mexico, giving them some time to work on bringing an end to their offensive woes.

Against the Cougars, quarterback Joe Southwick threw for just 145 yards on 25 attempts and running back D.J. Harper needed 31 carries to gain 112 yards. Improvement on that side of the ball starts with getting more efficiency from those two players.

If they show even marginal improvement over the next nine games, Boise State has a chance to go on another one of its patented runs up the rankings. The Broncos were ranked No. 24 in the AP poll before the BYU win.

The defense has already proven it's a solid unit and there's no reason to believe that will change. So the pressure shifts to Southwick, Harper and Co. to pick up the slack, something they are certainly capable of doing.

In other words, don't lose track of the Broncos quite yet.