Boise State traveled to Hattiesburg, MS, to take on Southern Miss Saturday. They came away with a 40-14 victory which took them to 4-1 on the season.
The game was controlled from the beginning by the Broncos, and they were never really challenged all day by the Golden Eagles.
In the game, there were certainly some good signs for the Broncos and their fans.
1. Interesting fact
The Broncos were outgained 424 yards to 310 yards. However, if you watched the game, you know why.
The Broncos defense forced five turnovers. This put the Broncos in excellent field position most of the day and only required them to go half the field, thus around half the distance they usually need to go for a score. It made it easy on the offense all day long.
2. Joe Southwick is getting better and better.
His stats weren't perfect, but Southwick did some good things during the game. On the day, he went 18-of-27 for 195 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
The interception Joe threw was early in the game when he rolled out to his right and tried to pass the ball over a defender's head to an open Kirby Moore. He underthrew it by just a bit, causing the interception.
How would you rate Joe Southwick's performance?
However, the good thing was that the interception didn't seem to rattle Southwick. He came back out the very next series and threw with confidence.
Another good sign for Southwick was the fact that he is getting better running the ball when needed to, and he looks to be an effective threat escaping defenders and rolling out when he has to.
Bronco fans can be excited about the growth of their first-year quarterback.
3. The red zone looked better.
The Broncos were able to take advantage of red-zone opportunities against the Golden Eagles. They have had trouble this season with efficiency down close but not on Saturday.
Three times they entered the zone in the first half, and they came away with two touchdowns and a field goal. In the second half, the Broncos were in the Southern Miss red zone twice and came away with one field goal and another touchdown.
4. The defense was great again but not perfect.
The Broncos defense was all over the field on Saturday. They forced four fumbles, recovering three of them, and they intercepted the Southern Miss quarterback twice. It was a plus-four performance for a group that just keeps getting it done.
The day was strange, however, because they did play a bend-don't-break defense. It seemed that they were a different defense in the red zone in either direction. However, between the 20-yard lines, Southern Miss was able to move the ball.
In the end, the strategy worked, and it was another good day for the Broncos defense.
5. Robert Prince called a great game.
Offensive coordinator Robert Prince mixed up the play-calling all day long. He also got several people involved in the game plan.
The Broncos had seven players run the ball on Saturday in various formations. They also had eight different players catching passes.
Add to that the fact that the Broncos had two different players throwing passes.
It was the kind of day and the type of play-calling that many fans expected when Robert Prince came to town. It was impressive, and it should help down the stretch.
6. The kicking game looked good.
Senior Michael Frisina went 2-of-2 on the day kicking field goals. His longest was just 30 yards, but it had to be nice for the Broncos fans to see kicks being made.
Trevor Harman was impressive, once again, punting the ball. He has turned out to be quite a weapon in the field-position game. On the day, Harman punted six times with an average of 40.2 yards, and his longest was 51 yards. He also did a great job on kickoffs.
Joe Southwick also had a punt. It was a 33-yard quick-kick that pinned the Golden Eagles down at their own 4-yard line.
7. Some Boise State fans are spoiled—only some.
From the sound coming from some of the Boise State fans, at least on Twitter, during the game, you would think their Broncos were 1-4 not 4-1.
Sure, Southwick is not Kellen Moore—but who is?
Yes, the Broncos offense has sputtered at times, and there is certainly no problem with being critical. However, give credit where credit is due. Southwick is doing some good things, and he appears to be getting better every week.
The Broncos are in what is known to most colleges around the nation as a "rebuilding year," and yet, they are 4-1. It is a testament to Coach Petersen, his staff and his players.
8. Final thoughts
Boise State has a real chance of winning out the rest of the season. Which, as stated above, is pretty incredible considering all the obstacles.
Bronco fans should be proud of the effort this young team is giving them. In return, those same fans should support their team in the same way they have in previous years.
Of course, that doesn't mean fans can't be critical. Griping about your favorite team is part of what makes college football the crazy obsession it is. However, fans should try to keep things in perspective.
Another exciting thing for Bronco fans should be the number of freshman who made big plays on Saturday. There seems to be a lot of young talent that is already making a name for themselves. That bodes well for future seasons, but also for the rest of this season for Boise State.
Next up for the Broncos will be Fresno State at home. It should be a great game, but it is certainly a contest the Broncos can win.
Look for articles previewing that game here on Bleacher Report in the coming days.