Boise State picked up another win on Saturday. It was the fourth of the season for the Broncos and brings them to 4-1 on the year.
Southern Miss is a team full of talented athletes, but they are in an even bigger rebuilding year than the Broncos are. They have a new coaching staff and several new starters this season. Boise State looked like the much better team when the two teams collided in Hattiesburg, MS.
There were several winners in this game for Boise State, and fans of the orange and blue are probably feeling much better as the season progresses.
Let's take a look at who won and who lost in the game versus the Golden Eagles.
All of Bronco Nation knows how fortunate they are to have Chris Petersen. He is known as a tremendous coach, leader, father, husband and all-around talented guy.
He is now an incredible 77-7 as the Broncos head coach, and it doesn't appear as if he is slowing down one bit.
In fact, this season seems like it has re-energized the coach who seems at his best when his team is under pressure, underestimated and overlooked.
There weren't too many "experts" on the national scene who expected Boise State to remain at any kind of elite level after the loss of so many key starters from last year's amazing team led by Kellen Moore.
However, Coach Petersen has his young team playing beyond their years and getting better every week.
It hasn't been without its hiccups, but again, Petersen seems to be at his best when he is challenged. He has no doubt been hard at work tweaking, motivating, challenging and directing his players and his coaching staff in the direction of success.
Bronco Nation is truly blessed to have the leader they have, and Coach Petersen is certainly a winner. After all, he is 77-7.
The foot of Michael Frisina found success in Mississippi.
He went 2-of-2 kicking field goals, but he did have one of his many extra-point attempts blocked. However, that certainly didn't look like it was his fault, and he made the other four with no problem. Frisina was responsible for 10 points on the day.
Punting and kickoffs were also solid. Trevor Harman had six punts for an average of 40.2 yards with a longest of 51 yards. He also placed the ball well on kickoffs, and that contributed greatly to the Broncos' ability to contain the talented returner of the Golden Eagles.
Joe Southwick also had a punt. It was a 33-yard quick-kick that pinned Southern Miss on their own 4-yard line.
Boise State offensive coordinator Robert Prince did some great things Saturday. He utilized several formations and players against Southern Miss.
On the day, Boise State had seven different players running the ball, eight separate players catching the ball, two quarterbacks throwing the ball and a partridge in a pear tree. OK, maybe not that, but it was a lot like Christmas for the Broncos.
It was a very creative, effective and impressive display on the part of the Boise State offense, and Prince should be commended.
Mitch Burroughs is a senior wide receiver for the Broncos. He is a team leader, and what happened to him Saturday was a big loss for the Boise State.
On a pass thrown to him in the end zone, Burroughs came down on his wrist in a bad way. He had to leave the game, and there is no word yet of his condition.
If it is a break, there is no telling how long he will be out. Bronco fans are probably hoping for a sprain.
No matter what the injury ends up being, it will mean Burroughs will miss some playing time in this, his senior year.
It is early enough in the season, however, that the senior can probably get back on the field by year's end.
Defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski has the Boise State defense firing on all cylinders.
The Broncos defense forced five turnovers in Saturday's contest, and that brings the total to 17 on the season and a plus-10 turnover margin as a team.
Two interceptions and three fumble recoveries led the Broncos to a dominating performance against Southern Miss.
The defense did allow 424 yards of total offense, but it had to be frustrating for the Golden Eagles because, any time they would move into Broncos territory, the Boise State defense would step it up.
If the Broncos defense, which has several new starters, gets even better as the season progresses, then teams around the Mountain West are going to have a difficult time beating Boise State.
Southern Miss has a very talented kickoff and punt-return specialist named Tracy Lampley. However, the Boise State special teams unit kept him under wraps all day long.
On the day, Lampley could only muster 12.2 yards per return on kickoffs. However, the more impressive number was 2.5. That was the average yardage Lampley had on punt returns.
Boise State also got some decent pressure on the field-goal kicker for the Golden Eagles, and while they didn't have an all-out block, they were certainly instrumental in causing Southern Miss to go 0-of-2 on field-goal attempts.
The coverage on kickoffs was extremely impressive. Watching the game, it was amazing to see the way the Broncos players swarmed around the ball. Not only that but tackles were textbook on many occasions, and it didn't appear that the Broncos missed any tackles.
Huff is in his first season as the special teams coordinator, and from the looks of it, he is doing an outstanding job.
The Broncos have some talented freshmen, and it showed on Saturday.
Freshman defensive back Darian Thompson had three tackles and one interception against Southern Miss. His fellow freshman linebacker Tyler Gray added four tackles and one interception of his own.
True freshman Shane Williams-Rhodes, a.k.a. SWR a.k.a. Shake-n-Bake, caught two passes for 15 yards. He also laid a defender out on a Joe Southwick scramble—which looked funny because SWR is 5'6" and a 154 lbs.
Freshman running back Jay Ajayi carried the ball nine times for 40 yards and continued to impress, and true freshman Jack Fields got into the action with four carries for 12 yards.
Redshirt freshman Sam Ukwuachu was impressive on the defensive side of the ball. He had three tackles and 1.5 sacks. His name was called several times on Saturday, and he made some key plays in the game.
Dillon Lukehart is another redshirt freshman who shined. Lukehart was a special teams standout Saturday. He had four tackles on the day and made some incredible hits.
With so many talented freshmen, the future appears bright for Boise State.
For some of the local Boise, Idaho, fans, the Southern Miss game was preempted by pregame Big Sky conference coverage.
It appeared to only effect some customers, but you can be sure whoever those customers pay for their television service heard about it.
Not only that but the camera man covering the game seemed to be chasing butterflies.
The camera often went off in the wrong direction, didn't follow the action or would just randomly swing around. It was dizzying at times.
The Boise State equipment truck met with a formidable foe on the way to Hattiesburg, MS. Yes, the truck hit a cow. No one was injured, except the cow.
Perhaps, the Broncos needed more cow bell in this instance.
Whatever the case, it was a mess that was featured in a USA Today article, and yes, there is a link to a picture if a person must satisfy their morbid curiosity.
The truck could technically be a loser too, but it can be fixed. The real loss was the life of a cow.
Maybe he should have moooved. Seriously, poor cow.
This win for the Broncos had to go a long way in building confidence.
Their defense did great, and their offense capitalized.
Several new players stepped up and veteran players continued to perform.
The coaching staff seems to be bringing things together, and the team seems to be responding.
Overall, the Southern Miss game was just another step in the rebuilding process. However, the confidence from this game will probably bode well as Boise State hosts Fresno State next Saturday.