Fresno State vs. Boise State: Why Joe Southwick Will Lead Broncos to Victory

Ryan DavenportContributor IOctober 13, 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

He may not be Kellen Moore, but Joe Southwick has been getting the job done for Boise State. 

Heading into Saturday's game against Fresno State, the Broncos have managed to remain a Top 25 team in 2012, despite losing arguably the best player in school history in Moore. 

Lead by Southwick, who had all of two touchdown passes to his name going into his junior season, Chris Petersen's boys are 4-1 and have improved gradually with each game. 

That trend will continue on Saturday afternoon. 

In the team's season opener against the No. 13 Michigan State Spartans, Southwick, like the rest of his team, wasn't overly impressive and threw for just 169 yards with an interception as the Broncos fell 17-13.

However, in the four games since then Southwick has looked more comfortable leading the offense and appears poised to lead the Broncos to their fifth consecutive victory over the 4-2 Bulldogs on Saturday. 

No, he's not the dominant passer that Moore was during his time as a Bronco, but Southwick's development is a big reason why Boise State has been able to remain successful since the two-time All-American's departure. 

In Boise State's last two games, on the road against New Mexico and Southern Miss, Southwick threw for three touchdowns in each and helped the Broncos get out to big first-half leads en route to victories. 

Now, with the Broncos set to take on Fresno State, who currently boast the 13th-best passing offense in the nation, Southwick will have to be at his best in order to outgun the Bulldogs' Derek Carr, who has thrown for an extremely impressive 18 scores already this season. 

It's a critical conference game for the Broncos, as the Bulldogs are already 2-0 in Mountain West play, but Southwick is more than capable of leading Boise State to victory. 

He may not put up better numbers than Carr on Saturday, but he won't have to.

All Southwick has to do is continue to improve, limit turnovers and lead the Broncos to scoring drives when they need them most.