UNLV vs. Boise State: Defense Will Carry Broncos to MWC Crown

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IOctober 20, 2012

BOISE, ID - SEPTEMBER 15: Jamire Westbrook #5 of the Miami University RedHawks is brought down by the Boise State Broncos defensive line at Bronco Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

This is not your barely older brother's Boise State Broncos.

The team has risen to national prominence from the middle of nowhere largely on the strength of a fun, dynamic and efficient passing game, but it is the defense that is leading the way this year. 

And nowhere was that more evident than it was in their 32-7 win over the UNLV Rebels on Saturday. 

The Broncos nearly had a shutout, but a late fumble recovery for a touchdown gave UNLV its lone score. 

The Broncos limited the Rebels to just 210 total yards of offense on the day. That included UNLV gaining just 2.3 yards per pass and 3.3 yards per rush. Boise State was dominant on all levels of its defense. 

Rebel quarterback Nick Sherry rarely had time to get a good throw off, and he was sacked twice on the day. The Broncos didn't just limit putting pressure on Sherry. They harassed whichever Rebel had the ball, and they wound up with three turnovers for their efforts. 

While this performance came against a terrible 1-7 UNLV team, these results are in line with what this defense has been doing all year. 

This was the fifth straight game the Broncos have held their opponents scoreless in the first half. They are allowing under four yards per rush and under six yards per pass. They have also forced a whopping 22 turnovers. 

This defense has paved the way for the Broncos to sit at 6-1 on the season and 3-0 in the MWC. That leaves them tied for first in the MWC with Nevada—who they happen to close their regular season against on December 1st. 

Those two teams are the clear class of the conference. Look for them to enter that game with undefeated conference records, and look for Boise State to win that game with defense.

Nevada is 13th in points scored and 83rd in points allowed. As a point of comparison, Nevada beat this same UNLV team, 42-37.

Boise State's offense, while not the strength of the team, is still putting 25.2 points per game. It will produce against a poor Nevada defense while the Broncos defense slows down the Wolf Pack enough to pick up the victory.