Boise State Football: What We Learned from the Broncos' Win over UNLV
Boise State (6-1, 3-0 MWC) made it six wins in a row on Saturday as they took on a Mountain West opponent in Bronco Stadium. This time, the unfortunate team to have to wade into "The Blue" was the UNLV Rebels (1-7, 1-2 MWC).
For the fifth straight game, the Broncos defense held an opponent scoreless in the first half.
Boise State wore black uniforms for the first time in school history, and the stadium was blacked out by fans to match their beloved team.
Chris Petersen is now 79-7 as head coach of the Broncos, and this season's squad continues to improve and impress.
We learned many things about the Broncos on Saturday, so let's get to it.
1. Black Uniforms are Awesome
Say what you want, but those black uniforms the Broncos wore looked incredible.
The stadium being blacked out was impressive too. However, it was those black uniforms that made the day. Boise State should think about adding those to the regular rotation.
2. Joe Southwick Looked Great
Southwick didn't have a touchdown pass, but the passes he did throw were accurate and had zip, and his touch seems to be getting better every week.
On the day Joe went 22-of-30 for 243 yards and one interception. However, that single interception was on the last play of the first half when Southwick threw the ball up in the end zone.
The junior quarterback made good decisions all day, and he looked impressive throwing on the run.
3. Matt Miller is a Defense Killer
Matt Miller needs a nickname. How about, "Matt Miller, the Defense Killer?" A bit long and a tad cheesy, but true nonetheless.
If Southwick can continue to throw the way he did on Saturday, look for more incredible action from Miller.
4. Kirby Moore is Clutch
Kirby Moore made another handful of incredible catches on Saturday. One of them was a huge fourth-down play when the Broncos needed a first down to continue a drive. Reaching up over his head, Moore caught the pass and was hit hard as he went out of bounds.
Moore held on to the ball, much to the defender's surprise, and it looked like he broke the yardage stick in half.
5. The Defense is Just Amazing
Boise State has an impressive, incredible, jaw-dropping defense.
There were so many great plays made by the Broncos defense on Saturday. They continue to swarm to the ball, confuse and frustrate quarterbacks and make tackles without missing many.
6. Jerrell Gavins was Everywhere
The scooped-up fumble for a touchdown by Jerrell Gavins was impressive, but it wasn't his most impressive play of the day.
Gavins' interception in the end zone when UNLV was trying to score was one of the best in college football all season. It took a considerable amount of concentration and athleticism for Gavins to adjust, look up, not interfere with the receiver and then catch the ball.
It was incredible.
7. Coach Petersen is a Great Coach...For Many Reasons
Head coach Chris Petersen is a great coach. Most people understand that, and if they don't, it is either out of ignorance, or they are blinded by bias.
However, what some might not know is that he is great for reasons that aren't always visible—at least to some.
Boise State's leader in sacks didn't play on Saturday. Demarcus Lawrence had to sit out. Why, you might ask? Well, it was because Lawrence broke an unspecified team rule, so Petersen benched him.
Coach Petersen is coaching, creating and building up great football players. But he seems to be just as concerned in the coaching, creating and building up of good men.
Boise State should be proud that it has a coach like Petersen who doesn't sacrifice character on the altar of win-at-all-costs.
8. No Pre-Game Prayer?
One of the things that is a regular occurrence at Boise State home games is seeing a number of players make their way into the end zone to kneel quietly—on their own—and pray. It is not a team-sanctioned event. It's just something that players of faith do.
However, against UNLV, it may not have happened—at least not when and where it usually does. It normally occurs during warm-ups before the game in the north end zone, but on Saturday, they may have had to do it elsewhere. If for no other reason, the opposing team was warming on that side of the field.
9. A Three-Headed Beast?
So lightning and thunder seem to be the order of the day for the Boise State rushing attack. Senior D.J. Harper is lighting, and freshman Jay Ajayi is the accompanying thunder.
However on Saturday, true freshman Jack Fields had a few solid gains. He looked much more confident, and his quickness is evident.
If Fields can step up as the year progresses, the two-headed running monster of Harper and Ajayi will need to make room for another face.
9. The Linebackers Don't Get Enough Credit
This season, the linebackers for Boise State are doing some incredible things but without many headlines. It was no different on Saturday.
J.C. Percy, Tommy Smith, Tyler Gray, Blake Renaud and Dustin Kamper were impressive against UNLV.
Renaud led the team in tackles with 10, but Gray wasn't far behind with nine of his own. J.C. Percy had four while Smith and Kamper had two tackles each.
The linebackers are a big reason why the Broncos hold teams scoreless in the first half.
10. The Deep Ball is Getting Better
Dallas Burroughs caught a deep pass from Southwick on Saturday. It was a good throw and a great catch by Burroughs.
Boise State should have a chance to do more of this as the season progresses, however maybe not at Wyoming, where the wind could be blowing 100 mph. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but if you have been to Laramie, you know it is not far from the truth.
11. The Number is 13
That is the number of players who touched the ball on offense for the Broncos.
Offensive coordinator Robert Prince did a very good job once again calling plays and getting numerous players involved in the action.
On the day, Boise State threw to nine different receivers and had six players run the ball. The only overlap was Shane "Shake-n-Bake" Williams-Rhodes and D.J. Harper.
12. Grant Hedrick Had a Tough Day
Backup quarterback Grant Hedrick saw some playing time against UNLV, and the Rebels are glad that he did.
You have to feel bad for the guy. He fumbled twice, including one that the Rebels defense returned for a touchdown. That ruined the shutout for the Broncos.
Hedrick is obviously an athletic player, but he may just be trying to do too much at times.
Much to the disappointment of the rest of the Mountain West Conference, Boise State is getting better all the time—and it was pretty good to start with.
If the Broncos continue to improve on offense and keep doing what they do on defense, who will stop them? The only team that looks like they can beat Boise State is Boise State itself.
Yes, there is a lot of football left to play and anything can happen. But Boise State controls its own destiny when it comes to a MWC title.
A BCS game? Well, that get's far more complicated.
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