Boise State Football: Winners and Losers from the Week 8 Game vs. UNLV
Boise State took on UNLV Saturday in Week 8 of the college football season, and it was probably the most complete game the Broncos have had all year.
It looks like Coach Petersen has his team on course to have another amazing season, and it controls its own destiny in the Mountain West Conference.
Saturday's game for Boise State was homecoming, and it was also the first time in school history that the team wore black uniforms. They were a huge hit, and after the Broncos' performance, they should probably add those threads to the rotation.
Let's look back at the Week 8 game for Boise State and pick out the winners and losers from a winning effort by the Broncos.
Winner: The Uniforms
Not to beat a dead horse, but the black uniforms were outstanding. Yes, Boise State has school colors of blue and orange. No, black won't replace that.
However, in the past, white and gray have been used in various combinations on the Broncos' uniforms as well, so black shouldn't be left out.
Players seem to love them, and recruits do also. That is enough to keep the variety coming.
Winner: Joe Southwick
Joe Southwick looked great on Saturday. His confidence seemed to be there from the very beginning, he had zip on the ball, he was accurate and showed touch when needed.
Southwick also looked good throwing on the run. If he continues to improve in the same way he has all season, the Broncos will be hard to stop.
Winner: Shane Williams-Rhodes
The true freshman, "Shake-n-Bake" himself, Shane Williams-Rhodes had another good day. His stats weren't overwhelming, but they were decent. On the day, he ran just once for four yards and he caught four passes for 21 more yards.
However, he also did something the stat sheet won't tell you. On Saturday, Williams-Rhodes made some of his famous "I make you look silly" moves. On one occasion, he caught a pass near a defender and then quickly juked right, making the defender miss—badly.
It was an amazing quick move, and there is no news yet about the condition of the cleats that the defender broke trying to keep up.
Winner: Matt Miller
Matt Miller led the team with receptions once again. Against UNLV, Miller caught five passes for 53 yards. His longest was 20 yards, and he averaged 10.6 yards per grab.
It helped that Joe Southwick was playing the way he was, and he and Miller looked to be in sync. Look for this combination to continue to flourish as the season rolls on.
Winner: The Crowd
For the second game in a row, the crowd caused the opposing team to be penalized on the first play of the game.
Last week against Fresno State, it was delay of the game, but this week, it was a false start by UNLV.
The home crowd at Bronco Stadium is loud, and it makes a difference.
Winner: Kirby Moore
Once again, Kirby Moore was clutch. He makes impressive grabs every game, but it seems like he does it when it matters most.
He is reliable, has great hands and holds on to the ball even when he is hit with tremendous force.
Against UNLV, Moore caught a short pass on fourth down, only to be nailed as he went out of bounds. Not only did he hold on to the ball, but he broke the yardage marker and got the first down.
Winner: Offensive Coordinator Robert Prince
Boise State offensive coordinator Robert Prince continued to impress on Saturday.
In total, Prince had 13 different players touching the ball against the Rebels. The offense was clicking nearly all day, and the play calling kept UNLV on its heels.
On the day, Boise State finished with 394 yards of total offense, even after playing backups most of the fourth quarter.
Winner: Head Coach Chris Petersen
Head coach Chris Petersen keeps proving he is an excellent coach. What he has done with this year's team is nothing short of remarkable.
Can someone say coach of the year?
However, he is probably a victim of his own success. People have come just to expect excellence from coach Pete. Even when he has to replace 15 starters on his team.
Loser: The Shutout
It would be real easy to pile on Grant Hedrick, but it's not going to happen. Yes, Hedrick fumbled twice on the day. Yes, the only score UNLV made was after scooping up his second fumble and running it back for a touchdown.
However, the young quarterback was obviously just trying to make something happen. He looked pretty good when throwing a screen earlier in the game and completed both of his pass attempts on the day.
You know that he learned a valuable lesson against UNLV about how to carry the ball when scrambling past the line of scrimmage.
Still, it was too bad that the Broncos didn't have a shutout on homecoming. However, most fans, and probably coaches and players, won't let it bother them.
Winner: Jamar Taylor
Jamar Taylor looked like Superman at times on Saturday. He flew around the field and made some incredible tackles.
On the day, he had nine tackles and a very impressive sack that forced a fumble. In total, Taylor forced two fumbles and had a tackle for a loss of 12 yards.
It just didn't seem fair.
Winner: Jerrell Gavins
Another impressive performance on defense was Jerrell Gavins.
On the day, Gavins had three tackles. However, it was his scooped-up fumble for a touchdown and his interception in the end zone that were most impressive.
The secondary of Boise State has some incredible players, and Gavins is one of them.
Loser: A Missing Bronco
The leader in sacks for Boise State was sacked himself this Saturday. However, this sack was of his own doing.
Defensive lineman Demarcus Lawrence was absent against UNLV. The reason? He violated an unspecified team rule. In other words, it's a family matter.
Coach Chris Petersen should be commended for sticking to his word and his rules. Hopefully for the sake of the team this new player has realized the error of his ways.
With Coach Pete at the helm, no player is bigger than the team. Lawrence is a good player, but even good players make mistakes. What makes a player great is what they do after they falter.
Bronco fans are hoping Lawrence uses this experience to get better.
Winner: The Entire Defense
It would take nearly all day to list everything good the Broncos did on defense.
Blake Renaud had 10 tackles, Jamar Taylor and Tyler Gray had nine each. Taylor had two forced fumbles and a sack as well. Dextrell Simmons had six tackles, Darian Thompson had five. Corey Bell racked up four tackles, as did Lee Hightower, Greg Grimes and J.C. Percy. Follow that up with three tackles from Jeremy Ioane, Mike Atkinson and Jerrell Gavins. Tyler Horn also had a sack on the day.
The defense swarmed all day like usual, and they made impressive stop after impressive stop throughout the contest.
This incredible defense is now ranked No. 6 in the nation when it comes to points against. They are averaging an incredible 13.6 points allowed per game.
Winner: The Broncos Chances
Boise State helped its chances Saturday.
First, the Broncos chances for a Mountain West Conference title went up. After defeating UNLV, Boise State is now 3-0 in the conference and in sole possession of first place after Nevada's loss.
Second, an outside chance at a BCS game is still alive. However, with Boise State now at No.21 in the BCS, it looks like it will be difficult to climb to the magic number, which is 16.
If Boise State is ranked No.16 or higher in the final BCS poll and it is ahead of any other automatic qualifying conference champion, then the Broncos get an automatic bid.
That looks possible with the dismal state of the Big Ten conference. However, with a weak second-half season schedule, Boise State will need a number of losses ahead of it.
It just doesn't seem right to have to root for teams to lose rather than your team to win. Hence, one of the biggest flaws in a BCS system that can't go away fast enough.