After allowing the Wyoming Cowboys to control the first quarter and then tie the ballgame at 7-7 early in the second quarter, the Boise State Broncos' vaunted defense finally find its rhythm and made the majority of the rest of the game uncomfortable for the Cowboys.
The 45-14 win was solid, not only for the defense but for the Bronco offense as well. Wyoming had been averaging about 378 yards of total offense per game. Boise State’s defense limited Wyoming to just 270 yards for the game.
On the other side of the ball, the Broncos had been averaging only 28.5 points per game. Boise State blew that out of the water with a 45-point tally and 437 yards of total offense.
Injuries aside, it was a good day for the Bronco football team. The win elevates Boise State to 7-1 on the season and 4-0 in Mountain West Conference play. Boise State moved up in the rankings, jumping to No. 19 in the AP poll and No. 14 in the USA Today coaches' poll.
So let’s take a look at the winners and losers from the Wyoming game…
Boise State’s offense has been less than robust in the second half of a few previous games, but not so against Wyoming. The Broncos had 228 yards of total offense at halftime, then piled on another 209 yards in the second half.
More importantly, the Broncos scored 28 second-half points—including the defensive fumble recovery for a touchdown—and that exceeds second-half production for the season.
The Broncos offense registered a better time of possession in the second half than in the first, with 16 minutes and four seconds in the second half compared to 13:18 in the first half.
That is how you take a 17-7 halftime lead and turn it into a runaway 45-14 win. Though too early to proclaim the offense back in the groove for a whole game, it was certainly a start.
Redshirt junior quarterback Joe Southwick had a solid day. He was 20-of-28 for 198 yards. Though he did toss an interception, his command of the offense was controlled and efficient.
His feet got him out of trouble on a couple of occasions, and he even threw a block that slowed a would-be tackler to help seal the end for the running back.
Sixth-year senior D.J. Harper toted the ball 19 times for 105 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 18 yards. The spinning, speedy Harper had a great game for Boise State.
Television announcers have been fond of saying that 5’6,” 154-lb true freshman wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes is so fast that he could make tacklers miss in a phone booth. That speed was on display Saturday when the player, who sports the nickname “Shake ‘n Bake,” took the pitch and flew past the Wyoming defense for a 28-yard touchdown run.
Williams-Rhodes finished with three carries for 46 yards, and a touchdown. Four different Broncos scored rushing touchdowns in the win over Wyoming.
Charles Leno made what was possibly a touchdown-saving tackle on the interception. Joe Kellogg and Spencer Gerke were often seen pulling and clearing the path around the end. Brenel Myers and Michael Ames were solid.
Matt Paradis not only executed the snaps well, but also cleared holes for runs up the middle. As a unit, and combined with Joe Southwick’s ability to scramble, the offensive line didn’t allow a quarterback sack.
The run game had room, the pass blocking was generally solid.
Sophomore starting safety Lee Hightower and freshman tight end Hayden Plinke were suspended for the game for a violation of team rules.
According to a story published by the Idaho Statesman, in addition to missing the Wyoming game, the two players may not make the trip to San Diego for the next game.
The last thing Boise State needed was a slew of injuries, and yet that was precisely what it got. Updates on the injuries to Greg Grimes and Bryan Douglas are still forthcoming, but both were on the sidelines by game’s end on crutches.
Douglas suffered a left knee injury and Grimes went down with a foot-ankle injury. Dextrell Simmons and Kharyee Marshall also left the game with injuries.
J.C. Percy in action in the first game of the year against Michigan State.
It seemed that wherever Wyoming tried to push the ball, J.C. Percy was there to defend it. The redshirt senior linebacker continued what has been a stellar senior year by leading the Broncos with 10 total tackles (nine were solo), one tackle for loss and one sack.
Percy now has 70 total tackles on the year.
Redshirt senior fullback Dan Paul does not get a lot of chances to handle the football. His size—6’1”, 262 lbs—makes him roughly equivalent to an offensive lineman leading through the holes with a head of steam.
Paul had another great game as the lead blocking back and was instrumental—along with the offensive line—in giving D.J. Harper and Jay Ajayi holes to the end zone.
While credit goes to individuals who made some standout plays, like Beau Martin’s strip that resulted in Corey Bell’s touchdown, overall credit needs to go to the defense—starters and subs. The Broncos could have, and should have, come up with some interceptions, but what mattered the most was the way the defense shut down Wyoming after the first quarter.
The game had all the makings of a track meet after the first quarter with Wyoming controlling the ball and the clock, but Boise State’s defense took over and tightened up the pass defense while shutting down the run.
The Cowboys were averaging approximately 135 yards a game on the ground but could only gain 54 yards against the Broncos Saturday.
The Broncos had six tackles for loss and four sacks for the game. Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith’s 68 yards of rushing was all but negated by 59 yards in losses.
A big punt return and some big catches—that’s all that redshirt senior Chris Potter contributed to the Broncos’ effort Saturday. Potter had three catches for 42 yards, and those were integral to the Bronco offensive show. He also blocked, like all the receivers do on running plays, but he also returned two punts for 46 yards.
That kind of performance helps with field position and makes life a little easier for the offense.
Forget the incredible 80-7 record as a head coach. Forget that during his tenure as a head coach, the Broncos have not lost a football game in October; you have to go back to 2001 to find an October loss. You can even look past the fact that with a 38-7 lead with less than two minutes left in the third quarter, Coach Pete was yelling at his players and saying “let’s go!”
What makes Petersen a remarkable coach is not only all of those reasons but that he has standards and won’t give starters a pass on bending or breaking team rules. He sat down a pair of players this past weekend—one of those a starter in the defensive secondary against a pass-happy opponent.
In previous weeks, he has also sidelined starters, putting the rules of being on the team ahead of everything else.
As a head coach, it is exactly those aspects that make for a "winner" and worthy of recognition. Of course, the other elements don’t hurt, either.