Boise State Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the Wyoming Game
Boise State faced its fourth Mountain West foe of the season Saturday in Laramie, Wyo. and came away with a 4-0 MWC record.
It was probably the most complete game of the season for Boise State, and it improved the Broncos' overall record to 7-1 on the season.
Chris Petersen's team seems to be getting better every game, and after replacing 15 starters from last year's squad, the 2012 starters seem to be rising to the challenge.
Let's look at how every Boise State starter did against the Cowboys on Saturday.
It started a little rough Saturday with Lee Hightower being suspended for an unspecified team rule violation, but then it got worse when cornerback Bryan Douglas was injured early in the game.
Wyoming was throwing the ball quite effectively in the first half, but eventually the Broncos came around.
Defensive Secondary Grades:
Safety Darian Thompson had a good day. Against Wyoming he had five tackles and broke up a pass. He also looked good in coverage and containment.
Grade for Darian Thomson: B+
Safety Jeremy Ioane played another solid game. Saturday against the Cowboys he had four tackles, played great in coverage and broke up a pass.
Grade for Jeremy Ioane: B+
Jerrell Gavins had a bit of a quiet day. The Cowboys probably knew not to challenge him too much. On the day, Gavins had just one tackle, no interceptions, no pass breakups and surprisingly no fumble recoveries for a touchdown. However, he played solid as usual.
Grade for Jerrell Gavins: B
Speaking of a quiet day, Jamar Taylor had one as well. Again, Wyoming probably knew better than to go his way too much. On the day Taylor had just one tackle, but he broke up two passes and played good coverage.
Grade for Jamar Taylor: B
The linebackers were solid once again. However, nickel Dextrell Simmons suffered an injury.
All day long the linebackers swarmed to the ball and created havoc. They kept the running game contained and made plays when they mattered most.
As mentioned, nickel Dextrell Simmons was injured, so he gets an incomplete.
Grade for Dextrell Simmons: Incomplete. Bronco fans certainly hope for a speedy recovery.
Linebacker J.C. Percy lit it up Saturday. Not only did he have 10 tackles, but he also had a tackle for loss and a sack. He was a nuisance all day long for the Wyoming offense and saved a couple long runs with incredible efforts.
Once in the second quarter, Percy held tight to the material on the offensive player's pants and jersey and brought him down when a long gain was a certainty. It was a very impressive show of strength, but it was indicative of his day.
Grade for J.C. Percy: A+
Tommy Smith had a less-than-usual day. He had just one tackle on the day and was quiet most of the day. For that, he gets an unusual grade.
Grade for Tommy Smith: B-
The defensive line had a great game on Saturday. On several occasions the starters and their backups made incredible plays.
They controlled the line of scrimmage, especially in the second half, and helped contain the very mobile quarterback of Wyoming.
Defensive Line Grades
Nose tackle Mike Atkinson had a decent day. He made a big stop in the first half, but most of his day was playing his part in containment.
On the day Atkinson only had two tackles, but his presence was felt.
Grade for Mike Atkinson: B+
Defensive Tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe was also quiet. Most of it had to do with what Wyoming was doing, or not doing, for that matter.
On the day Tjong-A-Tjoe had a single tackle.
Grade for Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe: B-
Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence was back this week after being suspended for one game. It appears the time off motivated him.
On the day Lawrence had seven tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack. He was a terror to the Wyoming quarterback, chasing him all over the field on Saturday.
Grade for Demarcus Lawrence: A+
Defensive end Sam Ukwuachu has had better games. However, on the day he still had three tackles and a few hurries.
Grade for Sam Ukwuachu: B
If you watch the Boise State offensive line closely you will be impressed with how much they do.
From pulling, run blocking, pass blocking, down field blocking and all sorts of different blocking schemes that require timing and strength, it is safe to say that this is not your grandfather's offensive line.
Offensive Line Grades
Brenel Myers had a solid day at right tackle, and Spencer Gerke looked great at right guard. Both of these guys were all over the field making blocks and doing their job.
Matt Paradis did a good job again at center. He was consistent and continues to impress in the fact that not a single snap all season has gone somewhere it shouldn't have.
Grade for Brenel Myers: A-
Grade for Spencer Gerke: A-
Grade for Matt Paradis: A-
Joe Kellogg is going to get a little bit of attention in the film room.
"Why?" you might ask.
Well, if you saw the game then you watched as Joe Kellogg plowed his helmet into the chest of a defender laying on the ground. The problem is that it was after the play.
He was called for a penalty, and it negated a nice run by D.J. Harper. However, the rest of the day Kellogg played lights out.
Grade for Joe Kellogg: B+
Charles Leno Jr. had the best game of any of the offensive lineman. Not only did he do his job, but he did it well.
Several times during the game you could see Leno running down field and making nice blocks. However, it was his touchdown saving tackle that gave him extra credit.
When Joe Southwick threw his only interception of the day, it was Leno who tackled the defender and possibly saved a Wyoming touchdown. By the way, it was an open field tackle.
Grade for Charles Leno Jr.: A+
Running Backs and Receivers
Boise State had a very good day running the ball. The Broncos also had great performances out of their wide receivers.
The offense as a whole is coming into its own after a somewhat frustrating first half of the season.
Grade for Running Backs
Running back D.J. Harper had another great game. On the day he carried 19 times for 105 yards and two touchdowns.
He was instrumental in leading the Broncos to the dominating victory. He had several amazing tackle breaking runs and showed toughness all game.
Game for D.J. Harper: A+
The fullback is a quiet position for the Broncos. However, when Dan Paul is playing, he makes a big difference.
On more than one occasion Paul led Harper and his backups across the line of scrimmage. His blocks were crucial in some big plays, including a block that sprung a touchdown.
Grade for Dan Paul: B+
Grades for Wide Receivers
All day long, the wide receiver corps of the Broncos made impressive grabs. Matt Miller led the day, but Chris Potter and Kirby Moore did their parts.
On the day Miller caught seven passes for 78 yards. Kirby Moore caught five passes for 39 yards and Chris Potter grabbed three passes for 42 yards of his own.
Kirby Moore also scooped up a fumble by teammate Geraldo Boldewijn that could have been costly.
Grade for Matt Miller: B+
Grade for Kirby Moore: B+
Grade for Chris Potter: B+
Joe Southwick had a good game against Wyoming. While he didn't have a touchdown pass, he did lead his team on some impressive drives.
His one interception was his only blemish on the day. However, he more than made up for that the rest of the game.
On the day Southwick completed 20 passes in 28 attempts. His passes were crisp and accurate. He has continually improved and it seems his confidence is growing. That bodes well for the Broncos down the stretch.
Grade for Joe Southwick: B+