Boise State Football: 10 Things We Learned from Broncos' Win vs. Colorado St.
With their first team in the game, the Boise St. Broncos were an impressive machine. In the second half with the second- and third-team players subbed in, not so much.
The Broncos used offensive firepower and a suffocating defense to snuff Colorado State in the first two quarters to ease out to a 35-0 lead. The Rams were able to score twice in the second half to one Boise State touchdown to give the game its final score of 42-14.
There were good moments and some not-so-good moments for the Broncos. With that in mind, here are the 10 things that came out of the Boise State win…
1. Joe Southwick Can Be a Poised and Productive Quarterback
It went well for redshirt junior quarterback Joe Southwick in his last home game of the 2012 season for the Broncos. He seemed poised, relaxed and confident. He finished 17-of-20 for 216 yards and two touchdowns.
Credit the offensive line for giving him time to set up, scan his receivers and pick his targets. Colorado State also released some players and simply didn’t cover others in the passing game. That was because the Bronco running game was ripping it up as well.
Boise State was firing on all cylinders in the first half Saturday, and Southwick was one of the reasons for that.
2. Harper Sets the Tone…Again
His first touch on the ball resulted in an 80-yard touchdown run, and though D.J. Harper didn’t see much of the second half, what he did in the first half was impressive.
Harper, a sixth-year senior, finished with 107 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns. His 38 rushing touchdowns is No. 4 in Boise State history and give him 40 touchdowns for his career. This season, as Harper goes, so too go the Broncos.
He set the tone from the start and is one of the MVPs of the Broncos for 2012.
The Running Game Is Strong and Won’t Decline
D.J. Harper is one half of the Broncos’ "Thunder and Lightning" running attack. The second element is Jay Ajayi. Ajayi had eight carries for 68 yards, dragging opposing tacklers across the blue turf as they tried to bring him down.
Jack Fields, in fourth-quarter mop-up duty, only had five carries for 12 yards, but these were all clock-grinding runs up the middle. Fields has speed and might be similar to Ajayi with more work. Ajayi is a redshirt freshman and Fields is a true freshman.
The Broncos have a pair of young running backs that can get the job done, and that bodes well for the years to come.
4. Dan Paul Is a Potent Weapon and Devastating Blocker
Dan Paul, the senior fullback for Boise State, is a force. He is 6’1” and 262 lbs. He is a lead blocker on the Broncos' rushing attack.
Like most Broncos, though, Paul has other skills aside from blocking. He can catch the ball and prefers to run over opposing players than run around them. Paul had two catches for 24 yards Saturday. Coming into the game he only had one previous catch for a one-yard touchdown.
Paul was a defensive player converted to the offensive backfield and has cleared holes for the running game all season long.
5. Seniors Said Goodbye in a Grand Fashion
It was the farewell tour on the blue for 23 seniors, and they put on a show. From D.J. Harper and Chris Potter to J.C. Percy and Tommy Smith, and all points in between, the Bronco senior class came to play; many got the opportunity to step out onto the blue for one last game.
There is one game left in the season, but the class of 2013 went out in grand style on the blue.
6. Second-Half Team Play Still Needs Work
Boise State was outscored 14-7 in the second half. All season long the second half has been a bug-a-boo for the Broncos. Granted, a lot of that is due to having a lead and sending in backups to finish the job, but Boise State needs to tighten up the second-half performance.
After holding Colorado State to just 52 yards in the first half, the Broncos allowed 177 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. On the offensive side, the Broncos had 347 yards of offense in the first half with seven touchdowns, and only 156 yards and one touchdown in the second.
7. It Doesn’t Matter the Score, Coach Petersen Demands Focus
The second half has just started and Grant Hedrick was in at quarterback. The Broncos were inside the Colorado State five-yard line, Hedrick failed to get the play called in time and was forced to call a time out. The look on coach Chris Petersen’s face said it all.
That was simply unacceptable. It doesn’t matter who is in the game, Petersen demands focus and the lack thereof is not tolerated.
8. No Player Is Untouchable
On one play, veteran corner Jamar Taylor picked off a Rams’ pass, then fumbled on the return to give the ball right back to Colorado State. On the next play, he was flagged for pass interference, then had another 15 yards tacked on for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Taylor has been one of the team leaders on the Bronco defense this year. The moment the second flag flew, Taylor found himself on the bench. He did return to the field in the second half, but the message was clear. Taylor is a valued force on the field but he needed to be pulled.
The coaches did the right thing.
When a starter loses his composure and has to be yanked, it puts more pressure on the rest of the team on the field. Boise State realizes that no single player is greater than the team and they all step it up when a teammate is taken off the field.
9. Special Teams May Still Be a Concern
Boise State started the game with short kickoffs, sacrificing field position for coverage. This may be an indication that the coaching staff is still concerned that the coverage might be a little weak.
Boise State has a week off before taking on Nevada on December 1. That might be the time needed to tighten up coverage. The Broncos may not be able to afford to surrender field position to the Wolf Pack.
10. Spreading the Ball Around Is a Very Good Thing
Nine different Broncos caught the football Saturday and eight different Broncos carried it. Five different Broncos scored touchdowns and not one of those was a defensive player.
When the Broncos are able to throw that many players at another team who can put the ball into the end zone, it makes focusing on one or two very difficult.