Boise State Football: Defense Is the Key to Victory over Washington

Stephen FenechCorrespondent IDecember 18, 2012

Oct 27, 2012; Laramie, WY, USA; Boise State Broncos head coach Chris Petersen reacts against the Wyoming Cowboys during the third quarter at War Memorial Stadium.  The Broncos beat the Cowboys 45-14.  Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Petersen and the Boise State Broncos have a chance to win 11 games for the fifth straight season, as a victory over the Washington Huskies is all that stands in their way. 

The talks of Boise State taking a major step back turned out to be false, as it has only lost two games this season by a combined six points. The Broncos are entering the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas with a 10-2 record, while the Huskies are just 7-5. 

This is not the first time that Boise State will be playing in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, as it beat Arizona State in last season's game by a score of 56-24.  

Petersen has been one of college football's most sought after coaches for years now, but he has remained loyal to Boise State.  

Entering this season, there were concerns that the departure of four-year starting quarterback Kellen Moore would be too much for Boise State to overcome.

While Moore has been missed, the Broncos defense has played extremely well and has carried the offense.

Petersen's defense has been one of the country's best this season, as it currently ranks sixth in the nation in scoring defense. Opponents are averaging just 14.1 points per game against the Broncos, although that number is somewhat skewed by the lackluster competition in the Mountain West Conference. 

One aspect of the Broncos' defensive success is their proficient pass rush, as they have compiled 34 sacks. That total has them tied for 13th in the country, as Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Penn State, Fresno State and Buffalo have each tallied the same number. 

The Huskies have struggled to protect signal-caller Keith Price this season, as he has been sacked 34 times in 12 games. Boise will look to pressure Price early and often in order to keep him from finding a rhythm. 

The Broncos defense has also been elite in terms of yards surrendered. According to, opposing teams have averaged 304.7 yards per game, which is ranked ninth in the nation. 

Petersen's team is also one of the nation's leaders in turnover margin, as its plus-18 margin is fourth in the nation. The Broncos appear to have a sizable advantage in this area, as the Huskies are ranked 31st nationally in turnover margin. 

The Broncos have only lost the turnover battle once this season, which speaks to the conservative nature of their offense and the playmaking ability of their defense. 

The Boise State defense will have a favorable matchup in the MAACO Bowl, as Washington is ranked 90th in the country in scoring. 

Huskies quarterback Keith Price failed to live up to expectations in his junior season, as he struggled mightily against good competition. The Broncos defense will be the best unit that the Washington offense has played this season, as the PAC 12 isn't home to many elite defenses. 

If the Boise State defense maintains the elite form that it has displayed throughout the season, then the Broncos will be in control of this game from the opening kickoff.