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If other teams are able to do to Boise State what Bishop Sankey did on August 31, the Broncos will have trouble in several conference games this year.
As improved as the Boise State defense looked against Tennessee-Martin compared to the Washington game, the Broncos still had a bit of trouble slowing down the Skyhawks’ rushing attack. Boise State gave up 152 yards on the ground on Saturday, which would be a decent total against an FBS opponent but leaves room for improvement when the stat line comes against an FCS squad.
It was not surprising the Broncos had trouble against Bishop Sankey in the season opener, and Boise State surely will not be the last team this year that will have difficulties slowing down Washington’s bruising tailback. But after two games, the Broncos rank seventh in the conference in rushing yards given up per game, allowing 207.5 yards.
Solving the issue will not be an easy task. Heading into the season, fans were well aware the defense could be a yearlong work-in-progress for the Broncos. The loss of Sam Ukwuachu meant Demarcus Lawrence and Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe would be the only players with significant starter’s experience on the defensive line.
Moving forward, someone will need to step up and fill the void that Ukwuachu’s presence causes. Sankey’s performance against Boise State will result in other teams with good running games trying to attack the Broncos’ front line. The secondary should improve as the new starters adjust, and it can only improve with the addition of another playmaker.
The game against Air Force this coming Saturday presents a ton of problems if the Broncos do not find a way to slow down the opposing run game. Although the Falcons did not look good this past Saturday, they have the ability to gash the Broncos’ current soft spot in the defense.
Moving forward, the Broncos will not make it to the MWC title game if the run defense doesn’t rise steadily in the overall ranking for yards allowed.