The Boise State Broncos moved to 7-3 overall and 5-1 in the Mountain West Conference Saturday with a win over the Wyoming Cowboys, now 4-6 overall and 2-4 in the MWC.
The Broncos can now look forward to next week's game with San Diego State. It will be another "must win" for Boise State as it is in contention for a MWC title game spot.
If the Broncos win that game and finish with a victory over New Mexico the following week, the Broncos will most likely face Fresno State in a rematch to see who will be crowned MWC champs.
Head coach Chris Petersen has to be happy with his team's performance against the Pokes, as they held the Wyoming offense to just 265 yards and seven points.
The Boise State offense also looked good in the win, racking up 48 unanswered points and looking good in the process.
Let's look at all the lessons we learned in the Broncos win and try to determine what it all means as they move into the last two games of the regular season.
How many times have the Broncos started slow this season?
Well, if you ask head coach Chris Petersen, he would probably say, "Way too much."
Boise State did it again as on the first offensive series, after the defense held the Pokes on a very good three-and-out.
Grant Hedrick proceeded to fumble the ball on the first offensive drive, and Wyoming took over. The Cowboys then went on a 6-play, 46-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown.
Boise State then had to climb out of a hole once again. Of course, they did it in grand fashion rolling off 48 points unanswered. Still, coaches and players can't be happy about the way the Broncos have been starting.
Grant Hedrick did some good things Saturday. In fact, he looked really good at times.
However, a few times on the night he let the ball hang up there on long passes or under-threw it by quite a bit.
Still, it is better to under-throw in single coverage, which is what he did. But he had an interception on a poorly thrown pass, and on at least two occasions, he didn't hit his receiver in stride when it could have been a score.
Overall, he went 27-of-36 for 265 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He ran six times for 17 yards.
Once again, it was a solid performance for the junior.
If you were at the game, or watched it in the warmth of your home or elsewhere, you might have noticed all the young players in the game for Boise State.
Redshirt freshman running back Devan Demas showed some of his stuff tonight. He carried 12 times for 73 yards. He would have had more, had it not been for penalties.
Another redshirt freshman, Charles Bertoli also did some good things on the ground. He carried six times for 30 yards.
Sophomore Shane Williams-Rhodes continues to impress, and redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Patti had some good moments. Also, don't forget that Jay Ajayi is only a sophomore as well.
On defense, it was nice to see sophomore safety Taylor Loffler get his first interception, and it was equally impressive watching cornerback Donte Deayon get yet another one.
As the season has progressed, and injuries have taken their toll, it has been impressive how many young players seem to be stepping up.
What does that mean for the rest of this season and beyond?
Probably very good things for the Broncos.
This had to be the best overall performance the Broncos have shown on defense all season long.
They held the Cowboys offense to just 265 yards and seven points. And that is saying something, considering Wyoming averages over 33 points a game.
The tackling was better, especially in the open field. The blitzing seemed to be more creative and unpredictable. The secondary played much more aggressive and had solid coverage all game long.
This bodes well for Boise State as it looks to finish strong.
Senior quarterback Joe Southwick was at the game. No, he didn't dress down, but he was throwing passes to receivers in pregame warm-ups.
He will most likely get the start on senior day in Bronco Stadium just two weeks from now when the Broncos host New Mexico.
That will most likely start a whole new round of conversations in Boise.
It was fun to see the fake reverse work for a touchdown.
It was probably even more fun to see the hook-and-lateral to an offensive lineman that failed for one.
No matter what, it is fun to see Boise State doing "Boise State" stuff. It's what keeps the opponents guessing, and the crowd and team excited.
It is part of who they are, but it certainly doesn't define them. However, it is something that makes Boise State football special, and it was nice to see.
Shane Williams-Rhodes just seems to be getting better. Perhaps it's because the coaches are able to get him more involved in the game plan.
But no matter the case, this kid is something special.
His moves and toughness are second to none, and if Boise State can keep raising the bar, it sure seems like the 5'6" Williams-Rhodes is fully capable of leaping over it.
Look for more SWR next week against San Diego State.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Patti came in as a backup late in the game Saturday.
He went 2-of-3 for 18 yards, including an amazing pass to Troy Ware. He also ran three times for 23 yards.
He looked much more confident than in past appearances or scrimmages, and he definitely showed potential.
Boise State has to consider itself fortunate to have backups with the ability to lead an offense efficiently when called upon.
The Broncos were back Saturday.
They looked like a serious contender for the Mountain West Conference title. Not only that, but coaches, players and fans have to be excited for the future of this team.
Next season the schedule will be challenging, but they get some key games at home. This season, they still have two games, and if they win them, they are playing for the MWC championship.
They lost to Fresno State by one point early in the season, but if they play like they did against Wyoming, the Bulldogs might be in trouble if they meet up in the title game.
Junior Dan Goodale continues to impress with his foot.
Saturday he was 6-of-6 for extra points, and he was 2-of-2 for field goals. However, the most impressive stat might be that he was able to nail a kick from 47 yards.
When was the last time a Boise State kicker could say that?
Of course, the 47-yard field goal would have only been good from 47 and a half yards. But, hey, it went through.
That has to give him and the coaching staff some confidence going into the last few games of the season.