Boise State vs. San Diego State: 10 Things We Learned in Broncos' Loss

Martin Sondermann@@GamedayreporterAnalyst IINovember 24, 2013

Boise State vs. San Diego State: 10 Things We Learned in Broncos' Loss

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    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

    Boise State falls to 7-4 overall and 5-2 in the Mountain West as they lose a heartbreaking overtime game in San Diego 34-31.

    What makes it even more painful is that it could have been won by the Broncos in regulation with a 43-yard field goal as the game was tied 28-28. However, kicker Dan Goodale hooked it wide-left as time expired, and the game continued.

    In overtime, Boise did manage a field goal but failed to stop a pass from junior quarterback Quinn Kaehler to senior wide receiver Colin Lockett in the front corner of the end zone.

    Boise State is now in second place in the Mountain Division in the Mountain West Conference and on the outside looking in at a possible MWC championship game against Fresno State.

    It has been a very painful season for Boise State, full of hard lessons and heartbreaking moments.

    Tonight was no different.

    Let's look at some of those painful, and not so painful, lessons that were learned against the Aztecs in an effort to make sense of it all.

Grant Hedrick Took a Big Step Backward

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    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

    Well, there probably won't be a huge quarterback controversy in Boise now.

    With senior Joe Southwick looking like he could be ready to go for senior day in Bronco Stadium next Saturday, some fans who might otherwise have protested may remain quiet now.

    Grant Hedrick had looked good in his previous two games, and many fans were clamoring that he should be the guy from here on out.

    However, against San Diego State, Hedrick had a very rough game. He went 21-of-35 for just 202 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

    One of those interceptions was returned for a touchdown.

    Hedrick is certainly a good talent, but he proved that he has a ways to go before being crowned the starter. He will most likely share playing time with Southwick next week and in whatever bowl game the Broncos land in.

The Defense Played Good Enough to Win

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    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

    The Boise State defense played a great game. They held San Diego State to just 349 yards, and only 61 of those came on the ground.

    The simple fact is they played good enough to win. If other areas of the team had played to the same level, Boise State would have won going away.

A Missed Field Goal, Again!

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    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

    Boise State fans must have screamed at their television sets, "not again!"

    The Broncos had done enough to win the game. They had drove down into field-goal range in regulation, and it looked promising.

    Dan Goodale has made a 47-yard field goal this season, so why not 43?

    As the teams lined up with just :03 on the clock, the snap came, and the kick went up. Then, it went leftwide left. 

    Another missed kick that could have been a victory had to be a heartbreaking feeling for those in Bronco Nation.

    Missed field goals have cost Boise State two BCS bowls and a possible MWC championship game in three of the last four seasons.

Shane Williams-Rhodes Got Hurt

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    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

    Late in the game, sophomore wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes went down with an injury to his leg. It was hard to know if it was an ankle or knee or something else.

    There is no news yet about his condition, but as soon as there is, we will update you.

    This would be an enormous loss for Boise State. SWR is a real spark to the Broncos offense.

    Update: Still no official word on the injury to Williams-Rhodes, but he is pictured in an Idaho Statesman article post game. It appears, at least from the picture, that if he is injured it wasn't serious enough to exit with trainers.

    We will continue to update if news becomes available.

Boise State Loses to a Conference Opponent Two Years in a Row

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    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

    This is the first time since being members of the Big West Conference that the Broncos have lost two games in a row to a conference opponent.

    Boise State doesn't usually do this kind of thing. However, it has now become the new reality.

    This is the 1st time #BoiseState has lost back-to-back games vs a conference opponent since they were in the Big West. (#NTexas in 98 & 99.)

    — Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) Nov. 24, 2013

    It will be interesting to see what transpires next season in Bronco Stadium when the Aztecs come to town.

Boise State Started Very Slow Again

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    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

    Boise State has started very slow on offense many times this season. It isn't clear what the biggest reason is, but it was another horribly slow beginning in San Diego Saturday.

    It was remarkable that Boise State rebounded. The only reason was because the defense kept the game close enough in the first half. Coach Petersen even made mention of this in his postgame presser.

    Coach Pete basically said they have to get right on offense. Even with that slow start, pretty incredible they were that close to winning.

    — Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) Nov. 24, 2013

    Boise State must fix this. For the sake of the rest of the season and for next season, as well.

The Offense and Special Teams Didn't Do What They Needed to Do

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    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

    As previously mentioned, the key deficiencies Saturday for Boise State were on offense and with special teams.

    Of course, both had good moments. There was the 100-yard kickoff return by Bryan Douglas, but there was also a punt return allowed for a score and that missed field goal. 

    There was a nice touchdown pass to Matt Miller, but there was also an interception thrown for a touchdown by Grant Hedrick.

    If either special teams or the offense plays a little better in San Diego, Boise probably comes home with a win.

Chris Petersen Has His Worst Record as a Head Coach

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    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

    Head coach Chris Petersen will have his worst record as a head coach, and that's with at least two games remaining on the schedule when you include a bowl game. 

    Since this hasn't happened before, it will be interesting to see how he and his team respond.

    Who knows, it might even be the spark that keeps him in Boise and gives him and his team the motivation they need in the first year of the new playoff system.

Boise State Most Likely Drops to a Lesser Bowl

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    USA TODAY Sports

    For those fans of Boise State who have been complaining about another possible Las Vegas Bowl appearance. Well, you probably don't have to worry about it.

    You probably don't even have to consider a Poinsettia Bowl appearance in San Diego, either. Most likely, San Diego State now plays at home, and either Utah State or Fresno State play in Vegas.

    However, if the Aggies stumble next week and Boise State wins, that could change.

    But for now, it looks like either Hawaii against a Conference USA team, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl against a Pac-12 team, the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl against Navy or the Potato Bowl against a MAC team.

Boise State Trails Utah State for the MWC Championship Game

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    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Spor

    For Boise State to make it to the Mountain West title game, there are two things that have to happen.

    First, Utah State must lose. The Aggies play Wyoming at home at 2:00 p.m. ET next Saturday. If they lose, that will open the door for Boise state.

    Second, the Broncos must take care of business against New Mexico in Bronco Stadium late Saturday night.

    This is a long shot, but a chance nonetheless.