New Mexico vs. Boise State: 10 Things We Learned in Broncos' Win
Boise State is now 8-4 overall and 6-2 in the Mountain West after thumping the Lobos of New Mexico 45-17 in Bronco Stadium.
The game was never very close, and Boise State certainly didn't look like a team suffering from a letdown after losing a heartbreaker last week to San Diego State.
This game may have been dominated by the Broncos, but it wasn't without its problems. Let's take a look at the lessons of the game, and what it might mean going into bowl season and beyond.
Joe Southwick Is a Competitor
Joe Southwick limped into the game, and proceeded to run three plays. All he did in those three plays was lead his team to a touchdown.
Southwick got the start, and he only played one series. He was still visibly limping after suffering a broken ankle against Nevada in game seven.
He should be much better by the time the bowl comes around, and you can probably expect more from him in that game.
People can say what they want about Joe Southwick, but he is a tough competitor. If he hadn't been hurt, who knows how this season might have went?
Jay Ajayi Is Something Special
Jay Ajayi just keeps getting better.
Since his early-season troubles with fumbling, the sophomore has simply lit things up.
Against New Mexico, Ajayi was responsible for 252 of the Broncos' 433 yards of offense. He did it with 22 carries for 147 yards and four catches for another 105 yards. He had two touchdowns, one by ground and one by air.
His brutal style of running mixed with his deceptive speed has become a huge weapon for the Boise State offense.
Look for him to be a difference in the bowl game, and going into next season.
Boise State Will Finish the Season Unranked
The Broncos are usually ranked at the end of the football season. However, with a record of 8-4, a ranking is not possible.
If Boise State can finish strong and win its bowl game, it may give the team some momentum for next season, but this will be the first time, in a long time the team isn't ranked in the Top 25 of the BCS standings.
The Defense Was a Mixed Bag
The defense did a good job tonight, but there were still some fundamental issues.
Tackling has been a problem for the defense this season, and while the team did much better against New Mexico, there were moments when tackling was not what it should have been.
Still, the huge stand-down on the goal line in the first half was impressive. The Broncos held the Lobos to no score on four plays from just a few feet away. If they had scored, it would have tied the game at 14.
The Broncos offense then went 99 yards for a score to make the game 21-7.
The Broncos Finished Strong
Boise State could have let down Saturday. They could have just coasted through the game against New Mexico.
But, they didn't.
Boise State came into the game against the Lobos prepared and ready to play. The Broncos finished strong, and that will help going into bowl season.
It will also help in the area of recruiting, and for some momentum going into next season.
Bowl Season Is Still a Mystery
Now that Boise State has finished the regular season, the question becomes one of where do the Broncos go next?
It's bowl season, and Boise State still doesn't know where it will go bowling.
With seven teams eligible in the Mountain West and only six bowl game partnerships, it could get interesting.
If the MW decides to shop the Broncos, it could mean they could end up in a different game altogether.
However, it could also mean that one of the seven teams in the MW gets left out, and if that happened, the Broncos would end up going to either New Mexico, Texas, Hawaii, San Diego or even perhaps Boise for the postseason.
According to Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman, if Jay Ajayi gets his way, it will be New Mexico.
Jay Ajayi lobbies for New Mexico Bowl ... for Pac-12 opponent
— Bronco Beat (@IDS_BroncoBeat) December 1, 2013
The Coach Petersen Talk Will Now Explode
Now that the regular season is over the avalanche of speculation concerning coach Chris Petersen should commence.
It is the same every season, and by now Boise State fans are used to it.
The simple fact is that coach Petersen won't leave unless it's time for him to leave.
Who determines that?
Well, coach Pete does.
However, with the number of players returning for Boise State, the new challenges that were created this season, with scholarships coming back, new facilities to enjoy and a very intriguing recruiting class ahead, there is certainly enough to keep him busy in Boise.
Charles Bertoli and Devan Demas Keep Impressing
Freshman running back Charles Bertoli doesn't play much, but when he does he impresses.
Keep an eye on this guy. He has a tough running style, and he has moves that are deceptive. Many fans may not know his name yet, but make no mistake, one day they will.
Freshman running back Devan Demas is another player to watch.
His speed, his moves and his toughness all translate to something special. Against the Lobos he carried three times for 24 yards and a score.
Boise State Will Be Better Next Season
The Broncos currently have 49 freshmen on their roster. They also have 18 sophomores and 19 juniors.
This is a young, but very talented team.
Boise State will lose a handful of starters to graduation this season, but the bulk of the team will be back next season. In fact, the bulk of the team will be back for the next couple of seasons.
Anyone who is worried about Boise State improving next season simply hasn't looked at the facts.
Boise State Fans Can Be Proud of the Seniors
It was senior night for Boise State. The Broncos will lose 16 players to graduation.
Among the notable starters are quarterback Joe Southwick, offensive linemen Charles Leno Jr., Matt Paradis and Spencer Gerke, punter Trevor Harman and defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe.
Boise State fans can be proud of this class. This group played in some amazing games over the last five seasons.
Wide Receiver Geraldo Boldewijn
Linebacker Jonathan Brown
Offensive Line Jake Broyles
Wide Receiver Aaron Burks
Offensive Line Spencer Gerke
Punter Trevor Harman
Linebacker Dustin Kamper
Offensive Line Charles Leno Jr.
Tight End Gabe Linehan
Safety Ebo Makinde
Defensive End Kharyee Marshall
Wide Receiver Kirby Moore
Offensive Line Matt Paradis
Quarterback Joe Southwick
Defensive Tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe
Offensive Line Chris Tozer