Boise State Football: Winners and Losers from Broncos' First Month

James ToljCorrespondent IIOctober 5, 2011

Boise State Football: Winners and Losers from Broncos' First Month

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    Not a lot has gone wrong for the Boise State Broncos in the first month of the season. The Broncos are 4-0, and the team doesn't look like it is going to implode anytime soon.

    So which players and positions have exceeded expectations and who has started slow out of the gate?

    Here are the players who are at the top of their games, and others who need to pick up their play in order to keep up with the rest of the team.

Winners: Shea McClellin and Tyrone Crawford

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    Shea McClellin and Tyrone Crawford are both on NFL scouts' radars. 

    In Boise State's first game against the Georgia Bulldogs, McClellin and Crawford combined for 4.0 sacks (Crawford had one assisted and one solo, and McClellin had two solo and one assisted).

    McClellin has 15 solo and six assisted tackles on the season. Crawford has nine solo and seven assisted tackles on the season.

    Crawford also leads the team in tackles for a loss with five (assisted and solo).

    Crawford and McClellin have had a solid year so far, and you can expect them to continue to cause havoc off the edge for the rest of the season.

Winner: Jerrell Gavins

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    So, how could a player who had a knee injury in practice and is out for the rest of the season be a winner? 

    There are two reasons that Jerrell Gavins is on the better side of this list.

    First, in just three games Gavins led his team and was among the top players in the NCAA in interceptions with three. Gavins also had three tackles in each game he played in with nine total, and he had a pass defended in each game as well culminating in three overall.

    Second, obviously it is extremely unfortunate that Gavins is out for the season. You can't help but feel bad for the young man, but he is lucky he got hurt when he did.

    Gavins is eligible for a red-shirt year, and if he had played in a fourth game, the year would have been used up. So, even though this year is lost, there is some good news that he will be able to rehab and come back next year. 

    Hopefully, Gavins will be able to return to form and come back with the enthusiasm for the game that he showed to start this season, and there is no doubt he is a winner in my book.

Winner: Kellen Moore

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    No player on the Broncos has gotten more attention than quarterback Kellen Moore and rightfully so.

    Moore is one of the top quarterbacks in the country, and he has posted the numbers to back up the accolades he has received. 

    Through four games, Moore has passed for 1,137 yards and completed 73.9 percent of his passes. He has also thrown for 14 touchdowns and just four interceptions while hanging an impressive 170.8 quarterback rating.

    The only game where Moore looked human was in his last contest versus Nevada where he threw for just 142 yards and had two interceptions (he did have two touchdowns though).

    Moore, who one day wants to be a coach, often looks like one on the field, and there is no greater accomplishment for a quarterback or a coach than leading his team to an undefeated season—an opportunity that Moore has this season.

    There is no question about it—Moore is the biggest winner for the first month of the Broncos' season.

Winners: Kellen Moore's Receiving Targets

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    Kellen Moore has done a great job of spreading the ball around to different targets this year. So far 11 players have caught at least one pass and seven of which have over 90 yards on the season.

    Three of Moore's wide receivers have over 200 yards on the year. Mitch Burroughs has 21 receptions for 216 yards (one touchdown), Matt Miller has 20 receptions for 206 yards (two touchdowns) and Tyler Shoemaker has 13 receptions for 201 yards (six touchdowns). 

    Two Boise State tight ends have over 90 yards with at least one touchdown. Gabe Linehan has eight receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown, and Kyle Efaw had 11 receptions for 93 yards and three touchdowns.

    If you are on the field for Boise State, you better be ready to have a ball thrown in your direction, and so far the Broncos receivers and tight ends have been.

Losers: Boise State Running Attack

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    Boise State is a pass first offense, and with Kellen Moore under center, why wouldn't it be?

    But the Boise State ground game just hasn't been nearly as effective as the passing attack.

    Boise State has a middle-of-the-road 65th ranked rushing offense, and the running backs haven't taken advantage of opposing defenses focusing on Kellen Moore.

    While the team's two leading rushers, Doug Martin and D.J. Harper, have gotten plenty of opportunities, they haven't posted great statistics.

    Martin has carried the ball 85 times for 328 yards and four touchdowns (Martin went off against Nevada for 126 yards and two touchdowns which helped his numbers). D.J. Harper has run for 158 yards and one touchdown after 41 rushing attempts. Both running backs have posted a dismal 3.9 yards per carry, and they need to improve their averages in order to be on the good side of this list. 

    Martin has performed well when receiving though. He has 14 receptions for 158 yards and a touchdown this season.

Losers: Boise State Opponents

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    The biggest losers on the month have been those teams that have been unlucky enough to face he Broncos.

    While teams have averaged 16.8 points per contest against Boise State (20th in the NCAA), Boise has averaged 36.5 points per game (28th in the NCAA).

    That means Boise State has been beating its opponents on average by 19.7 points.

    The Broncos have a few relatively tough matchups ahead, but the team's toughest game of the season has already passed after Boise laid a smackdown on the Georgia Bulldogs.

    If Boise State plays to its potential, the team should post an undefeated record and cruise towards a BCS game this season.