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Boise State-Miami of Ohio: And the Defense Shall Lead Them

Zachary Ball@MLBDraftCntdwnAnalyst ISeptember 15, 2009

So I'm watching the tape-delay version of the Boise State-Miami of Ohio game on ESPN 360, and I've already been struck by a few dozen things.

First, though, I just wanted to take time to savor and appreciate BSU's 48-0 win that featured that signature explosive Boise State offense that is starting to come to life, and that astoundingly stout defense that is quickly becoming the new Broncos staple. 

Kellen Moore is directing this offense as well as anyone in the county, save for that Tebow fellow right now. The fact that he's only a sophomore makes me VERY happy, and very confident that assuming he stays all four years, the Broncos could have a legitimate shot at having four consecutive undefeated seasons.

Name me a starter who's been able to accomplish that, even without a top-notch strength of schedule. Two wins over Oregon would make that impressive, as would a prospective W over Virginia Tech next October.

It seems the offense is firing on all cylinders after getting off to a sloppy start to the season against Oregon. The running game is still trucking all, after getting a truck-load of confidence in that OU game. I really like the decision to keep Jeremy Avery or D.J. Harper on the field for extended periods at a time, ditching the play-for-play subbing of last year. 

The real story of this year's team, however, is looking like it's going to be this stellar Broncos defense. After allowing only eight points and 152 yards of total offense to the Ducks, the D was even better against the RedHawks, allowing more yards (194), but forcing four turnovers and notching their first shutout of the season.

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Special teams play continues to be one of Boise State's staples. A blocked punt, five punts for a 45.6 average, and a 32-yard punt return aided the Broncos in cementing their 48 point victory.

Here's some other things that really jumped out at me, positive and negative:

- Back in the day, you knew that if the Broncos fumbled the ball on the center-QB exchange it was probably by design. These days, it seems like Kellen Moore is diving on fumbled footballs like they're covered in gold or something.

The coaching staff is putting the responsibility on the fumbles on center Thomas Byrd, who apparently loses a little bit of focus when he has a big block to make. Might I suggest these two get lots of reps during the week against the Broncos defense? I can handle a fumble here or there when leading by multiple TDs, but not if a WAC title or BCS berth is on the line.

- Byron Hout didn't seem to be affected much by getting decked last week by LeGarrette Blount. The sophomore defensive end made four tackles, one and a half for loss, and was a run-stuffing fiend against the RedHawks. 

- Unlike the Oregon game, where the Broncos dominated time of possession, the Broncos scored quickly and didn't have many time-sustaining drives. As such, they lost the time of possession battle (34 minutes to 25), but still managed to score a huge victory.

- The Broncos run defense is absolutely amazing. After holding the vaunted Ducks to 31 rushing yards, the D only allowed 38 against the RedHawks. The D ranks sixth in the nation in run defense after two games, behind traditional powers Alabama, Texas A&M, Louisville, Oklahoma and Arizona State. Of those six, only Boise State, Oklahoma and Alabama have played two contests. 

- The pass defense hasn't been a slouch either. The Broncos rank 18th in the nation in pass D, allowing 138 yards per game with five interceptions, tied for sixth best in the nation.

- In terms of total offense, Boise State now ranks sixth, allowing only 173 yards per game. Leading the Broncos are Arizona State, Louisville, Tennessee, NC State and Boston College.

- By the numbers, Kellen Moore is the 16th rated passer in the nation with a rating of 167.0. The super-sophomore has completed 63.6 percent of his passes for five scores and one INT. His 9.2 yards per attempt is good for 19th in the nation.

- Is it just me, or is Kyle Wilson calling for way too many fair catches. I understand that the Broncos want to keep him healthy and that a punt return for a TD doesn't mean much when you're already leading by 35, but fair catches used to be the bane of Boise State's existence. What happened? BTW, Wilson ranks 61st in the nation with a 4.75 yards per return.

- This may surprise you, but the vaunted Boise State offense ranks 51st in the nation, behind super-powers like Louisiana's Monroe and Lafayette, Temple and Fresno State.

- Kyle Brotzman is the team's best kicker right? He's also their best punter. And one of the best in the nation. Coming into the Broncos third game, BSU ranks ninth in the nation in net punting, aided by Brotzman's rugby style kicks, which make it insanely difficult for returners to get a handle on the punts.

- Special teams has provided the Broncos with great starting field position this season. The Broncos rank eighth in kick return yardage at 32.25 yards per return. The Broncos also excel at keeping their opponent from good field position, holding their two opponents to 17.27 yards per return.

- This Boise State receiving crew has some sure hands. Watching both the Oregon and Miami of Ohio games, I didn't see more than two or three dropped passes. The wideouts, and the tight-ends too, are catching everything that they should be, and also making some extraordinary grabs, including Tyler Shoemaker's second quarter grab against Miami.

- Even with Brotzman's shaky start to the season, I still think he's one of the best kickers in the nation. I would still trust him with a game-winning kick to save the season.

The Broncos head to Fresno, CA this week for a Friday night tilt with the Bulldogs. This is the first WAC contest for each team, so expect both teams to come out with plenty of motivation.

The Broncos continue to try to fix the little things that are ailing them (turnovers, missed opportunities) while the Bulldogs will be ready to go, looking to avenge their OT loss against Wisconsin this past week.

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