Boise State Track Has An Image Problem

A former Women’s Track and Field athlete at BSU has filed a lawsuit accusing the University of being in violation of Title IX because they took no action after two complaints of harassment and rape had been made against a male athlete by two different women.

Here comes the nauseating part:

“Coach Hardy said that he could not help her because she had consumed a minor amount of alcohol before the rape,” Allred wrote in the lawsuit. “He failed to inform her of her right to file a criminal complaint against the BSU perpetrator, and even failed to provide her with information regarding available mental health services.”

This is the second woman that former coach J.W. Hardy gave this line to in response to them telling him that another member of their team wouldn’t listen to the word no and raped them.  The lawsuit also claims that the male athlete would often slap them on the butt, make lewd faces, and generally make practice a hellacious environment for his victims.

Some might believe that it couldn’t be that bad to be raped and then have to face the guy every day; that victims must “want it” somehow. She was drinking at the time of the assault. Not too much of a stretch to think they both were. Maybe she was wearing a short skirt or a low cut top. Maybe both! And lipstick! She was probably talking to her teammates, having a good time. Maybe she liked her attacker. Maybe they were flirting. None of those things are of any consequence whatsoever in this case. This case is about a woman going to her coach who she most likely trusts, opening up and saying out loud that someone took advantage of her and is now being an antagonistic jerk about it, and being told that because she was drinking, the university couldn’t help. He couldn’t help.

Hardy’s contract was not renewed in 2013. That means that he knew for over a year and did nothing. My question, and the one that Boise State is going to have to answer, is who knew? Who else looked around the track program and saw nothing wrong? How many assistant coaches? How many graduate assistants?  How many assumed that this behavior was okay? Because the lady is about to get her and her high powered lawyer very paid if that number is more than 4 – the perpetrator, the victims, and Coach Hardy.

Boise State Track and Field has an image problem. This isn’t the first lawsuit BSU is going to have to settle on their behalf. In 2008, Amy Christoffersen, an assistant (in fact the only female) coach sued because she was being paid roughly $15,000 a year less than male assistants with less experience. The difference between twenty thousand dollars a year and thirty five thousand dollars a year is the poverty line. She got tasked with anything deemed secretarial, like booking travel, keeping track of meal money, and keeping financial records. She was also demoted after 9 years from assistant coach to insurance coordinator. Of course, this was under Head Coach Mike Maynard, but this was the lawsuit that launched the NCAA investigation that would take both the coach’s job, as well as the AD who built the joint, Gene Bleymeyer, now the AD at SJSU. It would also find violations in Tennis, Track, and Football. (Admittedly, football’s violations were the ridiculous Cheeseburger and Couchgate.)

Boise State is going to have to answer some questions before the image issue corrects. Is this just leftover misogynistic residue from the previous AD? Has everyone associated with the Boise State Track Program who let this go on been disciplined and up-trained or just fired? Can we hear from someone who isn’t a man who works inside the Athletic Department truthfully discuss the current state of that office? Because if this ass patting testosterone fest is still the daily, there is a big issue that has to be resolved before Boise State can call itself “a metropolitan university of distinction.”

Boise State Basketball: Nevada Bound

Photo courtesy Otto Kitsinger

There are some teams in the Mountain West that are difficult to work up rage toward. UNR is emphatically not one of them. The fact that Reno exists is irritating in itself, let alone the dormant coals of a rivalry that finally got blown into a full-on inferno during a football game in 2010 that never happened and must not be recalled.

Boise State is a long way off from meeting the Wolfpack again on the gridiron, but the Basketball Broncos play them Tuesday night at the Lawlor Events Center. Reno is off to an annoyingly good start, currently 4-0 in conference games. Making that stat more infuriating, is the fact that Nevada’s signature OOC wins so far include such perennial powerhouses as Cal Poly and Iona. This is a team that has lost to not only UCLA and Mizzou, but Morehead State and Nebraska-Omaha. What gives, Reno?

Basically, they are Boise’s opposite in that:

-          They are from Reno, and all that entails.

-          They have gotten hot going into conference play.

Most of that heat is coming from one particular player, Deonte Burton. He has been posterizing players forever, but the best example is this filthy dunk against UNLV.

Burton is the biggest weapon for the Pack by far, scoring 21 PPG, and playing almost every minute. However, there are more players for Nevada that hold their own – Jerry Evans Jr. leads the team in assists, and A.J. West is pulling down 7.8 (!) boards per game. In their last outing against Utah State, Cole Huff dumped in 16 points, 12 of those coming from behind the arc. Evans has been in a 3lo like slump for the last few games, but just like Jeff, could break out of that rut at any point and really put a hurting on a team not prepared to defend him.

Going on the road in the Mountain West is kinda like SEC football, except the “Murderer’s Row” thing is real. MWC teams have a tendency to protect their home courts with a ferocity usually reserved for mothers of small children who are in danger. That’s why this upcoming game is so nerve-wracking – The Broncos are a quite talented team whose members aren’t all playing up to their potential. Elloriaga might as well be in Siberia for how cold his shot is right now, Marks and Iggy, while helping the cause, just aren’t taking enough pressure off Drmic and Watkins. Anthony and Ryan have been carrying most of the Bronco’s load as of late, and while it’s pretty awesome to watch them both play like they’re half-possessed by the lingering spirits of Chris Childs and Tanoka Beard, it’s going to be a long conference schedule and a disappointing post-season if something doesn’t change soon.

Luckily, basketball is a game of streaks. Winning streaks, losing streaks, games where it seems like all is lost from the opening tip, and games where everything goes right, the calls go the right way and the rims are friendly. While that at-large bid was very nice last season, all it takes is one hot run through the conference tournament and all of a sudden the guys are dancing again. Can the Broncos take control of their fate, starting with a good ol’ fashioned Wolf stomp on Tuesday night? That depends on if they can do the most difficult task in the MWC – take the home crowd out of the equation, control time of possession, and hit some dang shots. Be careful down there, guys, make sure to measure the basket before ya play, and please wipe the Reno off your shoes before you get home.

The game tips off at 8:05 Boise time and although it will not be televised it will be streamed online at www.broncosports.com/sports/m-baskbl/live-game.html and can also be heard on the radio at 670 AM KBOI.

5 Keys Boise State vs Wyoming

27c1f54c-851d-4918-b72b-e718677562b1_zps1a5e06fd1.) Boise State’s Defense vs Brett Smith: Brett Smith is the weapon that Boise State has to fear the most. He is another “dual-threat” QB, who can beat you through the air, and on the ground. So far this season Smith has thrown 20 touchdown passes, and ran for 3 more. At his best, he can cause problems for anybody, against Nebraska, Smith threw for 383 yards, and 4 touchdowns. For Boise State to beat Wyoming, they will need to repeat last years performance against Smith, where they limited him to 9 rushing yards, and 9 touchdowns through the air.

2.) Expose the Weak Defense of Wyoming: Grant Hedrick against Colorado State had a game for the record books. Going against Wyoming at home could provide another opportunity at a big night. Wyoming currently ranks 100th in the nation for points scored against them. They are giving up 33 points per game, and have really struggled in all areas. They have a new defensive coordinator as of their last game against Fresno. However, this late in the year it would be surprising to see much fixed. Against San Jose State, and Fresno State, they have given up 842 yards through the air. If Boise State can continue this success through the air, with an already potent running attack BSU could have an easy game.

3.) Weather, Late Start, and a Bye Week: If there was ever a chance for a team to have a weird game it could be Saturday night. You have a game that starts very late, you are coming off a bye week which cold be good, or it could make you rusty to start, and oh yeah an 80% chance of rain and cold weather Saturday. Boise State will have to be able to block these factors out against Wyoming if they hope to pull of a win. 1 x-factor can be hard, 3 could be a problem.

4.) Calling Korey Hall, Can We Learn to Tackle?: For anybody watching Boise State this year the biggest weakness has been obvious. That weakness is tackling, which is odd for a Boise State team which prides itself on fundamentals. With young players, injuries, and inexperience comes growing pains. But this late in the year with a Mountain West Championship berth on the line, Boise State must tackle better. Wyoming does not have the “play-makers” like Fresno State on the edge, but if they can’t tackle it won’t matter. Boise State has to tackle better or it could be another unexpected long night for fans.

5.) Regain that Boise State Attitude: I could be in the minority, I could be wrong, and this could mean nothing. However, when I watch this years edition of Boise State I don’t see the same attitude I have seen in years past. Before this year, under Coach Pete, our guys played with confidence, so much so that it almost came off as a weird respectful arrogance. Losing 3 games can bring anybody down, and Coach Pete has said as much in his press conferences this year. But for Boise State to snag that Mountain West Championship they will need that attitude back. Boise State needs to find their chip, they need to find that under-dog mentality again. If they can do that, Boise State can once again rise to the level we are use to.

Follow Me on Twitter: @HeathBTN

5 Keys Boise State vs Nevada

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1.) The Battle of the Pistol: In most cases, if I were to say it is the teachers vs the student in regards to Boise State vs Nevada football, you would always think of the teacher as Boise State. However, tomorrow night those roles will be reversed – the teacher will be Nevada, and the student Boise State. BSU now uses the offense that made Chris Ault, and Nevada famous. The question is, who will be more effective in using it? Can Joe Southwick and the Broncos out “pistol” Cody Fajardo and the Wolfpack? Based on the season so far, the answer would be yes, as the Broncos average about 10 more points per game than UNR. However, in a rivalry game you just never know what is going to happen. The team that can “fire” on all cylinders in the Pistol Offense should have the upper hand in this game.

2.) Stay Balanced: Perhaps the most overlooked statistic of Boise State this season is how balanced on offense they have been. As of right now Boise State has thrown the ball 228 times, and ran the ball 277. This balance feeds off each other, the pass opens up the run, the run opens up the pass. When Boise State keeps teams guessing that is when they are most dangerous. Especially in this new up-tempo offense that already has opposing defenses struggling to diagnosis pre-snap formations and plays.

3.) Calling Matt Miller: He leads the team in receptions, and still is without a doubt the best all around WR Boise State has on the team. However, against Utah State, Miller only had 2 receptions and a considerably bad game for a guy we have come to depend on. Against Nevada, Matt Miller will need to step back into his role of the “go to guy” and have a solid game. Especially if this game is close and we need key 3rd down conversions.

4.) Cody Fajardo Must Be Stopped: Cody Fajardo has not thrown an interception this season. In 158 attempts, he has 7 touchdowns and has completed 68% of his passes. He has also rushed for 272 yards and 5 touchdowns. All of this while missing 2 games already this season. For Boise State to be successful the Broncos will need to get after Fajardo, get pressure on him, and force him into some bad passes. Forcing a turnover or 2 from the very efficient QB could go a long way to getting the Broncos a win.

5.) Passing Touchdowns vs Interceptions: In the 3 loses Nevada has suffered this season they have given up 7 passing touchdowns and only forced 1 interception. In their 3 wins, they have only given up 2 passing touchdowns and forced 3 interceptions. Though UNR this season has given up a lot of points per game (38.2), when they are able to have success against the opposing teams passing game they seem to find a way to win. If Joe Southwick can continue to protect the football and get a couple passes in the endzone. Boise State should find this game to be an easy victory. However, if Nevada can contain Joe and the passing game, the Wolfpack might just find a way to hang around longer than Bronco fans would like.

Follow me on Twitter: @HeathBTN

BTN Offseason Interview Series – Jamar Taylor

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Enter the 5th interview in this segment of the BTN Offseason Interview Series! We have been pumped here at the BTN to deliver articles with Boise State alumni to our viewers. If you missed the Derrell Acrey, Tommy Smith, Marty Tadman, or Austin Pettis interview(s) – check them out.

Boise State fans are all excited about Jamar Taylor in the draft this April. I got to ask Jamar a few questions in this installment of the BTN Interview Series.

BTN: Pettis, Young, Shoemaker, and Miller – there have been terrific receivers at Boise State the past few years. Who was the toughest cover in practice and why?
JT: They were all a different type of receiver. Titus was fast, great route runner, Pettis was big with soft hands and Matt is very physical with soft hands. I got great work with all them at practice and they all were tough to cover!

BTN: Coach Petersen always seemed to get thrown around in rumors of taking a head coaching job somewhere else, but now we know none of them have been true. How did you and other players handle the rumors? Did you ever believe them? What do you have to say to fans that worry about Petersen leaving Boise State in the near future?

JT: We never worried. We know coach Pete would do what’s best for him and his family. We just focused on our team and the next opponent. I would tell fans to not believe everything they hear. Coach Pete is a first class type of guy and would let everyone know if he ever thought about leaving.

BTN: The year was filled with many ups and downs. When did the team seem to be playing its best ball?

JT: I think we played our best towards the end of season. We just kept getting better game by game and it showed. We were young but it’s the best team I’ve been on. So many hard working guys that never complained about anything and just tried to learn everyday.

BTN: The combine and NFL draft preparation must be of the up most importance at this time. What specifically are you doing to prepare?

JT: Just training for the combine and eating right, film etc. Doing all the things I need to do to prepare myself for the next level. But at the same time correcting my technique from this season so I won’t be sloppy at the combine.

BTN: What is your favorite personal moment and team moment during your football career at Boise State?

JT: My favorite personal moment is when I got a interception my true freshmen here against San Jose. My whole family was there and it was my first college interception. My favorite team moment was everyday at practice or workouts just going to work with a great group of guys everyday for the past 5 years!

Twitter – @Mike_BTN

BTN Offseason Interview Series – Derrell Acrey

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Derrell Acrey was a player who wore his heart on his sleeve. When he stepped on the field you knew you were gonna get 100%. Many fans may remember him for his epic pre-game ritual in the middle of the Bronco’s huddle. Other may remember him for his endless effort and 2 Fiesta Bowl wins. Whatever it is, few players sum up what it means to be a Bronco like Derrell Acrey. Because of this, we are excited to provide you with our next installment of the Blue Turf Nation Interview series, with none other than Derrell Acrey.

BTN: You were a part of both Fiesta Bowls, is there one thing that comes to mind that made both those teams so successful? And what would you tell the current roster to help them reach that level of success?

DA: The first thing that comes to mind that made those teams so successful was our team chemistry! I felt so part of the team as a freshman. Everyone new their role and made sacrifices on and off the field, and that pushed the team to Greatness.

BTN: Boise State has become so well known for our pre-game huddle, often broadcasted on National Television, what was it like to lead your team in that pre-game ritual? How did you make sure that pre-game tradition continued after you graduated?

DA: The pre-game huddle started my sophomore year. Bush Hadman (QB. 3) was trying to come up with something new during camp. He approached me for ideas because he said he I had great enthusiasm. After we came up with something he suggested that I LED the pre-game huddle. I was extremely honored that the team would look to a sophomore for moral support. I was nervous for the first game but it just felt right. The energy flowing off of the team moments before we went to battle was like non other. Like a wild beast waiting to be unleashed! Months of preparation and years of tradition rolling down my spine! Staring success square in the face… and Nothing was going to stop us from getting there.

After a couple of years of modifying our pre-game huddle everyone on the team kept asking what was going to happen once I graduated. Who was going to lead and what to say? I kept telling them I’m not worried. Everyone on the team is a leader in their own way… They’ll make it happen

BTN: I recently saw you tweet about how important Ray Lewis was to you as a player, what is it about Ray Lewis that you admire as a football player? And what did you try to emulate about him when you were on the football field?

DA: Ray Lewis brought tenacity and so much passion to the game when he played. And everyone could see it on the field. As a natural leader, I tried to be my best and bring that same passion and excitement to the game.

BTN: Coach Petersen always seemed to get thrown around in rumors of taking a head coaching job somewhere else, but now we know none of them have been true. How did you and other players handle the rumors? Did you ever believe them? What do you have to say to fans that worry about Petersen leaving Boise State in the near future?

DA: We never really worried about it as players. We hear rumors all the time about things associated with football throughout college, and this was no different. So as players, we just tried to make ourselves better on and off the field regardless of who our coach was. Those kinds of things can drive a player crazy thinking about that and not focusing on the task at hand.

My message for the fans would be just relax. Yeah there is always a chance a coach might leave a team but Coach Pete loves the town and the program. I know his goal is to make the Bronco program so great that no coach wants to leave. So keep showing support on and off the field because as a man who pays attention to the little things, I’m sure he sees it

BTN: What is your favorite personal moment and team moment during your football career at Boise State?

DA: My favorite personal moment would definitely have to be the first play of my senior game. I was battling injuries and we just had a crushing loss to Nevada that prevented us from going to the Rose Bowl and everyone was wondering how we would answer to a loss like that. Some people thought we would come out with our heads down and not play like the Boise State we know and love. Well I disproved that theory with and interception for a touchdown the first play of the game while my family was barely walking off the field. Couldn’t happen any better.

My favorite team moment, as everyone else I’m sure, might be the first Fiesta Bowl. The journey just to get to the game was great, but the actual game was something out of a movie script. That game showed the nation that the Boise State Broncos we’re here to play!

BTN Offseason Interview Series – Marty Tadman

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Few names within Bronco Nation are as popular as Marty Tadman. From the years of big plays to the moments like the Fiesta Bowl that we will never forget. The Blue Turf Nation was lucky enough to get a chance to have Marty answer a few questions. Here is the second interview in our special Blue Turf Nation Off-season Interview series.

BTN: You were at Boise State during the coaching change from Dan Hawkins to Chris Petersen. Being that Coach Pete came from the offensive side of the ball, how was that transition for you being a defensive player?

 MT: The transition from Coach Hawk to Coach Pete didn’t change too much for the defense. As head coaches in college football rely mostly on their coordinators and assistant coaches to take control of both sides of the ball. So for the defense, the main transition was from Coach Collins to Coach Wilcox. It wasn’t much different from the head coach standpoint, just different from the actual coordinators they had or brought with them.

BTN: After your career finished at Boise State it was reported you went on to workout with the New York Jets. After that did you continue to pursue the NFL? Is football something you still would like to be involved with someday perhaps coach at some level?

MT: After the Jets, my wife and I were pregnant and had decided to call it quits without pursuing professional football options at all. It was more important for us at the time to focus on our family, and it was a guessing game if I would have had a chance in the NFL or Canada at all, so we called it quits very early on. I don’t have any desire to coach football in the future, unless I have a boy ( currently I have 2 daughters). I enjoy my current profession, and the flexibility it has to spend a lot of time at home with my family. My involvement with football going forward is pretty much just a fan of the game, and have no plans to take it anywhere beyond that in the foreseeable future.

 BTN: You finished your career with 14 interceptions, and you always seemed to find a way to make a big play in the big games. What was it about your style of play that made you so successful at creating turnovers?

MT: My gift and talents on the field had a lot to do with the mental parts of the game. I worked very hard on studying film, so that when games came, I would allow my instinct to take over naturally, and put myself in position to create turnovers. A lot of people I know think or thought I was a very lucky player, that a lot of times the ball would just come right to me, my response to that has always been that I prepared well before games, and I would use the mental part of the game to put myself in positions I believed the ball would be, and I would have a lot of interceptions thrown right to me because I was in the right spot at the right time. I also grew up as a quarterback and receiver, so knowing the offensive side of the ball’s mindset helped a lot in reading offenses and knowing what their tendencies were. The coaches also did a great job at calling the right plays at the right times, and putting me in a position to be successful with my limited physical ability, but they allowed me to maximize my potential focusing on my “football smarts.” I was fortunate to be coached well all the way from 10 years old and up, and those coaches instilled a football mind and focused on a high football intelligence as my number one trait they worked with me on…I guess those coaches are to thank for the mental strength growing up, and allowing me to be one step ahead of the game by preparing well.

 BTN: If you could pass on one message to the kids who will sign to play football for Boise State in February, what would you tell them to help them continue to the tradition of winning you and the players before you created?

MT: The advice would be to be coach-able. Boise is great at having a successful system, and building that system around the types of players they have. The young guys should hit the playbook extremely hard and fast early on. I was able to get in early and know the playbook by the time my freshman season started, which allowed me to play as a true freshman even though I wasn’t necessarily the most talented, but I had focused on learning the defense early on. So that’s the first thing, is hit the play book really early. The second, is hit the weight room extremely hard. Your freshman year, especially those who red shirt, that should be their biggest focus. Once you start playing and starting, your body during season is so soar and constantly in recovery, that you can’t focus as much on weight lifting. That’s my only regret about playing as a true freshman, is not having that extra time to really hit the weights really hard and put on some weight and get stronger. The third thing is stay out of trouble. Your whole life you work so hard to get a college scholarship at a big school, and now’s your chance, so don’t blow it by getting in trouble off the field. The last piece of advice, is find a player at your position who is experienced and a starter and follow his every move, pick his brain, sit next to him during film, stand next to him during practice, and learn as much as you can from those that have already done what you want to do. I was fortunate to have Chris Carr, Cam Hall, Deshan Cabaong, Austin Smith, and Gabe Franklin, along with other defenders like Andy Avalos, Andrew Browning, Korey Hall, and many others who I watched, I listened, and I learned from their triumphs and mistakes, and learned from them as much as they would allow me too. On a final note, I would tell them to not take a moment for granted, because 4 and 5 years flies by, and then it’s just over, and most will never play again. Most guys like myself miss everything, even the hard grinding of college football, so don’t take a moment for granted and enjoy every minute of it.

 BTN: What is your favorite personal moment and team moment during your football career at Boise State?

MT: I have many of these moments..so I’ll just list a few:

Personal Moments:
1. My first play as a true freshman against Tulsa on kickoff return..I got ran over.
2. My first interception against Hawaii my freshman year, it was against Timmy Chang, and my interception gave him the record for most career interceptions I believe.
3. My touchdown against Hawaii, at Hawaii, where I juked my high school rival Colt Brennan and scored.
4. My senior year, just a tackle against southern miss, but probably my best play of my entire life, I juked and slid under 2 pulling lineman, and rose up off the ground to lift the running-back up in the air and land him on his back.
5. my 99 yard interception return against La Tech my junior year.
6. Having sports illustrated name me an All-American my senior year, and doing a 2 page article on my life story and focus on my faith
7.. PROBABLY THE BEST, my 2nd interception in the 2007 fiesta bowl where I scored a touchdown, and my favorite picture was given to me framed, and when I score the touchdown , the picture is of me sliding in the endzone on my knee, pointing to the sky, with Adrian Peterson diving behind me after I scored…so I can tell me kids, I outran a future hall of famer Adrian Peterson…not that they need to know I had a 10 yard start.
Team moments: There are so many amazing moments, but there are 3 that stick out to me above the rest…
1. The 2007 fiesta bowl victory, running on the field, getting the trophies, called on the stage in front of Bronco Nation, the media room, the parade in Boise, and everyday since.
2. My last game against East Carolina in the Hawaii Bowl, we lost, but that last locker room and bus ride with my teammates, is one I’ll never forget.
3. Every away trip on the plane with the guys…playing 8 way Mario Cart on our Nintendo DS, playing poker on the plane for fun, and all the other memories of the guys I played with.
Follow us: @TheBTN

5 Keys to the Game Boise State vs Washington

 

1.) Pete vs Wilcox: Justin Wilcox has been called the “Mad Scientist” by some of his former Boise State players on Twitter. He is called this because he is so willing to switch up his entire defensive scheme to match another teams strengths. Perfect example – go watch Boise State vs TCU in the Fiesta Bowl. Boise State changed everything to stop the speed and running game of TCU. That takes us to Boise State vs Washington. Pete vs Wilcox. Chris Petersen knows that Wilcox obviously has a ton of knowledge on what Boise State likes to do offensively. This means Chris Petersen will have to get his mad scientist on also. Wilcox will likely try to show the Broncos something new, but I am willing to bet the Broncos will also likely be showing the Huskies something they haven’t seen before as well. This should be a great coaching match-up, but like always I wouldn’t take anybody over Chris Petersen.

2.) DJ Harper: This is it for DJ, the last chance to show Bronco Nation and the rest of the world what he is all about. Expect DJ to come out swinging with a ton of emotion and big plays. In four out of the five losses Washington has had this year, they have given up over 200 yards rushing the ball. Expect this to be a major key in this game. If the Broncos and DJ Harper come out gashing the Huskies early the Huskies will have a long day. However if the Huskies find a way to control the running game of the Broncos it could be fight right up until the finish.

3.) Kasen Williams vs Jamar Taylor: Kasen Williams is listed at 6’2 and 216lbs. He was recruited heavily by most of the country, and that includes Boise State. That being said, he gets to face the guy that has shut down whoever they put in front of him in Jamar Taylor. This should be the best match-up on the field. It will be up to Jamar to try to shut down the big WR who has caught 71 catches and added six touchdowns along with it. It will also be up to Washington to not let Jamar Taylor do what he does best and that is make a game changing play. We already know Jamar Taylor feels right at home in Las Vegas.

4.)Joe Southwick vs Keith Price: Look at these two QB’s and you see statistically they are close enough to be twins. Southwick 17 touchdowns, Price 18, Southwick 7 interceptions, Price 8, Southwick 2,466 yards, Price 2,486. This game very well could be decided by one of these two quarterbacks. The question will be which one steps up and can be more efficient – and maybe more important which QB can ride their momentum into this game. Both QB’s showed some major gains towards the end of the year making this battle a little more intriguing. Perhaps the deciding factor will be Joe Southwick’s mustache!

5.) Be The More Excited Team: Bowl games are weird. They are played weeks after the season is “over” and they often start sloppy. With Washington vs Boise State it really could come down to which team just wants it more. Which team is more excited to be in Las Vegas and takes advantage of the opportunity. Considering this is the third straight year Boise State has been in Las Vegas that might be a challenge. It might be a challenge for Washington though as well. Both teams know this game is a warm up to the opener next year. And with that both teams will have a chance to make a statement to the other. The question is which team will it be? My prediction, Boise State wins 28-17.

Follow me on Twitter: @HeathBTN/TheBTN

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5 Keys to the Game Boise State vs Nevada

1.) Disarm the Pistol: I am sure most of you have heard about Nevada’s Pistol Offense. This option based, run oriented offense, as we all know, can cause plenty of problems for the Broncos. What is even more concerning now is that our big wall in the middle is no longer with the team due to injury (Michael Atkinson). With that, it is going to be up to the likes of Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, Darren Koontz, Tyler Horn, and Greg Grimes to own the middle of line, forcing the pistol to move to the outside where Boise State has some favorable match ups with the speed of Demarcus Lawrence and Sam Ukwuachu. Sounds like quite the task right? Well that is not all. Even if this can all be accomplished, tackling will still the be the key in this game, and at times this season it has looked shaky. Teams have shown the ability to run the ball on Boise State. Most notable to this match-up might be New Mexico, and Colorado State games. Both ran option style run schemes against Boise State, and in those two games Boise State gave up a total of 487 rushing yards, often because of missed tackles in the open field, or on the outside. For Boise State to win this game they are going to have to fill their gaps in the middle, and tackle well on the outside – something that cause most teams issues – and when it comes to Nevada vs Boise State, is often a match-up problem.

2.) Contain Fajardo: Quarterback Cody Fajardo of Nevada is a problem for teams who have to face him. He passes with efficiency, and runs as well as any quarterback in the country. That being said Boise State’s success is going to be determined by how well they can stop him. Fajardo has scored 27 touchdowns this season -17 in the air and 10 on the ground. He averages 6 yards a carry, and has only thrown 7 interceptions. Boise State needs to find a way to limit Fajardo on the ground and in the air. But more importantly they need to make him press. Get at him early and force him into stressful situations. Much like Kaepernick before, him Fajardo does his best when his confidence gets going. If Boise State can rattle him early with pressure and some turnovers it will go a long way toward beating Nevada.

3.) Don’t let the emotions get the best of you: This is a rivalry game. The fans hate us, we hate them. We will never forget the missed field goal that ended our Rose Bowl dreams. However, that doesn’t mean this team needs to live in the past as well. Nevada’s future has already been decided, they have their bowl game picked and all they are playing for now is another chance to knock off Boise State and stop them from winning a conference title. This means Nevada has room for error, that frankly Boise State does not. The players will need to stay focused on the task at hand in this game. They can’t afford to get baited into the antics that some Nevada players and fans will surely try to get them to engage in. Emotions can be a good thing if used correctly. It will be up to this young team to make sure they can keep their emotions in check to win this game.

4.) Be the more physical team: You have a rivalry, you have a title on the line for one team, you have a national audience on ABC, and you have a football game. And in the end much of this game will likely come down to which team can be physical the longest. Nevada is going to run the ball downhill all game. Boise State will have to match the intensity in the trenches for a chance to win this game. Stopping the run will be key for Boise State, but it will be key for Nevada as well. Both teams this year depend on the run to set up everything else around them. This means the team that controls the line of scrimmage is going to have a major advantage in this game, and will likely win it.

5.) No interceptions: Joe has played much better as of late. He hasn’t thrown an interception in 2 games, and his completion percentage is up. However, the questions still remain about whether he can deliver a big game against top-notch competition. Can he play like he did versus Colorado State against Nevada? That is the question, and that question might be more important than any other. Nevada has lost 4 times this year, and in all 4 of those loses one stat stuck out to me more than the others. In each loss the opposing QB didn’t throw an interception. And even Air Force threw for 2 touchdowns. In fact in the 4 loses Nevada has this year, quarterbacks have thrown 10 touchdowns to no interceptions. This puts the emphasis on Joe Southwick – he has to protect the ball. Nevada struggles on defense, giving up 33 points a game. If Joe can protect the ball and score some points while doing it, Boise State should win this game.

 

Follow Me on Twitter: @HeathBTN/TheBTN

Two-Loss Broncos BCS Talk?

This past weekend has been absolutely crazy amongst the Boise State fans that are on twitter. This is rightfully so. Boise State’s bye week had fans on edge. We all know what happened, the seven teams ranked ahead of Boise State all lost. All of the Broncos fans went wild, and started talking about a BCS bowl. Wait a second, a BCS bowl for the currently 9-2 Broncos? Maybe next year we could be saying that realistically, but we’re saying that while we’re in the Mountain West? It was the craziest weekend of BSU football without there actually being a game in recent memory. A two-loss MWC conference team should be content with a number 20 ranking under any circumstance.

Arguably one of the wildest things about all this BCS talk is how Boise State’s football brand has helped them. The 2010 and 2011 Kellen Moore teams are very fresh in our memory. Both were terrific one-loss teams that got snubbed from the BCS. Boise State being the “team who doesn’t play anyone” hurt them. This year, Boise State lost to a Michigan State team who ended up being terrible and an average San Diego State team. To be honest with ourselves, this BSU team has no right to be in the polls. San Jose State, Utah State, Louisiana Tech, UCF, Tulsa, Kent State, and Northern Illinois are all non-AQ teams that can make a case for being better than Boise State this season. Most of them have better resumes than Boise State. Besides beating BYU and Fresno State (both at home), Boise really hasn’t had any solid wins. This isn’t to bash on the Broncos by any means, I am just simply stating how much BSU has helped themselves by being so great the past decade. In somewhat of a rebuilding/reloading year, Boise State is in the BCS buster talks after two losses. That’s incredible.

How much of a possibility is Boise State playing in a BCS bowl? All Boise State has to do is finish in the top 16 ahead of the MAC and Big East champion. The 16th spot is owned by UCLA, which we expect to lose to Stanford, again. The 17th spot has Kent State, who we will hope loses in an ugly game to Northern Illinois. The 18th ranked Longhorns play at Kansas State. There’s a loss for them. The team ranked at 19 is Michigan, who is idle Saturday. With a big win over Nevada, I’d expect the Broncos to jump a four-loss Michigan team. With a UCLA loss, an ugly Kent State loss, a Texas loss, a hoping that we would jump Michigan, and hold off Northern Illinois, Boise State would land at #16 in the BCS rankings. Is it too far fetched? Am I missing something? After how improbable last week’s luck ran, it could happen again.

Anyways, I’m done rambling on about the BCS. It is time to get focused on the task ahead of us. I’m personally calling this game against Nevada – “Redemption in Reno” even though we really can’t redeem the 2010 loss. I have marked my calendar for December 1st as soon as the schedule was released. It is about time Boise State fans get pumped for the game in Reno!