The Spring Game Has Sprung

For over 8 months, Bronco Nation weathered the harshness of an unprecedented frosty year that we hadn’t seen in almost a decade.  With matching opening losses to Washington and dual “Aloha means goodbye” bowl game losses in Hawaii, it seemed like we’d gone back to 2007.  That’s where the similarities end though.  We’d just finished our first, and until 2013, our worst year in the Coach Pete era.  This April brings a renewal.  The Bryan Harsin-Era brings a rebirth.  And, on April 12, 2014, me and 13,821 Bronco fanatics got our first look at it.

There is a buzz around the Boise State football program that is noticeably different that it’s been in recent years.  Coach Harsin has done that by being the opposite of what Coach Pete was (this isn’t an indictment on Coach Pete.  To each his own.).  He’s accessible and he makes sure that his staff is. He lets us in on the program in ways that we haven’t been used to.  Coach Harsin is an Idaho boy and most of us can identify with his mannerisms and the way he speaks his mind.  I only bring this up because the electricity around Bronco Stadium was palpable.  The last time I felt that personally was when College Game Day was on campus.  And it wasn’t just a grown up event. It was a family event. Bring Dad Bronco, Mom Bronco, Brother, Sister, & Baby Bronco down and get some sunshine and football in your Saturday. It was a perfect day weather-wise.

Inside Bronco Stadium, the crowd was amazing. The goal was to get 20,000 fans out.  It was a lofty goal and I was pretty sure by the way people were filing in that we’d get close.  Obviously, I was a little incorrect as to my estimation but I think that it the Nation showed good form.  In comparison, the University of Michigan only had just over 15,000 fans at their Spring Game in a stadium that holds 109,901. I say we shoot for a sellout streak that starts with our first home game and goes on in perpetuity.

As far as the Spring Game is concerned, I’ll give you the laymen’s analysis. I am in no way an expert in college football and I can only give you my opinion on what I saw. A good friend once said “I’m not a reporter, I’m a writer.” and I fully identify with that statement.  Also, I do realize that Coach Harsin and his staff have not fully installed their playbooks, we have plenty of people learning new schemes, and there are some players that didn’t participate for various reasons.  This is in no way representative of what this Bronco team is fully capable of.

What is better than starting a “game” off than a kickoff return for a touchdown?  Not really anything, I’m quite sure.  Ask Devin Hester.  Sure – it was the scout team that covering the kick and it didn’t seem full speed but the crowd seemed to enjoy Bryan Douglas taking it back for 100 yards. I know I did.  After that, special teams was pretty much an afterthought. No field goals were attempted.  The PATs were all made.  The punting was made interesting by the wind but the return game wasn’t really a focus.

The two teams were “Boise State” and “Broncos”.  Boise State was made up of the first team offense and defense and Broncos were the 2nd team.  Everyone else filled in.  In the beginning, it seemed like a huge mismatch.  The Boise State offense had the ball moving really well on the first drive with the big play coming on a 52 yard run by Shane Williams-Rhodes.  Jay Ajayi punched it in from one yard out two plays later.  That, and the kickoff return, was the only scoring of the first half.  The defense for Boise State dominated Broncos and Broncos settled in and held Boise State after the first drive (the names make it confusing, right?).  The second half was basically more of the same.  Defense dominated.   Boise State’s first drive ended with Dionza Blue picking off Grant Hedrick and Broncos were moving the ball with Tommy Stuart at the helm but a fumble stopped that drive.  The Broncos team did get their only score on a wheel route from Ryan Finley to Devan Demas for 82 yards while the Boise State team topped off their scoring on a 13 yard run by Shane Williams-Rhodes. We were treated to a bit of excitement with a final score of Boise State 21, Broncos 7.

So here are some observations/predictions:

-The offense still needs some work.

-Grant Hedrick is well ahead of Ryan Finley and Tommy Stuart.

-I think Finley will be #2 although Stuart looked more “on-point” to me yesterday.

-Jay Ajayi will get 75%-80% of the carries this year. Maybe more.

-Derrick Thomas will get more carries than Jack Fields and Devan Demas.

-Matt Miller will never have a regular game that resembles this Spring Game.

-Shane Williams-Rhodes will be utilized like no other Bronco ever.

-The future is bright on both offense and defense.

-Sometimes I state the most obvious things.

-Our defense will be better than expected.

-Statue Left will always-ALWAYS-be the greatest play ever called in history.

We, as fans of this great program, are lucky enough to be here for the rebirth.  We are in for something special I believe.  Does that translate into a perfect season in 2014? Most likely not.  Does it translate into great expectations?  Yes and that’s not a bad thing.  Judging on the way things went yesterday and the excitement of every fan that I know, the annual Blue and Orange Spring Game was everything that we hoped it would be.  Welcome back, football.  Welcome back, Bronco Nation.  Only 137 days until Ole Miss.

Next Gen Bronco Fans

Next Gen Bronco Fans

Boise State Football Spring Preview

It seems like its been an eternity since Chris Petersen stunned #BroncoNation the morning of December 6th when it was announced that after years of speculation, he finally took another head coaching job. It only took a week for Bob Kustra and Mark Coyle to find their man to replace Pete, but it certainly didn’t feel that way to Broncos fans.

Since then lots has changed. Bryan Harsin and his young staff shocked Broncos fans by getting commitments from 4-star prospects Dylan Sumner-Gardner and Chase Blakley, showing everyone the kind of recruiting prowess and potential this staff has. Now that the recruiting games are somewhat over (at least for this recent class), the staff can finally pause their recruiting efforts to coach football! The Broncos hit the field for the first time under Harsin tomorrow morning, and unfortunately if you’re expecting a ton of news and updates from the local media, you will be a bit disappointed. Harsin is keeping things on the down low, possibly to keep the Broncos scheme anonymity intact until after the Ole Miss game.

Updates or no updates, the team will be practicing, and there is lots to sort out…..here are some things to keep an eye on this spring, and going forward into summer workouts and fall camp.

The QB “Battle” – It is natural that with a coaching change, every position is open for the taking. That said, Harsin and the coaches have made it clear that RS-Senior QB Grant Hedrick is the leader in the clubhouse. I know fans have a bad taste in their mouths about last season, and Grant was far from perfect, but he did some good things. Hedrick finished the 2013 season with a passing efficiency rating that ranked 23rd nationally at 150.0. Hedrick struggled with turnovers, often at bad times (ugh….that SDSU pick-6)…but 1825 passing yards, 22 total TDs, and 5 INTs in only 6 total starts isn’t exactly terrible either. Grant earned the right to be the “incumbent”. That said, nobody is guaranteed anything. Grant will have to fend off JC-transfer Tommy Stuart, who impressed fans with his highlight tape and has done nothing his entire life but exceed expectations. He won’t concede that starting spot without a fight. RS-Freshman Ryan Finley will attempt to compete as much as he can, but Harsin has warned that they’ll need to bring him along at a slower pace with Finley coming off of surgery. Put all that together, and the details suggest Hedrick will be a heavy favorite to win the job, but nonetheless fans will pay very close attention to the QBs come the spring game.

Will the future play-makers please stand up! – Jay Ajayi, Matt Miller, Shane Williams-Rhodes….fans know who the stars of today are on this Bronco offense. Jay and Shane however are already juniors and Matt Miller is a senior! The Broncos are in need of some future play-makers to step up and make a name for themselves. Unfortunately the RB depth behind Jay Ajayi is a little cluttered with Aaron Baltazar’s unfortunate departure (sigh). From Charles Bertoli, to Devan Demas, to Jack Fields, to Derrick Thomas…I swear all of these RBs have had bright spots, but none have solidified that #2 or #3 RB spot in the rotation much like Jeremy Avery and D.J. Harper did behind Doug Martin. You can take your pick, all of them have talent. But someone needs to stand up behind Jay Ajayi and establish themselves.

The same can be said for the WR position. Matt Miller and SWR were awesome last season, but whoa boy does production fall off a statistical cliff after those two. The Broncos cannot continue to rely solely on these two in 2014, or 2015 will present some serious concerns at WR. Fortunately, there are lots of talented candidates waiting in the wings. A.J. Richardson is one of the more highly rated WRs to ever commit to Boise State. Tanner Shipley and Thomas Sperbeck both impressed during last August’s fall scrimmage. Troy Ware had some good moments last season sans fumble vs. Oregon State. Much like the RB spot, the talent is there….but who will step up? Junior Adams will have a fun time sorting through this crew. With SWR taking it easy coming back from surgery, the opportunity is there.

O-Line depth to be tested – Also noted in Chadd Cripe’s linked notes from the Statesmen is the fact that Rees Odhiambo will sit this spring out as a precautionary measure. Meaning Marcus Henry will be the only returning starter from 2013 to participate this spring. Travis Averill, Mario Yakoo, Steven Baggett, among others come into spring with some experience. This is a very talented group who will benefit from lots of reps this spring. Winning football games derives from how you play in the trenches. If the Broncos want to hit the ground running on offense in 2014, this O-Line unit will need to gel quickly.

Can Yates fix the Bronco Defense? – Joe Southwick this, Robert Prince that…..Grant Hedrick that, Robert Prince this…..talk about the offense all you like, the reason the Broncos struggled in 2013 is because the defense took a tremendous step backwards. The days of abusing opponents upfront and suffocating passing games under a dominant secondary appeared to be a thing of the past. Marcel Yates said it was hard to watch film of last season. LOL You’re telling us……everyone struggled. Freshman LBs Tanner Vallejo and Ben Weaver provide optimism, and inserting more depth with Joey Martarano coming into the fold is exciting. But this entire defensive unit sucked. No getting around it. The secondary has come under a ton of scrutiny from media and fans. Whether it was a scheme issue or talent issue is what we’ll begin to unravel this spring with Yates taking over. The introduction of stud recruit Dylan Sumner-Gardner and many redshirt corners like Dionza Blue and Cameron Hartsfield to name a few, should light a fire under this unit. Nobody’s spot is safe. The secondary battle, more than any other group, should be intense as Marcel begins to rebuild this unit. They know what happened last season was not satisfactory. Time to fix it.

The Broncos lose very few starters on defense going into spring. In fact, only two really. Unfortunately, those two are Demarcus Lawrence and Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe. Outside of Armand Nance, nobody really has an inside track on the D-Line starting spots. Kamalei Correa, Gabe Perez, Beau Martin, among other DEs figure to fight for those spots. RS-Freshman DT Nick Terry was one of the most highly rated DTs Boise State has ever landed. Can he potentially be our next 4-year starter at DT? God I hope so. The Broncos desperately need play-makers at DT to stand up. Nance has been very good, but he cannot do it all himself. The Broncos need to be four deep. Can the likes of Taimatuia, Terry, Ash, etc. take that next step? To return to national prominence, the Broncos will need to recapture their dominant ways on the D-Line.

——————

Coach Harsin has challenged fans to break the 20,000 fans barrier at the spring game. The theme of this spring seems to be everyone needing to step up. The Broncos need young talent to step up at all positions, and the fans need to step up too. Coach Pete made it clear that things began to go stale here in Boise, even for him. The Broncos have every intention to kick this funk and fans need to do the same. We need to break that 20,000 barrier for the spring game and then attempt to sell-out every home game next fall. This is a team effort and we need to help this young team and staff as much as we can. There is a lot of mystery surrounding this 2014 Boise State football team. Lets start off things on the right note…

Go Broncos!!! #BleedBlue #Project20K

Bryan Harsin & The Boys Are Back!

Boise State held it’s first meeting back from break (pictured below) and things sound exciting.

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(Via- @BSURecruits)

After the meeting Boise State players took to Twitter to sound off on how excited and amped up they are about the future. Here are some of the tweets from last night after the meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

If you are going to take away one thing from all of this. It would be the players are buying into what Harsin and company are selling. Recruits talk about the energy, the players talk about it as well. And judging by the fans reaction on Twitter and Facebook we have all joined them in the excitement. This next season can’t get here soon enough!

Attack the Future!

Go Bronocs!

NCAA 14 Simulation: Sheraton Hawaii Bowl – Boise State vs. Oregon State

Editors note:  This simulation was posted before the news of Joe Southwick being sent home.

The scenario for each of these match-ups is a simple process, I take the current roster and set up multiple dynasties and simulate the seasons, to collect my data. To make sure I had a large enough sample size I simulated 7 seasons to gather the right information. To make it easier to follow I edited the roster to include actual names of the players and aside from that we are all EA sports. With each opponent I will try to give you a best case scenario, worst case scenario, and a possible outcome. Boise State is running out of a pistol offense to keep it as close to reality as possible.

THE GOOD:   

Beautiful sunny weather made this Christmas Eve the perfect way to finish off a season that started with high expectations, but concluded with the loss of a coach. With an interim coach and a quarterback fully recovered from an ankle the Broncos took the field ready to end the season on a good note. With the opening possession the Broncos faltered while trying to adapt to so many new faces leading the program. Oregon State took their opening drive and ended with a long 61 yard pass to Hamlett from Mannion.

The Broncos made the necessary changes when Southwick and Company returned to the field and used a running attack and short passing to move the ball down the field. Southwick finished off the drive when he found Holden Huff open for a six yard touchdown and drawing the game even. The Beavers were then forced to punt the ball, and give the Broncos another chance for points before the end of the quarter. Boise State capitalized when Southwick found an open Matt Miller from fourteen yards away to give the Broncos their first lead of the game.

Very little points were scored during the second quarter until with 2:19 left before halftime. The Beavers were able to put together a successful drive and finished it off kicking a thirty-nine yard field goal. Boise State used the no huddle, and moved the ball closer to the opposition’s goal line with time winding down. Southwick slipped past a defender and ran in for a score from five yards away with 0:48 left in the half.

The opening drive of the second half proved to be unfruitful for the Beavers when Mannion found an open Bronco defender, turning the ball over. Jay Ajayi shouldered the load on this drive behind a powerful offensive line which gave him plenty of room to run. Southwick found Boldewijn open for a thirty-seven yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter. Oregon State responded with a drive of their own when Brown ran in for the score from fourteen yards away. Boise State used a quick offense to get down inside Beaver territory and completed another successful drive when Ajayi scored on a six yard touchdown run.

With only fifteen minutes left in the game emotions started to get the best of players as plenty of penalties slowed down the scoring. Midway through the final quarter the Broncos got inside Oregon State territory and Dan Goodale kicked a twenty-two yard field goal. Immediately after the Beavers moved the ball down the field and Mannion found Cummings open on a twenty-six yard touchdown pass. With the final points on the board the Broncos had finished the season with one final victory and one more trophy for the trophy case.

Final Score: Boise State 38 – Oregon State 24  

 

THE UGLY:      

With two programs coming off what many would consider a disappointing season, the Hawaii bowl showcased teams ready to finish the season on the right foot. Early in the game both teams appeared to be out of sync from the longer layoff. Neither team found much success on the ground as defenses stopped the run time and time again. Oregon State ended the scoring draught towards the end of the first quarter when Ward made his way into the end zone after a two yard run.

The Broncos’ offense led by Joe Southwick continued to be slowed by the Beavers defense for most of the first half. Oregon State increased their lead when Mannion found Gwacham open for an eight yard touchdown pass. The Broncos finally found some success running the ball and capitalized when Devan Demas found the end zone after a two yard touchdown run. Boise State’s defense forced an Oregon State interception and Joe Southwick came back onto the field ready to lead.

Southwick used a balance passing attack and finished the drive when Boldewijn caught a five yard touchdown reception for the score. The Beavers returned to the field with under a minute before halftime and they didn’t disappoint. Mannion found Mullaney open for a forty-five yard touchdown pass with 0:05 left in the half.

Heading into the third quarter the Beavers held a 21-14 advantage and increased their lead when Ward again found the end zone, this time after a five yard run. Boise State was able to respond on their next offensive possession, but only with a field goal by Dan Goodale from twenty-seven yards away. On the final play of the third quarter Mannion found Cummings open for a five yard touchdown pass, increasing the Beaver lead.

Midway through the fourth quarter Matt Miller caught a four yard pass from Southwick which got the Broncos a little closer. Boise State went for the two point conversion and a batted down pass kept the points off the board. Shortly after Oregon State took advantage of smaller cornerbacks and Mannion found Smith open from twelve yards away for the score. With two minutes left in the game Jay Ajayi found the end zone after a one yard run bringing Boise State closer. The deficit was too much and the Bob Gregory coaching era had started 0-1.

Final Score: Oregon State 42 – Boise State 30

 

OUTCOME:    

With many Bronco fans focused on the Chris Petersen departure and the Bryan Harsin hiring, the bowl game appeared to have been lost in the clutter. Opening up the game the Broncos appeared in sync and scored on their first offensive possession. Joe Southwick found Geraldo Boldewijn open for a five yard touchdown pass to give the Broncos the early lead.

Oregon State responded with a score of their own, a thirty-two yard field goal midway through the first quarter. The Broncos used their stable of running backs to get the ball inside Beaver territory. They finished off the drive with Southwick faking a hand-off to Ajayi and running in for the score.

Boise State again was able to put points on the board early in the second quarter when Southwick found an open Matt Miller from fourteen yards away and the score. The Broncos lined up for the two point conversion and used a little trickeration to add two more points on the board. Oregon State put up some points of their own when Mannion found Cooks open from twenty-yards out for his first score of the game.

Coming out of halftime the Beavers used a variety of passes to get inside Bronco territory before Woods ran for twenty-three yards and the score. Boise State appeared to continue to have their offense rolling only to get stuffed at the seventeen yard line and Dan Goodale kicked a thirty four yard field goal. The Beavers continued to attack the smaller cornerbacks all on the way to another score, this time a Mannion pass to Woods from six yards away.

Opening up the fourth quarter the Broncos held a slight advantage that was increased when Dan Goodale kicked another field goal, a thirty-seven yard kick. The Beavers mixed up their play calling and used a rushing attack from Woods to get inside Boise State territory. Oregon State was able to move the ball inside the ten yard line only to get stopped and forced to kick a twenty-six yard field goal.

Joe Southwick found Boldewijn open for thirty-four yard catch to set up first and goal for the Broncos from the three yard line. Jay Ajayi finished the drive off when he crossed the goal line with 7:15 left in the final quarter. Mannion completed four straight passes to Cooks to help lead the Beavers down the field. The Beavers had first and goal from the eight yard line and after three unsuccessful attempts kicked a short twenty-two yard field goal.

Boise State had the ball and with 4:45 left in the game leaned on the running game to move the ball down the field. The Broncos, after a seventeen yard pass to Kirby Moore, had first and ten at the eleven yard line. Jay Ajayi made quick work of those yards when he crossed the goal line to increase the Broncos advantage.

With 1:18 left on the clock the Beavers took the kickoff and returned it to the forty-two yard line, giving themselves great field position. Cooks again was on the receiving end of a Mannion touchdown pass, this time a thirty-eight yard score with 0:22 left in the game. After a failed onside kick attempt the Broncos had finished the season on a good note and were ready for the Harsin era to begin.

Final Score: Boise State 42 – Oregon State 37  

 

Stats from game:

Joe Southwick: 35-49, 2 td – 1 int, 416 yards, 1 rush td

Jay Ajayi: 22 carries, 95 yds, 2 td

Matt Miller: 6 rec, 80 yds, 1 td

Geraldo Boldewijn: 6 rec, 101 yds, 1 td

Demarcus Lawrence: 3 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack

 

Head to Head:

Boise State 5 – Oregon State 2

NCAA 14 Simulation: Boise State vs. New Mexico

The scenario for each of these match-ups is a simple process, I take the current roster and set up multiple dynasties and simulate the seasons, to collect my data. To make sure I had a large enough sample size I simulated 7 seasons to gather the right information. To make it easier to follow I edited the roster to include actual names of the players and aside from that we are all EA sports. With each opponent I will try to give you a best case scenario, worst case scenario, and a possible outcome. Boise State is running out of a pistol offense to keep it as close to reality as possible.

THE GOOD:   

A brisk temperature had many Bronco fans chilled to the bone, but who still came out in support of the seniors that had given us many things to cheer for, over the past years. The Lobos received the opening kickoff and faltered quickly behind the stellar defensive pressure caused by the defensive line. With the Broncos’ opening offensive possession Joe Southwick made his way onto the field and orchestrated a drive even on his injured ankle. Joe Southwick completed his comeback when he threw a quick one yard touchdown pass to Matt Miller for the opening score of the game.

Boise State continued its dominant defense pressure when it again forced the Lobos to punt. The Broncos capitalized, this time with Grant Hedrick at the helm, and Kirby Moore caught his first touchdown pass since being injured, a 55 yard completion. The Broncos put more points on the board when Boldewijn caught a 38 yard pass from Grant Hedrick to increase the Boise State lead.

Starting off the second quarter Boise State found success again through the air when after a successful drive Moore caught another touchdown, this time a five yard reception. The Lobos began to gather steam towards the end of the half, and got inside Bronco territory with under two minutes left. The Lobos, starting to become desperate, threw an ill-advised pass which was intercepted and returned 80 yards for another score by Bryan Douglas.

Coming out of halftime the Broncos took the opening possession and marched their way down inside Lobo territory, but were forced into a field goal from 35 yards away. New Mexico finally found success running the ball against the Broncos defense and pushed their way down inside the ten yard line. The Lobos put their first points on the board when Gautsche walked into the end zone from seven yards away.

The Broncos continued to score points when Moore caught his third touchdown of the game when Hedrick found him open from seven yards away. The Bronco defense continued to stifle the Lobo offense for the remainder of the fourth quarter, until a few minutes left in the game. New Mexico was able to shrink the Bronco offense by a little when it kicked a 23 yard field goal. On their final day on the blue turf the seniors found themselves in a similar position, winning at home.

Final Score: Boise State 45 – New Mexico 10

 

THE UGLY:

As kickoff loomed closer, the crowd to finished piling in, preparing for the seniors to walk onto the blue turf one final time. The Broncos were set to receive the ball, and to see how the Joe Southwick ankle was feeling very early in this game. Southwick and company marched onto the field prepared to right the offensive woes that plagued them the previous week. Southwick used the legs of Ajayi and precision passes to get the ball inside Lobo territory. The drive was capped off when Ajayi crossed the goal line after a two yard run.

New Mexico was able to answer with a drive of their own when they got inside Boise State territory and kicked a 37 yard field goal. With the return of Hedrick into the game the Broncos offense sputtered and the Lobos got the ball back. New Mexico wasted no time and orchestrated a running attack and finished off the drive with a 4 yard touchdown run from Carrier.

Boise State got the ball back and tied up the game when Dan Goodale kicked a 33 yard field goal midway through the second quarter. The Broncos defense forced a fumble after a successful Lobos drive down inside Bronco territory. Ajayi wasted little time to put the Broncos ahead once more when he scored on a 76 yard run. The Broncos again got the ball back and Hedrick completed a 33 yard touchdown pass to Moore with thirteen seconds before the half.

Opening up the second half the Lobos were the first to put points on the board when Carrier found the end zone this time on a one yard run. With the game being a lot closer than most fans and coaches expected, the Broncos looked to their seniors for answers. Moore answered the call when he slipped by his defender and caught a pass and ran 76 yards for the touchdown. The Broncos started subbing in some seniors to make sure they got some playing time on their final game. Ajayi stole the show a little when he used his powerful running style and pushed his way into the end zone for the final points of the game.

Final Score: Boise State 38 – New Mexico 17

 

OUTCOME:

One more game on the blue turf was all the seniors could think about and none of them wanted to let this game slip from their grasp. After the opening ceremonies had subsided the game got under way with the Lobos silencing the crowd all while orchestrating a drive down the field. They capped it off with Carrier scoring from 6 yards away. With nothing to lose New Mexico went for the two point conversion and found an open receiver to complete the conversion.

The Broncos offense came onto the field with Southwick, and used quick short passes and strong running by Ajayi to get inside Lobo territory. The Broncos were stopped on a fourth and goal from the two yard line after a strong defensive push from New Mexico. With the following play Demarcus Lawrence broke through the offensive line and stopped the running back in the end zone for a safety. With Southwick limping on the sidelines the coaching staff decided to give the injury a little more time to fully heal.

Hedrick led the Bronco offensive charge and found an open Matt Miller for a 17 yard catch and the score to give Boise State the lead. Opening up the second quarter Boise State had the ball and kept feeding the ball to the “Jay Train” (Ajayi) who didn’t disappoint. Ajayi found the end zone on a 13 yard sweep off the edge and tip-toed the sideline for the score.

Coming out of the half the Broncos received the ball and Hedrick found an open Kirby Moore for an eleven yard pass which increased the Boise State lead to 23-8. The Broncos defense led by Lawrence continued to apply pressure on the Lobo’s quarterback forcing numerous bad throws. Just before time expired on the third quarter Miller snuck past his defender on a post route and caught a 34 yard pass and walked into the end zone increasing the lead.

Heading into the fourth quarter and with the game almost in hand the Broncos defense began to substitute in all the seniors who had given their heart and soul to the program. The offense continued their success against the New Mexico defense when Ajayi scored his second touchdown of the game, this time a 6 yard run. With the final score of the game the Broncos senior class had finished off one more successful game at home.

 

Final Score: Boise State 37 – New Mexico 8

 

Stats from game:

Grant Hedrick: 20-29, 3 td – 0 int, 319 yards

Jay Ajayi: 28 carries, 157 yds, 2 td

Matt Miller: 6 rec, 105 yds, 2 td

Kirby Moore: 5 rec, 92 yds, 1 td

Demarcus Lawrence: 3 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack

 

Head to Head:

Boise State 7 – New Mexico 0

5 Keys Boise State vs San Diego State

Adam+Muema+San+Diego+State+v+Boise+State+IhEnjk2QHO-l

Courtesy: Otto Kitsinger III

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.) Stop Muema: Last year on “The Blue” Adam Muema ran for 127 yards and a touchdown. This year, Boise State must contain Muema to have a successful day. San Diego State will run a more traditional power-style running offense. Something Boise State has not seen a lot this year. Sound tackling and penetration up the middle will be key in containing SDSU’s star player. The defensive line and linebackers will have to have solid games for this key to be a success. With injuries to the defensive line and linebackers of Boise State, this match-up should be very interesting. Not to mention Muema comes into this game with 4 straight 100+ yard performances with one 200+ yard game as well.

2.) Force Quinn Kaehler To Throw On Early Downs: So much of what San Diego State does is dependent on the run. Kaehler has certainly been a nice surprise for the Aztecs however much of what he sees from defense is based on teams selling out to stop the run. Some of the key ways for Boise State to get an upper hand in this game will be putting Kaehler into positions he is not comfortable with. A quick lead, big stops on early downs on defense, or, 3rd and long situations will give BSU the chance to see what Kaehler is really made of.

3.) Good Defense Show Up: The defense that showed up against Wyoming, that is the one that needs to show up against San Diego State. Wyoming is certainly not as talented as the Aztecs so a good performance against SDSU might look like 24 points. But that would be a great effort if they could pull that off. San Diego has a lot of play-makers including WR Ezell Ruffin who averages an impressive 17 yards per catch on 54 receptions. The good defense will have to shop up especially in the tackling category if Boise State wants to win on the road.

4.) Matt Miller & SWR: These 2 guys just need to keep on keepin on. With a combined 18 catches vs Wyoming these two guys seem to have the keys to the BSU offense. Look for Boise State to try and get them the ball early and often. If they can have some quick success it will open up lanes for Ajayi and the offense up the middle.

5.) Understand the Importance of the Game: It has been said all year, “this it the most important game”. First it was Washington, then Fresno, then Utah State etc… But there is no denying that this game truly is. With the season winding down a rematch with Fresno State looming in the future if Boise State can get past the Aztecs. BSU controls their own destiny and have a chance at redeeming themselves on the biggest stage the MWC has to offer. So much has been said about this season, but with a MWC championship still possible all those things “said” could be erased quickly. But to guarantee a chance to do that, they must win this game. If the Broncos come out with the fire of knowing that, I fully expect this game to be another win for the Broncos.

NCAA 14 Simulation: Boise State vs. San Diego State

The scenario for each of these match-ups is a simple process, I take the current roster and set up multiple dynasties and simulate the seasons, to collect my data. To make sure I had a large enough sample size I simulated 7 seasons to gather the right information. To make it easier to follow I edited the roster to include actual names of the players and aside from that we are all EA sports. With each opponent I will try to give you a best case scenario, worst case scenario, and a possible outcome. Boise State is running out of a pistol offense to keep it as close to reality as possible.

THE GOOD:  

With a cool breeze chilling the stadium, the Broncos stepped onto the field to battle the Aztecs and keep their hopes of a MWC title still intact. With the opening kickoff the game was underway and the Broncos used a powerful running game, while rotating backs, onto their way into the end zone. Derrick Thomas was able to put the first points on the board when he scored from six yards away.

After a strong defensive effort the Boise State offense again took the field ready to stop the Aztecs and that’s just what they did.  This drive Jay Ajayi found his way into the end zone with a 5 yard run that extended the Bronco lead. Late in the first quarter Grant Hedrick was able to find Shane Williams-Rhodes on a quick screen who slipped past the defense and into the end zone for a score from 7 yards away.

The second quarter began with SDSU joining the scoring session when Roberts caught a 20 yard reception for the Aztecs’ first points of the game. Boise State responded when Matt Miller caught a seven yard slant route for his first touchdown of the game. Unfortunately the PAT was pushed just wide right of the goal post after a bad snap and a bobble on the hold. With under three minutes until the half SDSU got into Bronco territory and capitalized when they kicked a 43 yard field goal.

Coming out after half time the Aztecs were able to find success running the ball down inside Broncos territory, but were stymied and forced to kick a 30 yard field goal. Boise State used that defensive momentum and put together a long methodical drive down inside the two yard line of the Aztecs. Hedrick was able to fit a pass in tight coverage, and Holden Huff came down with the reception and the score.

Once the Broncos got the ball back early in the fourth quarter they capitalized when Devan Demas scored his first touchdown of his career from 2 yards away. SDSU was able to put together a drive of their own, but unfortunately it again ended in a field goal, this time from 47 yards away. With the game fully in hand and replacements covering the field, the Broncos looked to Patti for any more points. He didn’t disappoint when he found Aaron Burks open for a 54 yard pass and the final score of the game.

Final Score: Boise State 48 – SDSU 16

 

THE UGLY:

Preparing for the opening kickoff of the game the Broncos looked to continue their offensive resurgence which started with a flurry of points against Wyoming. However as had become the norm for the Broncos they couldn’t seem to start the quarter off with a fast start and sputtered during the opening fifteen minutes of the game. Thankfully the Aztecs weren’t much better as the quarter finished just like it had begun, a scoreless stalemate.

San Diego State broke the tie when Lockett caught a 21 yard touchdown pass and gave the Aztecs the lead. Again SDSU found success through the air and after a promising drive, was forced into a 27 yard field goal. The Broncos appeared to have lost their steam as again a three and out lead to more SDSU points after a 35 yard field goal. Right before the half SDSU got the ball back, got within field goal range, and kicked a 43 yard field goal to take a 16-0 lead.

Coming out after the half, Coach Petersen must have lit a fire as a new offense appeared to be taking the field. The Broncos found success running the ball and found their way in Aztec territory only to kick a 30 yard field goal. Boise State was able to force a turnover and orchestrated a passing attack which was capped off with Geraldo Boldewijn catching a 30 yard pass from Grant Hedrick for the score. A few minutes later the Bronco’s offense found themselves with the ball in their hands again and got into Aztec territory only to kick a 33 yard field goal.

The defenses opened up the fourth quarter in a dominant fashion as neither offense was able to find much success moving the ball. Boise State was the first to break that stalemate when Hedrick slipped a tackle and found a streaking Dallas Burroughs for a 33 yard touchdown reception. Midway through the final quarter the Broncos had taken their first lead of the game and used a stout defense to hold onto the lead and come away victorious.

Final Score: Boise State 20 – SDSU 16

 

OUTCOME:

When Boise State entered Qualcomm Stadium it appeared as though the Broncos finally had a team full of healthy players. With the Broncos set to receive the opening kickoff the game was about to get underway. The opening drive for the Broncos began, and shortly ended with an all too familiar sight of quickly giving the ball back to the opposition. SDSU capitalized on the short field position and marched into the end zone for their first score of the game.

Hedrick and company returned to the field after a dismal opening drive and didn’t disappoint. The Broncos used their most elusive player, Williams-Rhodes in the passing game, coupled with the bruising running of Ajayi to march the ball down the field. Ajayi was able to put some points on the board when he ran in from nine yards away for the score. The Broncos were able to regain possession with two minutes left in the quarter and found success through the passing game. Boise State put more points on the board when Hedrick found Williams-Rhodes open for the score.

Early in the second quarter SDSU used their running game and pushed their way inside Bronco territory only to be forced to kick a 33 yard field goal. Both offenses seemed to be confused by the defenses at hand as neither team moved the ball very effectively. Boise State lined up for a field goal from 49 yards away with mere seconds left on the clock, and Dan Goodale kicked it just short to keep the score at 14-10 headed into the half.

Coming out of half time and with the crowd behind them, SDSU was able to march down inside the Bronco red zone and this time crossed the goal line on a short play action pass. Boise State responded with a couple short passes to Williams-Rhodes which set up the deep pass. Boldewijn slipped by his defender and Hedrick found him open for a 37 yard touchdown reception. The Broncos extended their lead when Derrick Thomas finished off the drive with a 3 yard run for the score just before time expired in the third quarter.

The Aztecs couldn’t seem to find an answer to the Bronco’s defense which was flying all over the field and stopping plays before they even started. Hedrick, sensing an opportunity to put the game out of reach orchestrated a drive down inside the Aztec red zone. On third and three from the seven yard Hedrick looked for his most trusted receiver which he found for the score when Matt Miller caught the pass between two defenders. After the Bronco lead was extended to 18 points the defense continued to play with confidence, and stopped all future Aztec drives, giving the Broncos the win.

Final Score: Boise State 35 – SDSU 17

 

Stats from game:

Grant Hedrick: 18-29, 3 td – 1 int, 308 yards

Jay Ajayi: 14 carries, 67 yds, 1 td

Derrick Thomas: 11 carries, 47 yards, 1 td

Matt Miller: 6 rec, 112 yds, 1 td

Shane Williams-Rhodes: 5 rec, 85 yds, 1 td

Geraldo Boldewijn: 2 rec, 45 yards, 1 td

Demarcus Lawrence: 5 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 1 def

 

Head to Head:

Boise State 7 – SDSU 0

Broncos and Miller Roll to Victory

Credit: Brady W. Moore / KTVB

Boise State steamrolled Wyoming on Saturday en route to a 48-7 win over the Cowboys.

Wyoming went up 7-0 on their second drive of the game, and that’s where it ended for the Pokes. Boise State responded with 48 unanswered points in their best game of the season.

The defense was sharp and looked like the unit we had hoped to see much earlier in the season.

Grant Hedrick continues to grow in his role as starter in place of Joe Southwick. Hedrick threw for 265 yards and 3 touchdowns. He spread the ball around, completing passes to eleven different players.

Matt Miller had another great game bringing in 7 passes for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns. This was Miller’s third 100+ yard game of the season.

The win brings Boise State to 7-3 overall, 5-1 in MWC play. The Broncos travel to San Diego this weekend to face the Aztecs in a Mountain West showdown.

NCAA 14 Simulation: Boise State vs. Wyoming

The scenario for each of these match-ups is a simple process, I take the current roster and set up multiple dynasties and simulate the seasons, to collect my data. To make sure I had a large enough sample size I simulated 7 seasons to gather the right information. To make it easier to follow I edited the roster to include actual names of the players and aside from that we are all EA sports. With each opponent I will try to give you a best case scenario, worst case scenario, and a possible outcome. Boise State is running out of a pistol offense to keep it as close to reality as possible.

THE GOOD:  

After a week of regrouping and giving some injuries time to heal, the Broncos ran onto the field ready to assert their dominance. With the opening drive Boise State used a passing attack to find their way into the end zone with a 29 yard reception from Matt Miller for the first points of the game. With the Broncos’ second drive they again found the end zone, this time with Grant Hedrick completing a pass to Miller from 24 yards away.

After forcing a turnover in Cowboys’ territory the Broncos used the Hedrick to Miller connection for another score, this time from 5 yards away. The Cowboys started to get their offensive feet under them and put together a drive which got into Boise State territory, but was stalled after a failed fourth down attempt. Hedrick used a nice assortment of completions to move the offense down the field and capped off the final points of the quarter with Boldewijn catching an 8 yard pass for the score.

Wyoming finally was able to orchestrate a complete drive when Lange caught a 39 yard touchdown pass from Smith to get the Cowboys on the board. Boise State responded with a drive of their own and used a familiar connection, Hedrick to Miller, on a 36 yard touchdown reception. Shortly before halftime the Cowboys completed a 51 yard pass for the score to draw the game a little closer. Boise State was able to use what little time remained in the half to get inside field goal range and Dan Goodale split the uprights from 35 yards away with mere seconds left on the clock.

Coming out of the locker room it appeared the Broncos were well on their way to victory. Midway through the third quarter Hedrick found a wide open Holden Huff for a 41 yard completion and the score. After advancing their lead to 45-14 it was time for the starters to get some rest, which continued the rest of the game. Early in the fourth quarter Wyoming put together a drive that stalled inside Bronco territory, but were able to come away with points after a 47 yard field goal. With very little time on the clock, Derrick Thomas found his way across the goal line with a six yard run putting the final touches on the victory.

Final Score: Boise State 52 – Wyoming 17

 

THE UGLY:

After a much needed bye week the Broncos appeared ready for the challenge at hand and only time would tell if they looked rusty. During the opening quarter neither team was able to sustain a drive that finished off with points being scored. Towards the end of the quarter Hedrick dropped back threw to what appeared to be a wide open Boldewijn, but was intercepted by Burns and returned 57 yards for the first points of the game.

Opening up the second quarter Hedrick returned to form and put together a perfect drive that was capped off with a 42 yard pass to Matt Miller for the score. Boise State found success running the ball on their next offensive possession and got inside Cowboys territory only to be stopped, and forced to kick a 49 yard field goal which split the uprights. With the ball back in the Broncos’ hands, Hedrick led the charge and finished the drive by completing a one yard touchdown pass to Holden Huff to extend the lead.

The third quarter was very uneventful as neither team’s offense was able to get their feet underneath them. Wyoming however, was able to get inside Bronco territory and kick a 35 yard field goal halfway through the quarter. Early in the fourth quarter the Cowboys were able to finish off a drive with a 3 yard touchdown run by Miller, which drew the game even. Hedrick and company used a barrage of passes to get inside the red zone and finished off the drive with a 4 yard touchdown reception from Miller. Boise State’s defense was able to stop the Cowboys and returned the ball back into their own offense’s hands late in the game. Boise State put together one final drive and finished it off with a Dan Goodale field goal from 35 yards away.

Final Score: Boise State 27 – Wyoming 17

 

OUTCOME:

After a wait that seemed like eternity to fans, the Broncos returned to action ready to face the Cowboys of Wyoming. The opening kickoff went to Wyoming who failed to have success moving the ball and was forced to punt. Boise State put together a drive filled with screen passes and bruising running from Ajayi and Thomas, which got the ball inside Wyoming territory. Grant Hedrick finished the drive off when he completed a 22 yard touchdown pass to Matt Miller for the first points of the game.

On the next Boise State possession the Broncos favored the passing game while moving the ball down the field. Boldewijn was able to slip past his defender and caught a 33 yard touchdown reception with less than three minutes left in the quarter. Wyoming was able to move the ball on their next drive and came away from the drive with three points after a 32 yard field goal. Boise State’s offense stumbled, and Wyoming used the momentum to get inside Bronco territory, but again had to settle for a field goal, this time from 41 yards away

The Broncos were able to put some points on the board in the second quarter after Shane Williams-Rhodes caught a short screen pass and ran 31 yards into the end zone. Wyoming then responded with a powerful running game, coupled with a variety of passes, on their way to Lange catching a 17 yard pass from Smith for the score. Just before halftime the Broncos leaned on the back of Ajayi, who got the ball inside the red zone, but with time dwindling down Boise State kicked a 27 yard field goal to head into the locker room with a 24-13 advantage.

The third quarter started with both teams ready to assert themselves and instead the defenses stymied both offenses most of the quarter. Wyoming was able to put together a nice drive with under two minutes left in the quarter, but came away with only a field goal from 36 yards away. Boise State put themselves into great field position, starting with a great kick return, and a 21 yard reception by Miller heading into the fourth quarter.

Boise State used the great position to punch it into the end zone for the score after some powerful running by Derrick Thomas. Wyoming responded with a drive of their own, but again after three big stops the Cowboys were forced into a field goal from 33 yards away. Sensing that one final score could put the game out of reach Hedrick threw three straight completions to Miller, each of which was for a first down. Hedrick then sold the play action fake and found Miller open for another completion and another score, this time a 13 yard reception. After one final failed drive by Wyoming, the Broncos lined up in victory formation and came away with the win.

Final Score: Boise State 38 – Wyoming 19

 

Stats from game:

Grant Hedrick: 19-28, 4 td – 1 int, 232 yards,

Jay Ajayi: 16 carries, 72 yds

Derrick Thomas: 13 carries, 79 yards, 1 td

Matt Miller: 9 rec, 152 yds, 2 td

Shane Williams-Rhodes: 4 rec, 55 yds, 1 td

Geraldo Boldewijn: 3 rec, 42 yards, 1 td

Demarcus Lawrence: 5 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack

 

Head to Head:

Boise State 7 – Wyoming 0

Hedrick Leads Boise State in 42-30 Win Over Colorado State

Grant Hedrick

Grant Hedrick shined Saturday as Boise State beat Colorado State, 42-30.

Boise State got off to a slow start. After allowing a field goal on Colorado State’s first possession, the Broncos turned the ball over on their first play from scrimmage on a Hedrick fumble. Down 10-0 with less than five minutes left in the first, quarter, the Broncos looked to get on the board on an 18-yard Jay Ajayi run. Ajayi was ruled out at 2-yard line. On the next play, Hedrick ran the ball in for the score.

Hedrick turned things on in the second quarter, and didn’t slow down for the remainder of the game. Hedrick threw 3 touchdowns in the second quarter, with Geraldo Boldewijn, Shane Williams-Rhodes and Matt Miller each bringing in a touchdown.

Boise State led 28-17 going into halftime.

Hedrick threw two more touchdowns in the second half, one to Miller and the other to Aaron Burks.

After bringing the score to 42-30, the Rams looked poised to make a comeback after recovering their onside kick.  Donte Deayon stepped up and made an interception to help BSU seal the victory.

Hedrick had the best game of his Boise State career with 305 passing yards, 5 touchdowns and 30 rushing yards. Hedrick appeared more comfortable leading the Broncos than in his start at BYU.

Boise State improved to 6-3. The Broncos are in first place in the MWC’s Mountain Division, and are bowl eligible after this win. Boise State hosts Wyoming on November 16.