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

What We Learned- Week 8

Brady Moore/KTVB

What a difference a week makes.

Last week; Boise State, its fans, and opponent, readied themselves for another game with Joe Southwick at the helm. This week is a little different… Joe Southwick’s career at Boise State is sadly—quite possibly over.  On the very first offensive snap from the Broncos, Saturday night, Southwick scrambled ahead for a quick seven yard gain. A frequently reliable option if Joe feels defensive pressure, but this unfortunately was far from the usual 7-yard scamper. As Joe was being tackled to the turf, his leg got caught behind him, forcing him to fall awkwardly on it. It appeared awful on TV… and in a moment’s time, before you could even think of how bad it might possibly be; instantaneously, it was obvious he was in severe pain. Boise State’s fans suddenly felt their heart sink; disaster was evident. The 5th year senior quarterback had just broken his ankle.

Settling in was something Joe never really got to experience. From day one after earning the starting job, a sweltering amount of heat was bestowed to Joe’s name. He was the chosen one, the one who had to follow in the footsteps of a legend. If trying to replace the quarterback with the most career wins in College Football history isn’t a daunting task, I don’t know what is. Given the circumstances, Joe handled it well. Never complained…just led his team to battle, week-in and week-out. Albeit knowing no matter what he did, a shadow was cast over him that he couldn’t control.

How does the story go? An athlete starts to receive his/her own recognition, earning fans over, becoming a leader, and then snap—tragedy strikes. This is what makes sports so great, but yet so painful at the same time, unpredictability. The not knowing of whether one of the following might occur: An athlete makes a career defining play, or an athlete’s career ends before the blink of an eye. As a fan it reminds you to not take players for granted, even if they do just come and go. And while it’s not fair, when was fair to ever be expected.

Joe was slowly starting to win over the Broncos’ fan base–just like the story has it. He had removed some of the harsh negativity surrounding his name, no longer restricted to the title “our best option”. Making big plays wasn’t spotty. It was becoming more and more consistent. Stepping up when needed… Joe was the leader the Broncos’ longed for. Coming into a season with a roster full of youth and inexperience, he led by example. Nothing more you can ask for from a senior quarterback.

Thank you for everything, Joe.

 

What we learned from Boise State following a comeback win against Nevada:

1. Age is Just a Number-

By all accounts, Boise State is one of the youngest teams in the FBS. Relatively young on offense…but defense is where most of the youth lies. The Broncos’ heralded only two-starting-seniors on defense against Nevada, and once again will do the same versus BYU. Thus only leaving; juniors, sophomores, and freshmen for the other nine starting slots. The official breakdown goes as follows: Juniors-4, sophomores-3, freshmen-2.

The saying “youth is a virtue” applies to football as it does, real life. The benefit of having an overwhelmingly young-football-team is the years ahead. The drawback is obvious; a learning curve. Learning from your mistakes and trying not repeat them. Boise State in all its glory has felt the drawback at stages through-out the 2013 season. Opponents have feasted on youth and inexperience, targeting the younger and more undeveloped players who have yet to make a name for themselves.

Despite the bumps in the road, progression is evident. Yes, a few shoddy performances by the defense have skewed the statistics; but Boise State’s numbers have been on the rise ever since. Currently the Broncos are 54th in nation in rushing defense, 78th in passing, and 40th in total scoring. To break it down-Boise State has given up 38+ points twice this year (Washington and Fresno State). Other than that, the defense hasn’t let up more than 23 points in any game (The 23 was due to a late meaningless touchdown).

Saturday vs. Nevada was further evidence of Boise State’s continued betterment on defense. It just so happens, that this time; the improvement occurred in 30 minutes. Going into half at Bronco Stadium– Boise State’s defense looked gassed, confused, and unsure of themselves. Nevada had just put up 17 on the board with 246 yards of total offense.  Their drives were long and clock-killing. Running plays were all but assured first downs. Play after play, they ran the ball to the left-side of the offense, working their way down field. Boise State defenders were glued to their blocks and unable to show any block-shedding ability whatsoever.

Like clockwork the Broncos decided enough was enough; instead of accepting the bullying that they received in the first-half, they instead returned the favor. Whether it be from a rumored, Joe Southwick speech at half or simply being chewed out by the coaches, it was clear a loss to Reno was not an option.

The Broncos came out looking like an entirely different defensive unit. They had prepared their counter-punches and were ready for whatever Nevada decided to throw at them. The Broncos held Nevada to an utterly impressive 127 yards and 0 points in the second half. Boise State’s offensive and replacement quarterback (discussed in detail below) rightfully received most of adulation, but the defense was on lock-down. The plays that Nevada ran flawlessly in the first half were no longer existent; the very same plays resulted in losses or no gains. Defensive players were flying to the ball and no longer stuck in an imaginary rut while being blocked.  The Broncos, just like their jerseys, turned black. No running alleys, passing lanes, or breathing room allowed for the rival, Nevada–just a good luck next year.

Three underclassmen on defense to watch:

Donte Deayon (Cornerback, #5), Armand Nance (Nose-Tackle, #40), and Ben Weaver (Middle-Linebacker, #51)

 2. The Forgotten Child-

Grant Hedrick? Who’s that? I think I’ve heard of a Grant *Hendrick*, but not the previously mentioned individual.

Dialogue of that nature has surely risen in the aftermath of losing quarterback, Joe Southwick. A frenzy of confusion as to what the Broncos and Coach Petersen plan to do for the remainder of the season is surely practical. Therefore, it would only make sense to review who exactly Grant Hedrick is: Grant is red-shirt junior from Independence, Oregon. He played football and graduated from Central High School.  As a senior, Grant was named Oregon’s high school football player of the year. Similar to past and present Boise State quarterbacks, Hedrick lacks ideal height, but has an array of other intangibles. His biggest asset being his legs, Hedrick, has top-notch speed. Short-fast strides and quick feet make him far more explosive than you’d expect from a quarterback. He gives the position a boom possibility even when he’s not throwing, something the prototypical pocket-passer doesn’t have.

Hedrick has/had been forgotten, Southwick was the now and the future was already pre-determined. Those who love looking ahead (such as myself) are zealous for the likes of either Nick Patti or Jalen Greene. Patti–a big name recruit from Florida has had everyone excited from the moment he arrived in Boise. Labeled the real heir apparent to Kellen Moore…and if some were to have it their way; would have started long ago.

Jalen Greene is a different story. Greene is verbally committed to Boise State for the 2014 season, NOT signed to a letter of intent—very different. One states an athlete is planning to play at a given university, the other requires an athlete to end all additional recruiting and attend the university he signed the intent for. It is important to know the difference because Jalen has not yet signed his letter of intent; consequently there is always a chance he made decide to take his talents elsewhere. IF, he does happen to elect Boise State as his college of choice, BSU will be receiving a phenomenal talent. The true definition of a dual-threat quarterback, Jalen can run and make it look easy, but also has a sniper-like arm. I forgot to mention… he’s left handed (EYES GET BIG). If you believe in repeated destiny—start your own recruiting pitch now—this kid might be the real deal.

With that, it’s understandable how Hedrick fell by the wayside. Now is unexpectedly his time though and deservedly so, it’s not fair to call it an audition, but ultimately that’s what it is. If he succeeds, he might lock up next years starting quarterback position, if he scuffles—2014 is that much more interesting.

If I were to predict the future, I’d put my money on option-A. Let me explain by starting with this; Hedrick is a perfect fit for the offense. If it were three years ago, I would have said something completely different. This new offense is concentrated on making quick plays and not letting the defense get comfortable by playing at such a rapid pace. Nothing says uncomfortable like a QB who can spread you out and then run it past you. The “Pistol” (offensive formation) sets are far more dangerous with a mobile quarterback. Unfortunately, we have yet to see Hedrick throw the ball more than a few times, so that is still a cause for concern. Admittedly stubborn, I don’t believe we will be losing much in the passing game…IF, he can take care of the ball and make the short throws consistently (A big if). Joe’s biggest strengths were his command of the offense, short game accuracy, and ability to connect with receivers while under pressure. BUT, he lacked the consistent–accurately placed deep ball. This talent is important and was surely missed since Kellen’s departure; it gives the offense another dimension–without it, safeties and cornerbacks can play tight coverage and cheat-in; ultimately creating a chain-reaction of less effectiveness. Thus inhibiting the offense—when and if it were in a position where passing is the only option. Not to say that Hedrick has a gun for an arm, because he doesn’t, but he can replace what’s lost in the non-existent deep ball with his legs.

I can hope the above statements are not translated into me saying that Hedrick is the superior talent, but I can understand how that indication is possible. Better fit—not superior talent. Hedrick will bring another element to an already explosive offense while hopefully not sacrificing another. Prepare yourself for a steady dose of a Hedrick/Ajayi rushing attack (full of read-options).If the small sample-size vs. Nevada is anything like the future, boy, we’re in for a treat (maybe a trick too… HAPPY HALLOWEEN, hahaha… I crack myself up).

So…without further ado, Grant Hedrick. He is the surrogated “now” quarterback, and most likely the one of the immediate future.

Good luck kid, we’re all pulling for you.

 3. Enjoy the Show-

Bronco fans are fortunate to have two superstars on the current Boise State roster: Demarcus Lawrence and Jay Ajayi. One might end up winning the award for Mountain West Defensive Player of The Year and the other should AT LEAST be First Team All-Mountain West.

Even the challenger can’t help but respect and give high praise; BYU linebacker, Kyle Van Noy (this week’s opponent) was quoted saying the following when asked about Ajayi- “That’s an NFL running back.” Although I am certainly a partial to Ajayi; I couldn’t agree more.

Jay has the tools to be an NFL player, but… Demarcus Lawrence has the tools and well roundedness needed to not only get drafted, but also start on Sundays. Scouts are so intrigued by his supreme pass-rush skills and recently, his high-motor. He is the Boise State model for one of their fundamental words- relentless. It’s the hammer tradition in a nut-shell; Demarcus is that.

Here are Jay Ajayi’s and Demarcus Lawrence’s 2013 stats and how they rank up in the country:

Jay Ajayi-

Rushing yards- 766 (16th in the Nation)

Rushing touchdowns- 12 (Tied-1st in the Nation)

Yards per attempt- 5.67 (N/A)

Demarcus Lawrence-

Sacks per game- 1.1 (5th in the Nation)

Total sacks- 6.5 (Tied 5th in the Nation)

Total tackles- 38 (N/A)

Should be fun to watch!

 

Boise State Sends Nevada Packing in 34-17 Victory

KTVB.com

Grant Hedrick and Jay Ajayi led Boise State to a 34-17 victory over Nevada on the blue turf Saturday night.

Joe Southwick left the game with a broken ankle after the Broncos’ first play from scrimmage and Hedrick took over for the Broncos.

Boise State got off to a slow start offensively, not putting any points on the board in the first quarter.  The Broncos’ defense held the Wolfpack, only allowing three points in the first quarter.

After allowing a Nevada touchdown early in the second quarter, Ajayi and Hedrick stepped things up on the BSU’s next drive. Hedrick had a 49-yard run, while Ajayi had four carries for 31 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown run.

Cody Fajardo and Don Jackson answered back for Nevada, driving the Wolfpack down the field while converting six first downs in ten plays. The drive ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by Jackson.

Down 17-7, Boise State seemed revived going into the second half, and put 20 points on the board in the third quarter.

Boise State was unstoppable on the ground in the second half. Ajayi added two more rushing touchdowns, including one for 71-yards, while Hedrick added two of his own on the ground.

Ajayi had the best came of his Boise State career with 222 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns, and 9 receiving yards. Hedrick did not disappoint, filling in for the injured Southwick, with 150 passing yards, 115 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns.

Southwick looks to be out the remainder of the season, and Hedrick will need to continue this high level of play.

Boise State faces BYU in Provo, UT, on October 25th.

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

NCAA 14 Simulation: Boise State vs. Nevada

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 Nevada set to receive the opening kickoff, tension in the air was palpable as these two foes prepared to square off once more. The defense carried over some of their tenacity from the previous week, stopping the Nevada drive before it began. Unfortunately the Broncos’ offense stumbled again early in the first quarter and was forced to punt. Neither team was able to capitalize on a drive until Boise State broke out the scoring with Jack Fields running in from 12 yards out just before the end of the first quarter.

Nevada’s offense couldn’t seem to get anything going and was forced to punt the ball. The Broncos took over possession and on the very first play threw a 32 yard strike to Shane Williams-Rhodes, the newly utilized dynamic play-maker. Boise State capped off the drive with a 3 yard pass to Williams-Rhodes, opening up the Bronco lead. Nevada wasted no time in returning the favor when Fajardo found Wimberly open for a 7 yard score to bring the game closer, midway through the second quarter. Just before halftime Matt Miller returned to his usual self and found himself on the receiving end of a 1 yard touchdown pass from Southwick.

Early in the third quarter Nevada capitalized on their drive, with McLaurin scoring on a 1 yard touchdown run, bringing the deficit to seven. The Broncos continued their offense prowess as they drove the ball down the field with steady running, capped off with Ajayi walking into the end zone from 1 yard out for the score. After a Nevada interception, Southwick led the offense into the end zone again, this time a 3 yard pass to Connor Peters.

Before the end of the third quarter Boise State found their way back into the end zone with Ajayi scoring from 8 yards out. Reserves made their way into the game, and neither team put many more points on the board until the end of the quarter. Nevada was able to orchestrate a drive, but was forced into attempting a 30 yard field which was right down the middle. After a failed onside kick attempt, Boise State’s Derrick Thomas ripped off a 30 yard run to set the Broncos up for a first and goal from the 3 yard line. Derrick Thomas was able to put one final score on the board with a 2 yard run with 0:26 left in the game.

Final Score: Boise State 49 – Nevada 17

THE UGLY:

            After Boise State won the coin toss and elected to defer, Nevada lined up ready to get the upset underway. Nevada finished off their first drive when Solomon found his way across the goal line after a short 6 yard run. Southwick and company answered right back when Matt Miller caught a 44 yard touchdown pass with a defender in his face. Towards the end of the first quarter the Wolfpack found themselves drawing closing to the Boise State red zone.

            Nevada opened up the second quarter by putting more points on the board when Fajardo found Wimberly open from 28 yard away, which increased their lead. The Broncos were in need of a momentum shift and that’s just what they got when Dallas Burroughs returned the following kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. The two teams found themselves in a stalemate the remaining part of the second quarter, but right before halftime Nevada kicked a 35 yard field goal to take a 17-14 advantage into the locker rooms.

            Midway through the third quarter catastrophe stuck when Southwick injured his throwing shoulder after a big sack. Hedrick came on to the field in an unfamiliar position of not only his team behind, but the game’s outcome resting on his shoulders. Throughout the third quarter he played steady, but never could help finish off a drive. Heading into the fourth quarter the score remained a three point advantage for the Wolfpack.

            Opening up the final fifteen minutes of the game, Nevada added to their lead when Fajardo found Arendse open for a 3 yard touchdown and a ten point lead. The Hedrick led Broncos offense, responded with a drive of their own which was completed when Kirby Moore caught a 52 yard pass for the touchdown. Nevada then did the unimaginable and used a long methodical drive to get into the Broncos’ red zone with under two minutes left in the game. They put the final nail in the coffin when Wimberly caught a 4 yard pass for the touchdown with 1:17 left in the game.

Final Score: Nevada 31 – Boise State 21

OUTCOME:

            As Nevada was set to receive the ball it appeared as though the Broncos were a different team, a team full of confidence, team that coaches knew would eventually manifest itself as the pieces were coming together. With the opening kickoff the game was underway and after the defense forced a punt the Broncos offense stepped on to the field prepared to start the game with a successful drive. After mixing in some runs and the success of the Shane Williams-Rhodes screen play, the Broncos found themselves 4 yards from the end zone. Jay Ajayi finished off the drive when he marched his way into the end zone for the first points of the game.

            The Wolfpack returned to the field and found success moving the ball and finished off their drive with a Fajardo touchdown pass to Wimberly. Demarcus Lawrence found a way to block the extra point and kept the Broncos holding on to their lead. Boise State moved the ball down the field by continuing to put the ball in their playmaker, Williams-Rhodes’, hands down inside Nevada territory. Williams-Rhodes helped end the drive when he caught a screen, juked to his left and after a missed tackle danced into the end zone.

            Opening the second quarter Nevada was able to keep their offense moving, but only until they were inside field goal range, and after a 29 yard kick, they shrunk the lead to five points. Boise State increased their lead when Matt Miller slipped inside his defender for a 7 yard touchdown reception. Boise State got the ball back and put together a two-minute drill that put them inside field goal range. Dan Goodale did the rest when he made a 34 yard field goal with time expiring, giving the Broncos a 24-9 advantage heading into halftime.

            Boise State’s offense faltered to start the second half after three failed pass attempts.  Nevada jumped on the opportunity to put more points on the board when Fajardo ran for the score from 2 yards away. Nevada attempted the two point conversion, but Bryan Douglas batted down the pass that would have brought the game within one touchdown. Southwick returned to the field and helped the offense move the ball into Nevada territory, before the end of the third quarter.

            Opening the final quarter Ajayi broke through the defense and after back to back first down runs, the offense appeared to be on their way for another score. Southwick extended the Broncos’ lead when he found an open Holden Huff for his first score of the season. Boise State tried for the two point conversion to extend their lead, but were stopped when Fields stopped for no gain on the attempt. Fajardo and the Nevada offense moved the chains down into the Broncos’ territory just before the end of the third quarter.

Nevada’s momentum was stopped, and they were forced to kick another field goal, this time from 32 yards away which slid just inside the left upright. Boise State’s offense marched slowly down the field with a long drive that took nearly half the fourth quarter, finished off when Jack Fields scampered into the end zone from 9 yards out, ending all hope the Wolfpack had of knocking off the Broncos.

Final Score: Boise State 37 – Nevada 18

Stats from game:

Joe Southwick: 15-21, 3 td – 0 int, 249 yards

Jay Ajayi: 15 carries, 67 yds, 1 td

Jack Fields: 11 carries, 54 yds, 1 td

Matt Miller: 7 rec, 129 yds, 1 td

Shane Williams-Rhodes: 5 rec, 89 yds, 1 td

Demarcus Lawrence: 7 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack

Bryan Douglas: 3 tackles, ½ TFL, 1 int, 1 def

Head to Head:

Boise State 6 – Nevada 1

Boise State Tops Utah State, 34-23

John Zsiray, AP

Joe Southwick threw for a career-high 335 passing yards on Saturday night, as Boise State took down Utah State, 34-23.

Boise State got off to a slow start, failing to get a first down on their first drive.

After a three and out by Utah State, BSU’s offense was back on the field for the Jay Ajayi show. Ajayi carried the ball six times on the drive for 38 yards, and brought in a 21-yard reception. The drive was capped with a 2-yard touchdown run by Ajayi.

Boise State added field goal on their next drive. They led the game, 10-0, at the end of the first quarter.

Utah State scored on their first drive of the second quarter. Set up by a 40-yard pass from Craig Harrison to Travis Reynolds, Joey Demartino ran the ball in for score.

When taking back to the field on offense, the Broncos started to roll.

Boise State scored on their next two possessions. Southwick had a 7-yard touchdown run, and threw a 24-yard pass to Aaron Burks on their next drive.

Utah State added a field goal to bring the score to 24-10. After blocking a punt on BSU’s next drive, Utah State had the ball on BSU’s 12-yard line with 18 seconds left in the half. After two incomplete passes, Utah State attempted a field goal, which was blocked by BSU.

Utah State was held scoreless in the third quarter, while BSU added a touchdown on a Shane Williams-Rhodes reception, and another three on a Dan Goodale field goal.

Utah State added 13 in the fourth quarter, first on a pick-six, then on a Darell Garretson pass to Travis Van Leeuwen.

Although they took home the win, the game wasn’t BSU’s finest showing. Southwick went 30-for-44 for 335 yards and two touchdowns, but added two picks. Ajayi impressed rushing for 109 yards and a touchdown. Williams-Rhodes was the star of the receiving corps with 13 receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown.

Boise State hosts Nevada next week. The Broncos will be playing a much more experienced quarterback and will need to tighten up on defense, while Southwick can’t afford to throw multiple interceptions.

Boise State Blows Out Southern Mississippi in 60-7 Victory

Otto Kitsinger

Boise State rolled to victory Saturday night, taking down Southern Mississippi, 60-7.

The Broncos put the only points of the first quarter on the board with a trick play. On 1st and goal on the 10-yard line, Shane Williams-Rhodes ran the ball in on the fumblerooski, giving BSU a 7-0 lead.

After a BSU field goal to start the second quarter, Southern Miss added 7, thanks to a fumbled snap by Grant Hedrick.  A few plays later, Marquise Ricard caught a touchdown pass, in what would be the only score for the Golden Eagles.

Boise State came back with an onslaught of scoring. The Broncos proceeded to tack on 3 touchdowns, two through the air, and one on the ground. Boise State led 30-7 lead going into halftime.

Demarcus Lawrence was a one man wrecking crew for the Broncos defense in the first half with five tackles, two blocked field goals, a forced fumble and a sack.

The Broncos continued to gel on both sides of the ball in the second half.

The game was an offensive showcase. Joe Southwick was sharp. He completed 19 of 23 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns. Matt Miller led the receiving corps, pulling in 5 receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown. After a tough game in Fresno last week, Jay Ajayi bounced back with a strong game, running for 83 yards on 14 carries, and one touchdown.

Boise State was stout on defense, allowing just 163 passing yards, and 103 yards on the ground, and coming away with two interceptions, and four sacks.

Boise State moves to 3-2, 1-1 in the Mountain West. The Broncos have a bye next week. The week off will help them prepare for their trip to Logan to face Utah State in one of the bigger games of the year.

5 Keys Boise State vs Southern Miss

5Keys1.) Stop Jalen Richard: If you haven’t heard, Southern Miss is bad, I mean real bad. Like, they haven’t won a game in over a year bad. However, recently, they may have found a glimmer of hope on their team in the form of a RB named Jalen Richard. Jalen has rushed the ball only 21 times this year but is averaging 5.5 yards per carry. With a team that is looking for anything to build around in Southern Miss. this might be the way they try to attack BSU on Saturday night.

2.) Stop Giving The Other Team a Way to Beat You: Turnovers – they just have to stop. Turning the ball over against Fresno was a killer. Southern Miss. might not have the power to capitalize the way a Fresno State does, but we all know of the very important game coming up. A clean, dominate game is what Boise State needs to move the season forward in the proper manner. Boise State simply can’t turn the ball over in this game. If they do it might not hurt them Saturday, but this trend will continue to haunt the Broncos this season.

3.) Continue To Figure Out The Defense: Southern Miss does not bring a potent offense to Bronco Stadium on Saturday. They are averaging 10.3 points a game, and turn the ball over a ton. Boise State should be able to use this game as a confidence booster, and if nothing else a chance to figure out where our defense is right now. Just like my last key, this game serves as a launching pad potentially for the rest of the season. The defense needs to use this game to get things right.

4.) Southwick Just Keep Going: As the QB, everybody wants to look at you and give you credit for the good, and especially the bad. Southwick though has impressed me lately, his running, his toughness, his competitive attitude. It shows on Southwick he doesn’t want to lose and his performances have shown it. Completing nearly 72% of his passes this season, and showing he can run the ball effectively in key situations has been a major plus. In this game, Southwick should have the chance to have another great game. I will be looking to see if he can continue to make big plays or if his injury against Fresno State hinders him in any way.

5.) Don’t Show Up Flat: Being honest, we are all hurting from the rough start to this season. My biggest question mark at this point is can the Broncos rebound? Criticism is everywhere, former players, fans, and media are all throwing stones. The crazy thing is, the season is far from lost and has so much still to offer. Huge games on the road against Utah State, and BYU still sit on the schedule, a potential monster showdown in Fresno State could still happen. Though the two losses hurt, and 2-2 seems very odd for a Boise State fan. This team has a lot to offer still, and if they show up fired up with these things in mind this season could still be one to remember. However, if they show up flat, any team can win at any time, even Southern Miss. Hopefully the fans, players, and coaches are all ready for a great night Saturday.

Follow Me on Twitter: @HeathBTN

NCAA 14 Simulation: Boise State vs. Southern Mississippi

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 correcting mistakes that cost Boise State the game, against Fresno State, the Broncos were anxious to get the game underway. Boise State had found themselves in an unfamiliar position of having just as many wins as losses to this point in the season. The Golden Eagles on the other hand found themselves in a similar position as last season while starting off their season 0-3.

Boise State elected to defer, and after a long kick, the Golden Eagles returned the opening kickoff back to their own 23 yard line. The offense marched onto the field hoping that their bye week had given them time to correct whatever mistakes have caused the winless start to their season. After three unsuccessful plays Southern Miss was forced to punt the ball which Boise State returned to their own 34 yard line. Following the Golden Eagle’s example the Broncos couldn’t get anything going and was forced to punt the ball.

Southern Miss’ offense returned to the field and, after a short 4 yard pass and two runs up the middle that were stopped by the defensive line, were forced to punt. On the punt return Williams-Rhodes made two defenders miss and returned the ball to the 50 yard line and gave Boise State great field position. The Broncos continued their new-found offense of short passes and runs up the middle all the way down to the 6 yard line before being stopped. Southwick then found Miller on a slant route for the touchdown and gave Boise State the lead.

Very little action followed the remainder of the first quarter as neither team crossed the goal line. Starting off the second quarter Boise State had the ball and continued the offensive success down to the 7 yard line where Holden Huff slipped past his defender and was rewarded with a touchdown reception from Southwick. USM then found some success throwing the ball against the young Boise State corners, followed by a field goal from 32 yards out.

Following the Golden Eagles’ score the Broncos orchestrated a drive down the field and again Miller was open for a short touchdown pass. USM took the next kickoff back to the 40 yard line and after a 24 yard pass followed by a 10 yard run, lined up for a field goal. The kick was from 43 yards out and the Golden Eagles’ kicker split the uprights to bring the score closer at 21-6 headed into halftime.

The second half started with both teams being forced to punt on their respective opening drives. Midway through the third quarter pressure forced Southwick to roll to his right where he found Huff open for a 27 yard touchdown pass. Boise State was quick to force a Southern Miss three and out, giving the Broncos possession at their own 42 yard line. After a perfectly executed fake hand off Southwick rolled to his right and found a streaking Boldewijn on the sideline for a gain of 58 yards and the touchdown. With that score Boise State took a 35-6 lead and on came the reserves.

With the reserves getting the remaining plays of the game it became very uneventful. Neither team could get their offenses going as drives ended almost quicker than they began. With less than 4 minutes left in the game Grant Hedrick started to get the offense moving in the right direction. On a third and eleven from the Boise State 36 yard line, and seventeen second left in the game, Hedrick made magic happen. (Now I know Coach Pete would never allow this, but EA does, so let it slide) Hedrick snapped the ball rolled to his left, saw pressure, ran back to the right and delivered a deep pass to Dallas Burroughs who then trotted into the end zone for a 64 yard touchdown pass with 0:07 left in the game.

Final Score: Boise State 42 – Southern Miss 6  

THE UGLY: 

With fans filling in most of the stadium, players finished up their warms ups, all while Bronco Nation appeared in a funk from the previous weeks defeat. Both teams took the field for the opening kickoff which Southern Miss elected to receive. The opening quarter was far from a barn burner as neither team could sustain a drive for more than a couple first downs as the defenses reigned supreme. All of this was put to rest when the Golden Eagles finally got the chains moving all the way down inside the red zone, and finished it off with a 12 yard touchdown pass to take the early lead.

Starting off the second quarter Boise State’s offense still seemed stumped by the formations of Southern Miss’ defense. Midway through the second quarter the Broncos’ concerns were put to rest when Southwick found Matt Miller for a 2 yard touchdown to tie up the game. The Broncos’ defense borrowed some of that offensive momentum and stuffed the USM offense to give the ball back to Southwick and Company. Boise State continued that momentum down into the red zone before being forced to kick a field goal which split the uprights with two minutes left in the half. USM drove the ball back down the field and lined up for a kick with 0:12 left, it stayed just inside the uprights, and tied the game at 10-10 heading into halftime

Coming out of the tunnel the Broncos appeared to be stunned by the fact that a 0-3 team was tied up with them at halftime, yet that was reality. After receiving the kickoff Shane Williams-Rhodes went to his left and then cut back to his right and found open field only to be stopped at the 49 yard line. That return would be the only good play for Boise State on this drive as the Broncos immediately went three and out. The punting battle continued for the next few possessions when finally the Golden Eagles sustained a drive, but ended in a 30 yard field goal. Following the confidence that USM showed on their offensive drive Southwick led the charge and Boise State found themselves 4 yards from the goal line. Jay Ajayi, who recently returned to Coach Pete’s good side, took the hand-off and ran up the middle to regain the lead for the Broncos

Early in the fourth quarter Jay Ajayi and Southwick found success in the running game and led the drive, and eventually another touchdown run, to give Boise State a 24-13 lead. Southern Miss turned the ball over and gave Boise State a chance to put the game away, but after gaining momentum with a couple first downs, was forced to punt the ball. The Golden Eagles started their drive from their own 30 yard line and with just over four minutes left in the game knew they needed a big play.

A big play was exactly what they got as they connected on a 70 yard touchdown pass and brought the game back to only a one score differential. Now being down by five points the Golden Eagles decided to go for a two point conversion, but there attempt was stopped when they tried to run it up the middle. Boise State knew that Southern Miss was going to onside the ball, and even though they were prepared for it, somehow a funny bounce later and the Golden Eagles had the ball again.

The Golden Eagles then drove the ball down to the 3 yard line with a little over two minutes left in the game before running for the touchdown. Southern Miss went for the two point conversion to increase their lead to three points and after a slant route they had done it. Southern Miss kicked the ball off to the Broncos and after a touchback, the Broncos were forced to start from their 25 yard line. Southwick returned to the field anxious to lead the charge and hopefully put the Broncos in position for the win.

The Broncos’ offense completed a 10 yard pass to Matt Miller, followed by a pass to Kirby Moore for 11 yards. Now the Broncos leaned on their running game that gained 4 yards, then three, then five, and another first down. With time running down the Broncos threw 2 incompletions to set up a third and ten from the USM 42 yard line and 14 seconds left in the game. Southwick snapped the ball and took his three step drop, threw the ball to Matt Miller who had set up for a 12 yard curl, only to have the ball batted down. Now with 6 seconds left in the game a Hail Mary was there only shot. Coach Pete made the call to take a shot for the end zone since they were out of field goal range, but after one more batted down pass, the Golden Eagles ended their losing streak.

Final Score: Southern Miss 27 – Boise State 24

 

OUTCOME:

The sting of a heartbreaking loss loomed, ever so eerily, throughout the stadium as fans piled into their seats, all while a sense of uncertainty filled the air. Would the potent new offense return or would we be subjected to another lackadaisical performance was on the minds of fans. With the game ready to begin, and Southern Miss set to receive, the questions would soon be answered.

The Golden Eagles were forced to start their drive from the 25 yard line after Dan Goodale kicked the ball into the back of the end zone. With the opening drive USM found early success using their hurry up offense all while gaining three first downs. The Golden Eagles ran into a little trouble when Bryan Douglas intercepted the next pass and returned it into the end zone to give the Broncos an early lead. In typical Bronco fashion they went for a two point conversion on their opening score, but were stopped before crossing the goal line.

Southern Miss came back onto the field and again found success running the ball up the middle and mixing in a few short passes that seemed to catch the Bronco defense off guard. Southern Miss eventually found the end zone after a 15 yard route and a missed tackle left the receiver trotting into the end zone and bringing the game even. After the PAT USM found themselves off to an early lead halfway through the first quarter.

Behind the legs of new starting running back Aaron Baltazar, Boise State found success on the ground with runs up the middle and a few sweeps. Joe Southwick and the offense eventually stumbled inside the red zone and were forced to kick a field goal which retook the lead. Boise State’s defense was up to the challenge this drive and forced a punt to give the ball back to their offense to start off the second quarter.

With momentum on their side Southwick orchestrated a pass first drive that brought the offense 14 yards from the end zone. On a first and ten, Baltazar ran up the middle for a gain of 4 yards and followed that up with a 3 yard gain on second down. On third down Coach Pete put the ball back into the senior quarterback’s hands and he delivered with a touchdown pass to an open Matt Miller.

Southern Miss started off their next drive off with a few short passes and completed a third and three after running the ball up the middle. The Golden Eagles found success passing in the middle of the field, and eventually drove the ball down inside the 13 yard line. They completed the drive with a touchdown run by the quarterback. The Golden Eagles did something daring by going for the two point conversion and converted to shrink the Broncos’ lead to 16-15. Boise State’s offense stumbled early in their drive and were forced to punt with under a minute left in the half.

Coming out of the tunnel the Golden Eagles appeared to have a rejuvenated spirit while the Broncos looked confused. Boise State took their opening drive and started it off with a 34 yard completion to Geraldo Boldewijn that left the Broncos 27 yards from a score. Those yard were hard fought, but Aaron Baltazar finished off the drive when he crossed the goal line after a 12 yard run to the outside and diving into the end zone.

Over the next eight minutes neither team’s offense found success moving the chains and it became a game of field position. With less than two minutes in the quarter, the Broncos regained their momentum, and Southwick led the offense down the field and into the end zone when he found Matt Miller open in the back of the end zone. The Broncos had extended their lead to fifteen points heading into the fourth quarter.

USM was able to muster another pass oriented drive down the field, which was stopped when Bryan Douglas batted down a pass on third down. The Golden Eagles were forced to kick a field goal which split the uprights and brought the score closer at 30-18. Southwick and company marched back onto the field ready to extend their lead and hopefully put the game away with eight minutes left in the game.

Starting off the drive Jay Ajayi was back in the game and he didn’t disappoint as he ran the ball up the middle and ran over defenders. After being benched in the previous week Ajayi seemed to protect the ball better as no matter how many the defenders there were, the ball never left his hands. With the strong running, a play action fake froze the defense, and Southwick found Kirby Moore open after slipping under the defense for an 18 yard touchdown. With four minutes left in the game Southern Miss tried to orchestrate one final drive, but came up just short as time expired.

 

 

Final Score: Boise State 37 – Southern Miss 18  

 

Stats from Game:

Joe Southwick: 19-30, 3 TD – 1 INT, 294 yards

Jay Ajayi: 9 carries, 45 yards, 0 TD

Aaron Baltazar: 16 carries, 76 yards, 1 TD

Matt Miller: 9 receptions, 129 yards, 2 TD

Kirby Moore: 4 receptions, 62 yards, 1 TD

Beau Martin: 3 tackles, 1 TFL, ½ sack

Bryan Douglas: 5 tackles, 1 INT, 2 pass break-up, 1 TD

 

Head to Head: Boise State 6 – Southern Miss 1

Fresno State Edges Mistake-Prone Boise State

Photo: USATSI

Boise State visited Bulldog Stadium to take on Fresno State Friday night. The Broncos entered the game on a 2 game wining streak, but fell to the Bulldogs, 41-40, in a game the Broncos will soon hope to forget.

Fresno State started strong, holding the Broncos on their first drive, then scored on their opening drive on a 14-yard slip screen pass from Derek Carr to Josh Quezada.

Boise State answered back later in the first quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by Jay Ajayi.

Both teams added a field goal and the first quarter ended with the teams tied at 10.

Joe Southwick and Kirby Moore were in synch on their first drive of the second quarter, but the Broncos were unable to put points on the board.

Fresno State moved quickly on their next drive. After a 41-yard pass to Isaiah Burse, Carr threw to Josh Harper for a 21-yard touchdown. Cleshawn Page had good coverage but was out-fought for the ball.

Southwick left the game in the middle of the Broncos’ next possession, but Grant Hendrick came in to connect with Troy Ware for an 18-yard touchdown, bringing the score 16-17, Bulldogs. It was Hendrick’s first Touchdown pass and Ware’s first reception in their BSU careers.

Harper added another receiving score for the Bulldogs. The Broncos tacked on a field goal to end the half trailing the Bulldogs, 24-19.

Boise State struggled both offensively and defensively in the first half. Coming out in the second, the Broncos continued to have trouble.

On defense, there were several missed tackles. The Broncos were unable to stop Fresno State on third down.

On offense, BSU failed to run. Ajayi had a crucial fumble in the red zone, which Fresno State was able to turn into 7 points for themselves.  Aaron Baltazar replaced Ajayi after the fumble and scored on a 35-yard run.

Heading into the fourth quarter, Fresno State led, 34-26.

Boise State came out a new team for the final 15 minutes. After forcing a Fresno State punt, Baltazar scored his second touchdown of the game.

The Bulldogs fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Boise State capitalized on the turnover, and scored on a Southwick run.  Coach Peterson pulled out a trick play for the 2-point conversion, and Boise State scored on a pass from Matt Miller to Jake Hardee. At 40-34, Boise State had their first lead of the game.

Having looked stronger on defense on previous drives, the Broncos fell back into sloppy play. The Bulldogs took over 5 minutes off the clock en route to scoring on a 1-yard run by Quezada.

The Broncos had one more possession, but were unable to get into field goal range to put the winning points on the board.

Southwick finished the game 31-of-45, with 313 yards and an interception. Ajayi had 20 carries for 54 yard, 1 touchdown and, of course, the crucial fumble. Baltazar carried the ball 18 times for 92 yards and 2 touchdowns. While Boise State pulled together to take the lead in the fourth quarter, they had too many mistakes throughout the game to bring home the win.  Preparing for next week, the Broncos need to shore up their tackling, and work on stopping the opposing offense on third down. Ajayi is likely in the doghouse with Coach Pete and needs to address his fumbling issues. Baltazar has been a more dependable back and could take over the starting job.

The Broncos face Southern Miss at home next Saturday.