Boise State Basketball: Nevada Bound

Photo courtesy Otto Kitsinger

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

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

Basically, they are Boise’s opposite in that:

-          They are from Reno, and all that entails.

-          They have gotten hot going into conference play.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

5 Keys Boise State vs Wyoming

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Me on Twitter: @HeathBTN

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

5 Keys Boise State vs Colorado State

79526644-ec05-49a8-aa8b-11aa881be089_zps89ea57161.) Grant Hedrick Has To Get Going: Think Hedrick vs Nevada, not Hedrick vs BYU. Really it comes down to Grant as a runner. It was said during the week Hedrick had some opportunities to run against BYU, however, he chose not to. Against Colorado State Hedrick has to trust the type of player he is and just go out and play. He can’t over think it, confidence is a must for Hedrick to succeed on a weekly basis. If Grant can break some big runs off early, it would be huge for inexperienced QB and Boise State in this game.

2.) Stop Kapri Bibbs: The RB from Colorado State is averaging 6 yards per carry, and has 12 touchdowns. When he gets going (See them vs Wyoming) Colorado State is very hard to stop. Garrett Grayson the QB of Colorado State seems to rely heavily on Kapri for big games. If Boise State can contain Bibbs, they should have an easy day against Colorado State.

3.) Use All of Your Player-Makers: Too often this season Boise State seems to have games where it is all about Rhodes, Miller, Ajayi, etc… Boise State has always been successful because they use all their weapons well. Tonight would be a great time to start finding multiple players to get involved early to keep Colorado State off balance. It would also go a long way in building confidence as the season comes to a close.

4.) Who Are We on Defense?: In Boise State’s 5 wins this season, they have given up 16.4 points per game. In Boise State’s 3 losses, they have given up 38.7. Boise State knows how to score points, but when the defense doesn’t come to play Boise State is in over it’s head. Colorado State knows how to score the ball, they average 33.4 points per game. If Boise State, as a defensive unit doesn’t show up at full force, it could be a long day.

5.) Forget BYU, Washington, & Fresno: It is odd to pick up the paper, or turn on the TV and hear about how Boise State is a little down in terms of moral. It just is not what Boise State fans, players, or coaches are use to. But everyone has to remember, some major goals are still in sight. Winning the Mountain West Championship is still a real possibility. Another season of going undefeated at home is in sight. And last but not least, another bowl trophy in the trophy case is still possibly on the horizon. It is time to stop comparing this team to every team of the past, and time to start to support this team for what they are. They may not be busting down the door to the last BCS, but they still have a chance to do some great things. Forget, BYU, forget Washington, and forget Fresno at least for now. It is time to focus on achieving what is possible, not what has been lost.

NCAA 14 Simulation: Boise State vs. Colorado 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:   

Needing a bounce back win, after a loss to BYU, the Broncos took the field ready to get back to their winning ways. Early in the game Grant Hedrick found Matt Miller open for a score from 7 yards away. After a defensive stop Boise State was able to put more points on the board when Jay Ajayi found the end zone from 4 yards away. Right before the end of the first quarter Shane Williams-Rhodes slipped a defender after a screen pass, and made his way across the goal for a 23 yard gain, and the score

Opening the second quarter Boise State gained some momentum offensively and drove the ball deep into Rams territory, but were forced into a 32 yard field goal from Dan Goodale. Colorado State was able to slow down the barrage of points, but only when they could muster a field goal of their own from 34 yards away. Williams-Rhodes was able to find the end zone again when he caught a one yard touchdown pass from Hedrick.

Coming back from the locker rooms, Boise State continued their offensive efficiency when Williams-Rhodes caught a touchdown pass from Hedrick from 4 yards away. The defensive continued their dominance, and forced a punt for Colorado State. Following the nice return from Williams-Rhodes, the Broncos had a short field and were able to complete another passing touchdown to Miller.

The Broncos used an offensive passing attack to get down into Rams territory before Derrick Thomas finished off the drive with a running touchdown of his own. Heading into the final 15 minutes the game, and basically all wrapped up, the backups were able to get some playing time. With less than a minute in the game, the score way out of reach for a comeback, Thomas found the end zone to put the final points on the board.

Final Score: Boise State 59 – Colorado State 3

 

THE UGLY:

The Broncos marched onto the field prepared to get another conference win and keep their division title hopes alive. Early on things were going in Boise State’s favor when Matt Miller caught a 23 yard touchdown pass from Grant Hedrick. After an early score neither team was able to keep any offensive momentum as no points were put on the board. With time expiring on the first quarter of the game, Colorado State stalled on their drive inside Bronco territory.

Opening up the second quarter the Rams kicked a 24 yard field goal to draw the game closer. Boise State responded with a turnover that gave the Rams the momentum, and a chance to score and head into halftime with the lead. Shortly after, Colorado State completed a 5 yard pass for the score and gave the Rams an unthinkable lead. It had become apparent that the Rams were ready to complete the role of underdog victor.

After the coaches gave pep talks, the Rams received the kickoff and orchestrated a drive inside Bronco territory that led to a 10 yard run and a score. Boise State’s offensive was able to respond with a score of their own when Boldewijn caught a 3 yard pass. Colorado State ended the quarter with a score of their own when Smith found Gillmore open from 7 yards away, and gave the Rams a 24-14 lead heading into the final 15 minutes of the game.

The final quarter opened up with the Boise State running attack leading the charge, and finishing off a drive when Derrick Thomas found the end zone. Colorado State returned the favor of adding points to the board with a field goal from 37 yards away, as the defensive pressure continued to stifle the Rams. Just before the two minute mark the Broncos were able to retake the lead when Miller found himself on the receiving end of a touchdown pass from Hedrick.

The Rams started their next drive with just over two minutes left. The Rams put together a drive full of passing that took advantage of the young corner backs until they were inside Bronco territory. With 3rd down from the 23 yard line and only 0:09 left in the game the Rams lined up for the game winning field goal. With a swift kick the ball split the uprights and gave the victory to Colorado State.

Final Score: Colorado State 30 – Boise State 28  

 

OUTCOME:

After what some considered a shocking loss to BYU, the Broncos took the field prepared to show that last week’s performance wasn’t the true character of this team. Early in the game Grant Hedrick rekindled his form shown against Nevada, while running the read option and used his legs to move the ball. With the ball down inside the 5 yard line, Hedrick used a play action fake to freeze the defense and found Matt Miller open for the early score. Colorado State was able to respond with a drive that lead to a field goal from 31 yards away. Boise State mixed up their play calling and used screen passes and a lone deep pass to Miller to set up a Jay Ajayi touchdown run which extended the Broncos’ lead.

Opening up the second quarter with the ball, Colorado State was able to complete a deep pass to Gillmore to set up the touchdown run by Smith from 3 yards away. The Broncos were able to push through the offensive line and block the PAT that followed. Boise State’s offense returned to the field and didn’t disappoint when Shane Williams-Rhodes slipped by a couple defenders and found his way into the end zone from 32 yards away after a screen pass from Hedrick.

The second half opening drive by Colorado State set the Rams up for another field goal, this time from 39 yards away. Boise State was able to move the ball down the field and inside Ram’s territory before Hedrick slipped a screen pass to Jay Ajayi who ran through defenders on his way into the end zone. Boise State’s defense rose to the challenge and was able to force a quick punt for the Rams, giving the ball back to their offense. The Broncos were able to orchestrate a no huddle offense which led to them getting down inside Colorado State territory. Matt Miller was able to slip inside the coverage of his defender and Hedrick found him open for his second score of the game, increasing the Boise State lead.

Heading into the fourth quarter the Broncos held a 35-12 edge and it appeared as though this game was all but wrapped up. Colorado State didn’t seem to see it that way as they drove the ball deep inside Bronco territory, but were forced to settle for a field goal from 24 yards away. After a failed onside kick attempt the Broncos put in their reserves and put the final nail in the coffin when Derrick Thomas crossed the goal line midway through the final quarter.

Final Score: Boise State 42 – Colorado State 15

 

Stats from game:

Grant Hedrick: 20-32, 4 td – 1 int, 277 yards, 1 rush td

Jay Ajayi: 13 carries, 66 yds, 1 td, 2 rec, 24 yds, 1 td

Matt Miller: 11 rec, 130 yds, 2 td

Shane Williams-Rhodes: 4 rec, 58 yds, 1 td

Demarcus Lawrence: 5 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack

 

Head to Head:

Boise State 6 – Colorado State 1

5 Keys Boise State vs BYU

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1.) Hedrick vs Hill:  You will notice quickly that this weeks “5 Keys” focuses on player production from both BYU and BSU. This first key is the start of that. We all know by now that Southwick is out and Hedrick is in. The question is, what does Boise State have in Grant? Coming off the bench as the backup QB, you have a quick advantage. The other team did not prepare for what you have to offer on the field. They have limited tape on how the offense runs when you are in. Nevada potentially got the best of Hedrick and now BYU has the tape of what that means. Question will be, how does Hedrick adjust when BYU takes away his favorite reads, runs, and offensive options? Before we get too excited about Grant these questions will have to be answered, and if they are answered in the Broncos favor, they could leave BYU with a win. There is no doubt, that with Hedrick in, the pistol-option game becomes more dynamic for BSU. But what happens on 3rd and long?

Now, this key, did say “Hill vs Hedrick” and Taysom Hill will have a ton, if not the most to say about this game. If you have watched BYU play this year, you know that the offense is Taysom and more Taysom. It actually often seems when you watch BYU play they have no game-plan, they just have Taysom Hill and his running. When this game is over, if Boise State can look at the box-score and say Hedrick outplayed Hill. Then this game should not be in question. BYU has lost 2 games when teams hold Hill under 100 yards rushing and 50% completions. Stop Hill, you stop BYU.

2.) Lawrence vs Van Noy:  These 2 names could find themselves being called early in the NFL draft. Demarcus Lawrence, and Kyle Van Noy, are 2 of the most dynamic and exciting football players on the defensive side of the ball in all of college football. Lawrence already has 6.5 sacks this season, he has blocked FG’s and seems to be getting better every game. Van Noy on the other side of the ball has 3 sacks, an interception and a defensive touchdown to his name. In a game where everyone is predicting tons of offense these 2 play-makers on defense could push the favor to either side. A big sack from Lawrence, a big stop by Van Noy, these types of plays could be what pushes the momentum, and ultimately the game in 1 direction.

3.) Williams vs Ajayi: Now with Southwick out, the already run dominate Broncos will likely see even more running. With BYU this has already been the case with Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams. With so much focused on the dynamic running skills of the quarterbacks in this game, the guys who could steal the show are the guys who are actually meant to run the ball. Both Ajayi, and Williams average 5.0 yards or more per carry and have shown the ability to takeover a game. If one of these guys goes off for a big day that could be the team to control the clock, and the game.

4.) Conditioning:  So both of these teams like to go fast on offense, and both of these teams like to run the ball. Which means the defense that can stand in the trenches and fight harder, and longer, could win the game. In an era where offenses now spend little time giving their defenses a rest. Conditioning is going to play a major role in this game. Whichever team has more of it, in the end could be the team that wins.

5.) Start Fast: The last key, leads into this key. Start fast, and put the pressure on BYU and not the Broncos. Take control of the game early, control the crowd, and control the tempo. So much of this game seems equal on paper. That is why I focused on player vs player match-ups. 1 guy could turn this game, but if a team can start fast and control the momentum then everything changes. With a new QB going into a hostile environment, getting a quick jump on the crowd can only help Hedrick in his first start. Not to mention there are still a lot of questions about Grant Hedrick the thrower. Which means playing from ahead and playing to his strengths would be huge for the BSU. BYU has struggled on defense at times this year, but I would take their defense over Nevada’s any day. I wouldn’t count on a big comeback in this game. Then again, with Hedrick at the helm, we just don’t know what to expect, not yet anyway. 

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