Us Bronco fans feel pretty good about the season opener, blasting Lousiana-Lafayette 45-10 in one of the biggest season-opener blowouts in Boise State history. That being said, it’s game week again and here are some of my top 5 concerns facing BSU in their first game on The Blue™ against the Washington State Cougars. On a more positive note, I also share the 5 things I think Boise State has nothing to worry about.
- Secondary – The young Boise State secondary looked really good despite the starting safeties being out vs ULL. Evan Tyler and Cam Hartsfield filled in well as replacements and the former LSU QB Anthony Jennings got 186 yards. The score shows complete dominance, and the run game behind star RB McGuire was nearly silent (only 81 yards on 40 carries). But if you dive in a little deeper, BSU’s pass defense wasn’t quite as dominant – 3 catches were for over 20 yards (36, 21, 23). Now this is no cause for alarm for most of BSU’s schedule since most focus on the run game but…. WSU is an ‘Air Raid’ offense, QB Luke Falk threw for over 400 yards in their last game! More than likely Chanceller James will be back in the secondary for Boise so that will help at the safety position but we didn’t really see Kam Miles either vs ULL (injury or team discipline perhaps?). The corner position is what will be tested early so we will see Moxey and Ford/Horton show their stuff early – but can they stop Luke Falk and 1st team All-Pac-12 Wide out Gabe Marks? Besides Chanceller James & Moxey, the rest of BSU’s DBs only combine for 6 total starts (so that’s a pretty young group).
- Redemption – Washington State is coming off a big loss to an FCS opponent, Eastern Washington. No matter how good EWU played, it is embarrassing for the players and a team that was so highly regarded (had some big wins in the Pac12 last season). Not to mention this was the 2nd season in a row they have dropped the ball in their first game against an FCS team. WSU does not believe their season will be defined by 1 game and will fight to beat Boise State in hopes of redeeming their season.
- Missed FG– Boise State fans know all too well what it feels like to miss a game winning field goal, so the thought of this pains the soul. Tyler Rausa was 25 for 30 FGs last season (83%) which was #1 in the MWC so he has been great to us fans, but one missed field goal at a crucial point could spoil what has been a stellar career. Sadly the last two Boise State kickers have missed game winning field goals (Goodale, Brotzman) in seasons where BSU could have gone undefeated otherwise. Rausa missed a 42 yd FG attempt vs ULL and if that doesn’t scare BSU fans, you must have become a fan after 2012.
- Ball Security– Some scary moments against ULL was when Cedrick Wilson was stripped of the ball at the one yard line and when Brett Rypien fumbled to have it luckily recovered by his offensive line. While neither of these were turnovers that the defense recovered, it’s still scary and as Brett Rypien mentioned to the media, it is something they will be working on this week in practice. Especially when you remember the turnover debacle vs Utah State last season. Now I don’t think it will end up becoming a huge problem, but it is something to be concerned about.
- Luke Falk- Even though Washington State lost at home last week, Luke Falk still had some crazy numbers (418 yds, 4 TD/1 INT). He led the NCAA in passing yards last season too with 4561 yds. His Air-Raid offense may attack one of Boise State’s least experienced position groups and we could be in for a very high scoring game. His favorite target and standout WR Gabe Marks is also very dangerous if Falk can get the ball his direction (108 yds, 2 TD vs EWU). Falk did have an interception in their last game though, so there is weakness.
Now here’s the good news- Boise State looked great in their season opener in many ways. Here’s 5 things fans can be confident about the team
- Weapons – The Boise State Broncos has a lot of them, between Sperbeck-McNichols-Wilson, Demas, Mattison, Chaz, Dhaenens, and any of the other WRs…basically there are a lot of players that WSU will (try to) stop. Boise State poured on 426 receiving yards with 7 different receivers with catches. Also three different running backs had touches and the leading rusher was a true freshman. That’s a lot to game plan for.
- Defending the Blue – This is something that this team has taken to heart during the offseason and Brett mentioned this week while talking to the media. This Boise State team is out to redeem themselves and bring back the “mystique” that SDSU Coach Rocky Long keeps saying doesn’t exist. I hope he loses again in Boise on The Blue in the MWC Championship game just for that comment. This idea to protect their turf is taken very seriously by the team and I expect them to live up to it.
- Home Opener – I don’t even know if I can go far enough back into the record books to see the last time Boise State lost the home opener, but it hasn’t been often. I’ve been a fan since ’07 and have never seen them lose an opener. Now that doesn’t guarantee a win but I really think Boise State will shine on their first game for the home crowd.
- Bryan Harsin – You have to be fairly confident in Coach Harsin calling the plays if you saw the Broncos offense vs ULL last week. Not to mention the Defensive Coordinator for that team was fired a few days after the game. Harsin is real good at game planning and calling the plays that seem to gouge the defense, and is quite familiar with big games (he was the offensive coordinator in 2 of BSU’s Fiesta Bowl wins).
- The 0-4 record – I know we see our record against Washington State and get depressed but the last game was in 2001! Bryan Harsin was even on the team for some of the games! So it’s really nothing to worry about considering games that were played in the 1990s and early 2000’s. Plus, this is BSU’s chance to get rid of the goose egg on that record and finally win a game against that team from Pullman. C’mon if we beat Coach Pete’s team from Seattle with Finley taking the snaps, surely we can beat WSU.’
Here’s to hoping Boise State can get the win and we will all be very happy Bronco fans! Go Broncos!
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