2013 Boise State Broncos Football Preview
Boise State Broncos
Head Coach: Chris Petersen
2012 Record: 11-2 Overall, 7-1 Mountain West
2012 Bowl Result: Beat Washington 28-26 in the Las Vegas Bowl
2013 Returning starters: 6 offense, 6 defense
Odds to win 2014 BCS Championship game: 115/1
Odds to win 2013 Mountain West Championship Game: +140
Odds to win 2013 Mountain West Mountain Division: -215
Regular Season Wins: under 10 -130 / over 10 Even
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After testing the waters of the Big East (now known as the American Athletic Conference) Boise State and San Diego St decided to stick around the Mountain West. Both schools had actually accepted invitations to join the conference, but after the ACC and Big Ten pilfered the cream of the Big East crop both Boise and SDSU decided the extra travel wasn’t worth it to join what is now basically a glorified Conference USA. With Utah State and San Jose State joining the conference, the MWC now has 12 members and can hold a lucrative championship game.
Last year, Boise State went 11-2 and was 7-1 in the Mountain West. The Broncos finished in a 3 way tie with Fresno St and San Diego St for the MWC title, but the Broncos won the tie-breaker based on a better overall record. The only two losses were by a total of 6 points at Michigan State and at home against San Diego St. Boise St had narrow wins over BYU and at New Mexico and Nevada, but every other win was by double digits. Boise St won the Las Vegas Bowl 28-26 over Washngton. Boise St opens the 2013 season at Washington. Boise State has seven straight double digit win seasons, and 10 in the last 11. Under head coach Chris Petersen, the Broncos have gone an incredible 84-8, straight up.
Last year, Boise State’s offense scored under 400 points in a season for the first time since 1998. First year coordinator Robert Prince had a little bit of a talent drain last year with the loss of players like Kellen Moore, Doug Martin, Titus Young, and Austin Pettis in recent years. Now, only 6 starters return on offense, and Boise St must improve a middle of the pack offense that only scored 30 points a game. Boise played some low scoring games like 17-13 against Michigan St, 7-6 against BYU, and 21-19 against San Diego State.
Senior quarterback Joe Southwick wasn’t terrible last year, but he failed to live up to the lofty standards set by Kellen Moore. Southwick completed 66.8% of his passes for 2,730 yards with 19 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with 121 rushing yards. He did improve somewhat throwing 9 touchdowns and no interceptions in the last 4 games. He should be even better this year. Junior Grant Hedrick is the back-up and threw 17 passes last year, completing 12. He also had 3 rushing touchdowns. Freshmen Nick Patty and Ryan Finley are the quarterbacks of the future.
The Broncos must replace leading rusher D.J. Harper who rushed for 1,137 yards and 15 touchdowns, and also caught 23 passes including a touchdown. Sophomore Jay Ajayi had 82 carries, 548 yards, and 4 touchdowns. He will get most of the carries as the feature back. JUCO transfer Derrick Thomas rushed for 829 yards and 7 scores for Butler CC as they won the NJCAA championship last season. Aaron Baltazar is a true freshman, but is very talented and versatile. He could be used as a receiver, running back, or kick returner. Sophomore fullback Jamal Wilson won’t get any carries, but could catch some passes out of the backfield.
Leading receiver junior Matt Miller returns after making 66 catches for 769 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is the outside X receiver. Senior Kirby Moore (brother of Kellen) had 36 catches, 368 yards and a touchdown last year. He will rotate at the inside Y receiver with senior Geraldo Boldewijn who had 18 catches, 197 yards and 2 scores. Shane Williams-Rhodes and Dallas Burroughs will rotate at the slot. True freshman Kendal Keys will also get some targets and has potential to someday be a #1 receiver. Senior tight end Gabe Linehan returns after making only one catch last year before a hamstring injury sidelined him for the year. He caught 23 passes in 2011. Sophomore Holden Huff took over for Linehan and made 17 catches, 250 yards and 4 scores.
The line loses 3 starters but has some capable replacements. Senior left tackle Charles Leno was All-Mountain West last year, and center Matt Paradis started all 13 games last year. Now for the newcomers. Reed Odhiambo will take over at right tackle. Senior Jake Broyles will start at right guard. Travis Averill could also be in the mix at right guard. Senior Spencer Gerke will be the left guard. Eli McCullough will add depth at tackle.
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Last season, Boise St defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski had to replace 9 starters, Despite this, the Broncos were #12 in total defense, #8 in scoring defense, and #5 against the pass nationally. Now he has 6 starters back, and there shouldn’t be much of a drop-off if at all.
Junior defensive end Demarcus Lawrence returns after making 48 tackles, 13.5 for loss, and 9.5 sacks last year. Beau Martin will back him up. Senior Khayree Marshall will start at the other end in place of Sam Ukwuachu who was dismissed from the team and transferred to Baylor. Senior Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe will start at nose tackle and made 37 tackles last year. Junior Tyler Horn will start at the other tackle and made 5 sacks last year. Armad Nance, Tutulupeatau Mataele, and Justin Taimatuia will add depth at tackle.
Junior outside linebacker Blake Renaud made 45 tackles last year. Dustin Kamper will rotate at the outside with Renaud Sophomore Tyler Gray will start in the middle. Tyler Saxton and Tanner Vallego add depth to a mostly untested unit.
Sophomore Donte Deayon will take over at one corner for Jamar Taylor. Junior Deon’tae Florence will rotate with Deayon at the spot. Junior Bryan Douglas and JUCO transfer Cleshawn Page will rotate at the other corner. Both starting safeties from last year return though. Junior safety Jeremy Ioane made 70 tackles, broke up two passes, and had 3 picks last year. Sophomore Darian Thompson made 43 tackles and broke up 3 passes. Junior Corey Bell and senior Jonathan Brown will rotate at the nickel back in Boise’s 4-2-5 system. JUCO transfer Mercy Maston will see time at corner.
Junior kicker Dan Goodale handled kickoffs late last season, and will compete with JUCO transfer Tyler Rausa for the kicking job. Both are looking to replace Michael Frisina who made 15 of 20 kicks but didn’t make one over 34 yards.
Senior punter Trevor Harman averaged 41.2 yards per punt and planted 8 inside the 20. Quarterback Southwick was a good pooch punter putting 5 of his kicks inside the 20.
Shane Williams-Rhodes will be the main kick returner after averaging 24.9 yards per return over the final five games. He could also return punts, but freshman Aaron Baltazar could also be in the mix.
The schedule is fairly tough but manageable. Boise opens in Seattle for a bowl game rematch with Washington. Then comes home games against Tennessee-Martin and Air Force. Then comes a tough road game at Fresno, followed by a home game against Southern Miss. Boise then travels to conference newcomer Utah St before hosting Nevada. The Broncos then play at BYU and Colorado St. Home games against Wyoming and New Mexico book end a trip to San Diego St.
If Boise can get by Washington in the opener, the Broncos have a shot at running the table. However road trips to Fresno, Logan, Provo, and San Diego will not be easy games. Still 11 wins seems like a very good possibility as does another MWC title.
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