Boise St Broncos
2011 Record: 12-1 Overall, 6-1 Mountain West
2011 Bowl result: Beat Arizona St 56-24 in Maaco Las Vegas Bowl
Head Coach: Chris Petersen
Over/Under Regular Season Wins: Over 9 1/2 -140 / Under +120
Odds to win 2013 BCS Championship: 66/1
All Odds courtesy of Bovada
Boise St hasn’t lost more than one game in a season since 2007. However that could change this fall as they lost a lot of talent, most notably quarterback Kellen Moore and running back Doug Martin. The Broncos still have coach Chris Petersen and are still favored to win the Mountain West. Boise St will leave the Mountain West for the Big East in 2013.
Last season, the Broncos finished 12-1. The only loss came at home 36-35 to TCU. The one point loss kept Boise from winning the Mountain West title and also kept them out of a lucrative BCS bowl game (perhaps even the BCS Championship game.) Boise St opened the season with a 35-21 win against Georgia in Atlanta.
Let’s take a look at the offense, defense, special teams, and schedule for Boise St.
Kellen Moore left Boise St as the career wins leader in NCAA football. He will not be easy to replace as he threw for 3,800 yards with 43 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions last season. There will be a battle during fall practice to replace him. The favorite is junior Joe Southwick, who was Moore’s understudy for the last two years. He threw 30 passes last year mainly in blowouts when the game was decided. True freshman Nick Patti also impressed during spring practice. Sophomore Grant Hedrick and redshirt freshman Jimmy Laughrea could also be in the mix for the job.
Robert Prince takes over as the offensive coordinator after coaching the receivers and quarterbacks last season. Former coordinator Brent Pease left to take the same position at Florida. Prince will run the same system, so it shouldn’t be much of an issue, as far continuity goes.
Doug Martin rushed for just under 1,300 yards last season on 263 carries with 16 touchdowns. He also caught 2 touchdown passes. He is off to the NFL as he was drafted by the Buccaneers. D.J. Harper should get most of the carries. He has had multiple knee injuries and is a sixth year senior. He rushed for 557 yards with 9 touchdowns, and also caught a touchdown pass. Drew Wright also returns after rushing for 218 yards on 43 carries and 3 touchdowns last season.
In addition to replacing Moore and Martin, the Broncos must replace leading receiver Tyler Shoemaker and tight end Kyle Efaw. Shoemaker had 62 catches, 994 yards, and 16 touchdowns. Efaw had 31 catches, and 7 touchdowns. Sophomore Matt Miller is the top returning receiver. He had 62 catches, 679 yards, and 9 touchdowns last year, and was a freshman All-American. Tight end Gabe Linehan also returns after catching 5 touchdowns last season. Brothers Mitch & Dallas Burroughs, and Geraldo Boldewijn also make up a talented group of receivers that should help whomever wins the quarterback battle.
Boise St must replace 2 All-Mountain West linemen in center Thomas Byrd and tackle Nate Potter. However, due to some injuries a total of nine players started at least one game last season and five of those players return. The line should be a strength of this team.
Boise State battled injuries last season on defense, especially in the secondary. An incredible 16 players in the BSU secondary had at least 5 tackles last season. The defense contained top 25 offenses Georgia and Toledo, but then allowed 364 yards per game to Air Force and UNLV. The low point was against TCU when the Horned Frogs shredded the injury riddled Bronco secondary for 473 yards and 36 points.
The front seven was strong last season, but they must replace their top five linemen. The Broncos use a 4-2-5 system under coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski. The line should be led by tackles Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe and Mike Atkinson. End DeMarcus Lawrence is a JuCo transfer, but should start right away. Tyler Horn will also get significant playing time at end.
The linebackers should be led by J.C. Percy and Tommy Smith. Middle linebacker Blake Renaud could have a breakout season after a strong spring.
The secondary should be the strongest part of the defense, led by cornerbacks Jerrell Gavins and Jamar Taylor, and safeties Jonathan Brown and Dextrell Simmons. All the injuries last year gave them playing time and experience last year that will help them this year.
Boise St coaches, players, and fans are well aware of the fact that missed field goals in 2010 against Nevada and in 2011 against TCU cost the Broncos perfect regular seasons and berths in BCS games. Redshirt freshman Jake Van Ginkel had a great leg and was accurate in high school. He should be the kicker, but Boise brought in 3 other kickers to compete for the job as well.
Junior Trevor Harman takes over as the punter. He has a strong leg and can angle balls to pin opponents deep.
The Burroughs brothers, Mitch and Dallas will handle kick and punt returns. Last season Martin handled kickoffs and had a 33.8 yard return average. Both brothers returned a few kicks and punts last year, but neither averaged more than 23 yards per return.
Boise St opens the season at Michigan St, before hosting Miami-Ohio and BYU. Then the Broncos travel to New Mexico and Southern Miss. Then Fresno St and UNLV make the trip to the blue turf in Boise. The rest of the schedule includes road games at Wyoming, Hawaii, and Nevada, and home games against San Diego St and Colorado St. They play every Mountain West team except Air Force.
Boise has plenty of talent remaining on offense even without Moore, Martin, Shoemaker, and Efaw. The big question will be on defense, especially on the line. If the defense holds up, Boise St should win the Mountain West title, although games against Michigan St, BYU, Southern Miss, Nevada, and Hawaii are not easy. I see Boise regressing slightly to 9-3.
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