2012 Boise State Broncos Football Preview

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 is favored to win the Mountain West in 2012 before leaving for the Big East in 2013.

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.

Special Teams

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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  1. 9/3 seems a tough one for me to swallow. How about 12/0?? BSU will gather a 21 point early lead on MSU and MSU will not quite be able to come back. From there all BSU needs to do is keep executing and 12/0 is attainable. However unless MSU, BYU, So Miss do amazingly well BSU will never make the NC game with their schedule. But they ought to make a BCS Bowl.

  2. The end Lawrence is a JC transfer, he didn’t get any action as a Bronco last year, probably a ton at his JC but I’m too lazy to confirm.

  3. You might be right, JM. No question that on paper, BSU has the talent to go 12-0, but trips to East Lansing, Hattiesburg, Reno, and Honolulu are no picnic.I could see them struggling early in the season as the quarterback (either Southwick or Patti) learns the system. TCU was in a similar situation last year and lost games early to Baylor and SMU, but were one of the best teams in the country at the end of the season.

    As a fan of UNLV, I always root for Mountain West teams to do well, and would love to see Boise St get another chance at a BCS bowl for the conference before the Broncos leave for the Big East.

  4. While you do a pretty good job overall I would like to add a few names missing and why they are important. Troy Ware a 6’2″ WR just might be the most talented of the group and will be stretching defenses with his 4.3 speed, Red shirted last year look for him to be a beast this year. Kirby Moore the last name should say it all but the Red shirted Junior has shown a great pair of hands and unlike his older brother is taller and extremely athletic. Chris Porter will be the one returning most punts as he has for the last 2 years effectively. The only thing that might make me wrong on this is if Jay Ajayi is brought in for kick returns speaking of Ajayi did you know in the weight room he is putting up Doug Martin numbers? do you even know who he is?Lastly what one has to ask them selves is this which team does this 2012 team most reflect the 12-1 (bowl loss to TCU ) 08 team or the 2009 team. I understand the urge to compare this team to 2007 but that would be hugely wrong as the 2007 didn’t have nearly the depth nor experiences this team has. As for your 9-3 I’d like to know where you get the 3 losses? certainly I will grant you MSU is the most difficult on the schedule, but MSU has never fared well against strong competition to open the season in fact every time MSU has opened against a power team in the last 2 decades they have lost, where as in these last four years Boise State has been up to the challenge. Boise States last loss to a BCS school was 07 and before that 05 to Georgia, but much has changed since then from the quality to the recruit Boise State has chosen to the experience and level of inter squad competition. What it really comes down to is this do you see Boise State as rebuilding if so 9-3 makes sense or do you see them as reloading which if it’s the latter the sky is the limit.

  5. I think Boise St is still without question the best team in the Mountain West, despite losing their starting quarterback, running back, leading receiver & tight end, and two all-conference linemen. that is a lot to replace, and I just see the Broncos taking a step back this season. Would I be shocked if they ran the table and went to a BCS game? No, I wouldn’t. I never count out Peterson. However, I think they lose at Michigan St despite the trends you mentioned. I also think the lose a narrow game at a very tough Southern Miss team having to travel across country. I also think they lose at either Nevada or Hawaii, two tough places to play. I feel Boise is better than all of those last 3 teams I mentioned but funny things happen in college football. I could be wrong, It certainly won’t be the last time that happens.

    And yes, I know who Doug Martin is. I watched nearly every every Boise St game last season, because I root for UNLV and watch all the Mountain West games I can.

    It is always nice to hear from passionate Boise St fans. I hope you guys do well.

  6. Its funny how fans, under dog lovers and the media hype themselves and others up about Boise State who has never played a serious contender week in and week out, to honest believe they can contend for a national title, sure they beat Georgia which was a fluke, and they have beaten some good teams in the past but they have never proven themselves as a true football contender for a national championship. The Big East is not a great football league but they are certainly much much better than the weak weak weak Mountain West! Boise State will not win as many games in the BE as they have in the weak, weak, weak MW. The will now have to play much better teams week after week and prove that they are as good as the media hypes them up be. I believe reality will eventually set in when they wish they would have stayed in the Mountain WEAK! Really?

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