No Mulligans.

BSU does not get mulligans for early season losses like other teams (Michigan?)...but they've rebounded nicely from their letdown in Seattle to win 6 straight. The tough stretch of Nevada, La Tech and Fresno...all on short weeks, is now over and the Broncos have finally clawed their way back into the top 25.

The Broncos are #21 in the AP and #22 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll. More importantly, the Broncos are at #22 in the BCS rankings and with continued winning, a little help and a November 23rd beatdown of Hawaii could possibly find themselves back in a BCS bowl (hey, if Notre Dame could do it last year, why can't we?)


Got Milk?

BSU got their mojo back—and they picked a perfect night. Friday night on ESPN2, BSU answered two big questions that had been swirling around the program for two weeks; the first one? Where the heck is our defense? The answer, on Friday, was: RIGHT where we left it, with Marty Tadman, Jeron Johnson (back after a 3-game absence) Kyle Gingg, Ryan Winterswyk and the rest of the crew—BSU's defense played phenomenal football for 3 quarters, putting big hits on Fresno QB Brandstater and shutting down the potent Bulldog run game. The second big question? Can two freshman running backs really move the ball on Fresno with Ian johnson out? The answer to this was a resounding "YES". Redshirt freshman Jeremy Avery and True Freshman DJ Harper exploded against Fresno and combined for over 200 yards in the first half of the game. DJ Harper had a breakout night, and possibly a pivotal night in his development as a Bronco; rushing for over 150 yards and a clutch TD run where he fought off multiple tackles and dove into the endzone. Avery looked smooth as silk as he made quick cuts, juked defenders and followed his blocks masterfully, en route to a 125 yard game and 3 TDs.

The Bulldogs came out quickly, matching BSU's first TD and then taking an early lead as Clifton Smith raced to the endzone after fielding a BSU punt. DJ Harper's TD knotted the game up at 14 and then a huge field-goal block by Orlando Scandrick and crew put the Broncos in position to kick their own—leaving the score 17-14 at the half.

The Dawgs have been known this year for huge second-half efforts, so the Broncos needed to stay focused and make the necessary adjustments—they did. BSU, behind terrific efforts by Avery and freshman kicker Kyle Brotzman, were able to outscore Fresno 17-7 in the second half—sealing a 34-21 win, keeping pace with WAC first-place team Hawaii, and winning their 6th game in 7 tries against the Bulldogs.

The stat of the game? BSU's defense held Fresno to 1 of 13 on 3rd down conversions. An amazing stat for a Bronco defense that had struggled mightily in their previous two WAC contests. Jason Robinson's interception on 4th and long was the night's only turnover and clinched the night for Boise. All told, BSU beat Fresno at their own game—they ran the ball down their throats. BSU outgained Fresno 282-89 on the ground and 440-352 in total yards. Taylor Tharp looked efficient and managed the game well for Boise State as the passing game never really took off, Austin Pettis made a clutch diving catch on 3rd and long to keep one Boise State scoring drive alive, and Marty Tadmand and Dallas Dobbs both contributed 9 tackles on the defensive side of the ball.

Fresno is a talented and, like the Broncos, young team and I was impressed with the following players: Marlon Moore, AJ Jefferson, Bear Pascoe, and Clifton Smith. With these youngsters and Pat Hill's tutelage—Fresno should be a force to be reckoned with in the WAC in coming years (alongside BSU, of course)

All in all, a very solid, hard fought victory for the Broncos who return home for San Jose State on Saturday. With the defense seemingly righting their ship, I expect pretty smooth sailing through November until the epic showdown with Hawaii (who is 8-0, but hasn't played anyone with a pulse yet).

The Milk Can stays in Boise for one more year.


Buckle Up.

It's BAAAACK. I'm not talking about poltergeist or other general spookiness that occurs late in October. I am talking about the annual Fresno State/Boise State skirmish. I know, I know...BSU has the upperhand in this series winning 5 out of the last 6 meetings, but last time Boise State went to Fresno in '05 they got handed a 27-7 beating at the hands of the Dawgs. In '05, the stakes were the same—retention of first place in the WAC and an inside track to win the WAC crown. After winning 5-straight WAC titles...the Broncos will be conceding nothing on Friday night. The Bulldogs look focused and ready for the challenge this year and a raucous crowd and a very good ground game has Fresno licking their chops for this matchup. Add in the fact that Boise State's run defense has been terrible the last two games and the fact that Ian Johnson is out with an injury and Vinny Perretta is done for the year and Fresno should have a lot of determination and confidence heading into this ballgame.

Pat Hill seems to get his teams up for the "big" games—and so far this year...none seems bigger than this one. Of course, Chris Petersen is no slouch either compiling a 19-1 record since taking the reins at BSU and he should have the Broncos ready to go. A lot of people are anticipating a barn-burner in Fresno, but I can't help but think this one won't be THAT close either way. Obviously, Fresno's strength is running the ball and they will indeed run—whether or not BSU can stop that assault remains to be seen. Through the first 5 games, Boise State really gave up nothing on the ground...but have been toasted in the last two games—which makes this game all the more intriguing. If BSU can find their prior form (helped by the possible return of Safety Jeron Johnson), Fresno will have a hard time putting up points...if not, obviously, all bets are off.

BSU, although missing Ian Johnson for the second straight week, can run the ball too. In fact the Broncos average more rushing yards per game than the Dawgs by about 1 yard...so this would appear to be a pretty even matchup, but the absence of Ian Johnson will tilt the run-game favor to Fresno State with their fine RB tandem of Ryan Matthews and Lonyae Miller. Miller may be absent on Friday as well, but I wouldn't count on it—and though Jeremy Avery is a very good sub for Johnson (gaining over 150 all-purpose yards last week)...Matthews is a bit more sturdy and most likely better able to carry the full load if depth is thin for the Bulldogs.

The passing game favors Boise State as Taylor Tharp has been on fire of late. Helped by Jeremy Childs and Titus Young...the Broncos are a very real threat to go deep at any given time. Fresno's Brandstater is an able field-general, but is not going to light up the scoreboard...so if BSU can shut down the rungame and force Brandstater to throw—the Broncos will have an advantage as the Bulldog team doesn't seem tailored to throw that much. BSU's secondary—although tested lately, have the ability to shut down the passing game, so passing yards will be tough to come by for Fresno, unless, of course they can strongly establish the ground game to open up the passing lanes. At any rate, if Boise State can get up big by halftime—and force Fresno to alter their offensive gameplan...the Broncos could roll.

Boise State has the edge right now on total offense...but after setback games by the Bronco's defense against Nevada and La Tech...I will give the defensive edge to the Dawgs. Special Teams are pretty even, with the Broncos and Bulldogs having big-time kick returners. The coaching edge has to go to reigning Coach of the Year Chris Petersen and crew...although Pat Hill and his staff know how to win. The intangible edge in this matchup has to go to Fresno, playing at home in front of a crowd that wants Bronco blood. The Broncos better be dialed in on offense, because I have a feeling it is going to get loud in the Valley. The Broncos need to wrap up and tackle wel (something they lacked in the '05 game—and the last two conference games) or the Dogs will get rolling and feed off the stadium's energy. Hopefully Bronco Nation will show up in force and let the Broncos know we're behind them here in Boise.

IF Boise sticks to their offensive gameplan and shows more fire on the D-line and LB corps...I think that Boise State wins this one 40-27.

As usual, that's a big IF, as the Broncos aren't really the same team on the road. Plus, we all know that anything can happen in a rivalry game (yes, I said 'rivalry') so my bizarro, Fresno-does-everything-right-like-in-2005 prediction is Fresno 35, Boise State 21.

That should pretty much cover all the bases, right?


Not going to do it.

Having my confidence in our strong defense shaken to the core...and being convinced that I somehow jinxed our team by last week's bold statements about the Nevada game—I have decided not to really voice my predictions about the outcome of this week's matchup against La Tech. Until I see with my own eyes that last Sunday's epicly crappy defensive performance was an anomaly...I am not prepared to make any declarations about what we "should" or "shouldn't" do this weekend in Ruston. How about I just regurgitate the info that anyone can find on ESPN or other analyst websites?

La Tech always seems to be a tough game for the Broncos in Ruston, LA...that is for sure. Since 2001 (when La Tech last beat the Broncos—in Ruston, no less), the average point spread in the BSU/La Tech game is 26 points more when the Broncos face La Tech at home than when they face them in Ruston. This alone should be cause for a little worry about this upcoming game. The bright side? Boise State's defense was embarassed on Sunday and will be eager to show that the UNR game was a fluke, couple that with the fact that Louisiana Tech's offense is not even close to as good as Nevada's and the worry subsides a bit. However, La Tech's defense, which was terrible last year—is much improved (also, recall that they took Hawaii to OT this year) and are not giving up much...so Boise State's offense needs to be on their game once again.

Here is the ESPN link for today's preview. Boise State should win this one...but the defense seriously needs to get back on track as Fresno awaits after this week and a we all know what a fired up Fresno team can do.

If the defense shows me something today. We'll be back to regularly scheduled posting.


One for the ages?

I decided not to blog the UNR/BSU game yesterday...as I, like other Bronco faithful was in a bit of a daze. Apart from being worn out physically...my vocal chords weren't feeling too swell. I'm sure that many a Bronco walked around Monday morning in a bit of a haze...wandering aimlessly...muttering "Kaepernick" softly under their breath. Well, today I feel more refreshed and am able to look back on Sunday night's crazy game with a little more insight.

First off, let me say that this was probably the greatest game ever on the blue—eclipsing the 2004 BYU squeaker and the 2005 Idaho game where BSU turned a 21-21 tie into a 70-35 beatdown in what seemed like 5 minutes. It was as exciting and nerve-wracking as they come...watching Boise State survive Nevada's mind-boggling offensive display in 4 OTs as LB Tim Brady sacked freshman QB Colin Kaepernick as the Wolf Pack tried to convert a two-point conversion (which, by rule they had to attempt). The Broncos and the Wolf Pack combined for almost 1300 yards of offense, and put up a final score of 69-67, which resembled a basketball score, and also, incidentally was the most points scored in a NCAA Division 1-A game since they started keeping track sometime in the '30s.

Secondly, let me say that it was the most PATHETIC display of defense by either team that I think I've ever seen. The conundrum here being that as memorable as the game was, I am sure both teams would rather forget it. The Broncos, who prior to this game had the 3rd ranked defense in the country and hadn't allowed a hundred yard rusher all year long—inexplicably gave up nearly 400 yards on the ground. 400!

Now, I won't take anything away from the Wolf Pack...they seemed to have largely outschemed us offensively and our D looked confused, sluggish and worn out all night. Maybe the Broncos were overly confident after last week's demolition of NMSU? Maybe the Broncos were not expecting a fight from the Wolf Pack after 7 straight years of domination? Who knows? All I know is that the Wolf Pack offense came to play this time around—and our defense did not. Fortunately for Bronco Nation...OUR offense decided to play—and the Nevada D took a cue from ours and decided to stay on the bus.

Tharp looked darn good once again throwing 4 TDs and only one pick. Ian continued his all-purpose attack, garnering WAC player of the week honors for his 205 rushing yards and 50+ receiving yards (and 3 TDs), and Jeremy Childs had another outstanding game. We even saw some old-skool Bronco trickeration in the form of a fake fieldgoald TD strike and the Bronco special teams came up with another big block, this time, a Nevada PAT. After the game, we learned that Vinny Perretta is out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury and Jeron Johson didn't start again because of a nagging hammy injury.

The only real analysis I have is that I HOPE sincerely that this defensive outing was a total anomaly, and that a hard week of practice and some refocusing will cure all ills. If the same defensive effort is put forth in coming weeks...I can honestly see BSU picking up 1 or 2 more losses. That said, as well as our offense is playing right now...any aforementioned losses would be by likely final scores of 50-45 or some such. Get cracking Broncos and look ahead to La Tech...while the rest of Bronco Nation breathes a sigh of relief at Sunday's slugfest.

Oh and by the way, nice game, Nevada. Respect has been regained and I am looking forward to the next few years of the rivalry. And big props to Bronco Nation for getting NOI-ZEE! Loudest I've ever heard Bronco Stadium at the end there.


No pistol...we've got Pete.

Outside of maybe the Idaho Vandals...no Bronco opponent has quite the same history and bad blood as the Nevada Wolf Pack. In the mid-90s, Nevada's coach Chris Ault famously said that if Boise State didn't improve the quality of its players...he saw no reason to continue the "rivalry". Well, Ault now looks like a prophet of sorts as the Broncos DID improve the quality of its players (and coaches, and recruiting, and facilities,etc, etc.) and the the rivalry has continued. The only slight wrinkle being that Boise State has absolutely OWNED the Wolf Pack as of late. 1998 was the last year that the Wolf Pack tasted victory against the Broncos...and since then its been ugly. Boise State has one the last 7 meetings in the series by an average of 38 pts. In fact, last year's BCS-clinching game in Reno was the closest the Pack has come to the Broncos in that span—they lost by 31.

As funny as Ault's past comments seem now...they are still the cause of much fan hatred between the schools—multiplied by the head coaching stint of Vandal "great" Chris Tormey. Ault has been much more complimentary as of late of the Bronco program, but you can see in his aging eyes that he dies a little inside each year the Broncos wipe the floor with this squad. Last year, as Boise State sat at 11-0 after storming their way through their schedule...some prognosticators still felt that the Broncos would be defeated by Nevada. Not so, obviously as the Broncos won 38-7...the Broncos always seem to get "up" for the UNR game...like no other (even Idaho). Maybe the history between the schools (BSU now leads 21-12 all-time) or the fact that the media always seems to think the Wolf Pack will beat the Broncos just gets under BSU's skin. Who knows, maybe it is the fact that the Broncos had to share the title with Nevada in 2005 after beating them 48-14 on the blue. Maybe it's just the fact that the "pistol" seems to backfire against the Broncos?

This year, unfortunately for Nevada, won't be any different. Nevada is coming off a tough home loss to Fresno State and the Broncos our coming off a 58-point shutout of New Mexico State. Nevada's rushing defense is ranked 119th in the country, while Boise State's is ranked 4th. Nevada's total defense is ranked somewhere around 100th and Boise State is 3rd. Now, Nevada does have a pretty good offense, ranking 10th in total yards...but BSU is not far behind at 15th and really...do the Broncos need to put up a lot of yards when our defense has been so prolific in shutting other schools down? UNR is also without their starting QB, Graziano after a freak foot injury ended his season last week. Redshirt freshman Colin Kaepernick will get the start against BSU, and looked pretty good against Fresno, but is probably too young and inexperienced to be thrust into a tough game against an amazingly stout D and expected to do much damage. Kaepernick is supposed to be pretty fleet of foot too, but if he gets too happy with his feet...I fully expect him to run right into Nick Schlekway or Mike T Williams...that will probably slow him down a bit for the night. Also, look for the Broncos to put pressure on the young QB and force him into some errors...namely picks for our stellar DBs.

I don't want to seem like I am giving the Wolf Pack no respect...but given the recent history and the matchups that this game poses—I see this one getting out of hand...yet again. Look for the outstanding trio of Ian Johnson, Jeremy "don't call me 'peanut'" Avery and DJ Harper to get yards in bunches and feast on the porous Nevada run D all night. Also, look for Titus Young to have at least one more 50 yard reception as he seems to be always open when Tharp looks deep. Lastly, look for our secondary to have at least 2 INTs and for Marty Tadman to light someone up.

Boise State 47, UNR 13


Sunday, Bloody Sunday.

"Mumme needs bandages". That was what Marty Tadman proposed as the headline of today's Idaho Statesman...instead the geniuses at the Statesman went with "Mumme-fied". That headline makes it seem like Mumme was the victor...but regardless of what lame pun headlines ran today, the message was clear: The New Mexico State Aggies got absolutely destroyed last night on national TV and Hal Mumme was to blame.

Did Mumme provide particularly poor coaching? Not really. What Mumme did to bring this beatdown upon his hapless Aggies was done about 1 year ago exactly. After Boise State's 40-28 win over NMSU last year, Mumme declared loud and proud whereever he went that Boise State was not the best team in the WAC (despite beating every team in the WAC and compiling an undefeated record), then added another insult by being one of the WAC coaches to vote June Jones as coach of the year. Of course it probably didn't help that last year NMSU torched our secondary for over 500 yards leaving them frustrated and embarrassed...despite the win. It also didn't help the Aggies much that on top of all the bulletin board material and bad memories from last year...their starting QB, Chase Holbrook was not 100%. Regardless of the reasons, however, the Broncos put together one heck of a game last night, beating the Aggies 58-0 and holding the nation's 7th ranked offense to only 89 yards of offense (-19 yards rushing) while themselves dropping over 600 yards on the Aggies.

Taylor Tharp was 19 of 26 and threw 4 TDs, the first time a Bronco QB has tossed 4 TDs in a game since Ryan Dinwiddie in 2003. Tharp found Jeremy Childs for two scores, Titus Young for another long-bomb TD and a wide-open Ryan Putnam for his fourth. Childs finished the night with 3 TDs and over 100 yards receiving while Ian Johnson continued his all-purpose yardage crusade as he ran for 85 yards and a score and collected another 73 yards receiving. Despite making several high tosses, Tharp's WR's bailed him out time and again making leaping, and sometimes one-handed grabs.

To say the defense dominated the Aggies would be a slight understatement. The Broncos completely shut down Holbrook (who left after the first quarter) and his backup J.J. McDermott while recording 3 INTs (Tadman, Scandrick, and Wilson). The Aggie running game was absolutely non-existent as they ended the night with negative rushing numbers thanks to several TFLs and a few sacks. Joe Bozikovich planted Aggie QB Chase Holbrook on the turf on the same play that Marty Tadman annihilated an Aggie receiver along the sidelines setting the tempo for a hard-hitting and impressive defensive performance. The Broncos allowed the lowest yardage total by a D 1-A school ever.

The scariest thing about last night's game? The Broncos could've scored 70+ on the Aggies...a goal-line stand after a Kyle Wilson pick (helped by a poor Tharp decision on an option play) stopped one Bronco score and another 25 yard TD by Johnson was called back on a hold. Oh yeah, and the Broncos missed an extra point.

Now that the offense and defense seem to be humming...the Broncos may take to the rest of their WAC schedule like a buzzsaw. The Nevada Wolf_space_pack are heading into town next Sunday and haven't come within 30 points of the Broncos in the last 7 seasons. I would expect another big win this Sunday...unless, of course UNR's coach Chris Ault decides to run his mouth about the Broncos...then it may be another bloodbath.


Don't forget to bring a towel...

If you plan on tuning into the Boise State v. New Mexico State contest on Sunday night...you are in for a rare treat. Last year in Las Cruces, ESPN graced us with no less than 25 shots of New Mexico State's coach, Hal Mumme, wiping his nose on his towel, blowing his nose on his towel, and wiping his hands through his lustrous hair. All of those who felt a bit queasy after watching Mumme's display, felt even more queasy when the Broncos, after going up 21-0 in the first quarter, allowed the Aggies to make it a relatively close game behind 526 passing yards from NMSU's tooth-challenged QB, Chase Holbrook. 526!

WIth the memory of getting torched last year in Las Cruces (the Broncos did win that game, let's not forget), the Bronco secondary should come fired up and ready to play on Sunday. Bronco Nation definitely is motivated to give Hal Mumme the business after his disgusting display in NM and his outspoken assertions last year that BSU was not the best team in the WAC. Channeling the Chris Tormey days at Nevada, I would not be surprised to hear Bronco Stadium break out in a chorus of "MUUUUU-MEEEEE".

The Aggies team that was one of the nation's worst in 2005 has turned their program around fairly quickly and at least compete week in and week out. I think that Mumme's "Air Raid" offense has the right guy at the helm in Chase Holbrook and they have some speedy receivers that can make opponents pay. The bottom line is that Boise State should NOT lose this game. They coasted last year after going up big on the Aggies and a sub-par defensive effort allowed the Aggies to make it interesting. If the Bronco defense gives up over 500 yards passing this year on the blue...they absolutely deserve to lose.

Ian Johnson, Jeremy "don't call me 'peanut'" Avery and DJ Harper should feast on this NMSU defense. Johnson seemed like he was running through Nerf tackling dummies last year in Las Cruces and I fully expect him to take off again this year in Boise. Running the ball will also speed up the game and keep the Aggie offense off the field. Last year the Aggies ran about 85 plays against the Broncos and about 75 were pass plays...our nickel and dime package defenders should factor in heavily in this one. I expect to see Rashaun Scott, Austin Smith and true frosh Brandyn Thompson rotating in throughout the night. Oh yeah, and not a knock on Orlando...but I would hope that it's Kyle Wilson that will be on WR Chris Williams' hip all night.

Orange and Blue-out version 2.0 is coming up on Sunday so check out broncosports.com to see what you're supposed to be wearing. Don't be a rebel, wear the right colors...IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK?! Oh, and if I catch anyone starting the wave when we're on O...I'm just gonna lose it Robb Akey-style.


More brilliant lookalike threads from Boise State and New Mexico State fans
NMSU lookalikes
Bronco lookalikes

BSU 42, NMSU 20
Holbrook <300 yards passing
NMSU rushing <80 yards

BSU rushing 250 yards
Defense with 3 INTS.

Are you writing these down?