Can you deal with this?

Well guess what? Now this is happening...

The way I see it, Boise State can easily win in Hattiesburg on Saturday by doing just one thing: limiting big plays from Damion Fletcher. We all know that Damion Fletcher is one heck of a back, and despite being outplayed last year by Ian Johnson, will be a force at the Rock on Saturday. Last season, with a much more schizophrenic defense, the Broncos were able to contain Fletcher and hold him to minimal yardage (84 yards)...this year, with a physical defense that has risen to every challenge—I see Fletcher once again being held in check.

Now, I strongly suspect that Ian Johnson and crew will not "upstage" Fletcher again, but limiting Fletcher's effectiveness and not giving up "home run" types of plays is quite simply the key to this weekend's matchup. Lest you forget, the Golden Eagles are also starting a freshman QB, Austin Davis...who is playing admirably, but so far not close to the level he will need to play against the Broncos if the run element is stripped from the USM playbook. Davis is completing 60.1% of his passes and has thrown 9 TDs and 5 INTs...with a strong pass rush by the Bronco DEs I see his TD/INT ratio becoming much more balanced. The Bronco pass defense will have their hands full with DeAndre Brown, but I don't see Davis reeling off many to the mammoth wideout as pressure will be coming all night long. The Bronco defense, though missing Joe Bozikovich and Sean Bingham will just need to play within their zones and keep Fletcher out of the secondary and the game should go the Broncos' way.

On offense, the Broncos should be able to do as they please, quite frankly. The Golden Eagles are lacking a sufficient pass rush and the Bronco O-line has been remarkable with pass blocking. Honestly, Kellen Moore does not need as much time in the pocket as he will be given on Saturday...giving him more time to find Childs, Young, Pettis or Perretta (not to mention Efaw, Brockel, Gallarda, or Hawkins) could be absolutely disastrous for a Southern Miss team that is struggling with pass defense to begin with. USM's home field advantage will allow them to come up with some scoring opportunities, but I suspect, far less than the Broncos will receive. Whether or not the Bronco rushing attack takes off or not (USM hasn't been stellar against the run, either), look for the Broncos to score early and often. I see the runningback committee being utilized in the passing attack a lot this weekend as Southern Miss tends to overpursue with their ends allowing the runningbacks to find space in the flats.

It will be interesting to see what the Bronco coaches have planned for Doug "Doug Mad" Martin, as they have hinted that he will take an unconventional role in the offense on Saturday. Richie Brockel hinted that Martin may be utilized in more of a fullback role as Brockel slides into Chris O'neill's vacant spot. Martin, who is an excellent blocker, can provide lead blocking or simply carry the ball himself. We're giddy thinking about it. Martin will also be heavily utilized on special teams and we may see him return some kicks (with any luck).

The Golden Eagles are certainly no team to take lightly...but it seems the Broncos maintain their focus as good or better than any team in the country and I don't see Southern Miss simply has not encountered an offense of the caliber the Broncos are fielding. The scary part for both sides may be the fact that the Broncos haven't really fired on all cylinders, offensively speaking, for an entire game yet. A few 3-and-out offensive series by the Broncos will be the only thing to keep this one close, in my opinion...if they've ironed out the wrinkles, however...it's curtains for Southern Miss.

Boise State 42, Southern Miss 17

Last year's game highlight:

No comments: