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Boise State Enters 2011 with Something to Prove
2010 Record: (13-1, 7-1 in WAC)
Head Coach: Chris Petersen (61-5 at Boise State)
Last Bowl Game: 2010 Las Vegas Bowl: beat Utah 26-3
Final 2010/2011 AP Ranking: #9
Final 2010/2011 CFBZ Ranking: #11
9/16: at Toledo (2010 result: won 57-14)
9/24: Tulsa (2009 result: won 28-21)
10/1: Nevada (2010 result: lost 34-31 OT)
10/7: at Fresno State (2010 result: won 51-0)
10/15: at Colorado State
10/22: Air Force
11/5: at UNLV
11/12: TCU (2009 result: won 17-10)
11/19: at San Diego State
11/26: Wyoming (2010 result: won 51-6)
12/3: New Mexico
*at Georgia Dome
Early Game Previews:
2010 Offensive Statistics:
Scoring: 45.1 ppg (1st in WAC, 2nd in Nation)
Rushing Yds/Game: 200.23 yds/game (2nd in WAC, 21st in Nation)
Passing Yds/Game: 321.1 yds/game (2nd in WAC, 6th in Nation)
Total Yds/Game: 521.3 yds/game (1st in WAC, 2nd in Nation)
2010 Defensive Statistics:
Scoring: 12.8 ppg (1st in WAC, 2nd in Nation)
Rushing Yds/Game: 103.77 yds/game (1st in WAC, 7th in Nation)
Passing Yds/Game: 150.9 yds/game (1st in WAC, 4th in Nation)
Total Yds/Game: 254.7 yds/game (1st in WAC, 2nd in Nation)
2010 Misc Stats:
Turnover Margin: +0.62 per game (2nd in WAC, 22nd in Nation)
Penalties: 54.7 yds/game (5th in WAC, 71st in Nation)
Top Returning Statistical Leaders:
Passing: QB Kellen Moore, Sr (273 of 383 for 3845 yds, 35 TD, 6 INT)
Rushing: RB Doug Martin, Sr (201 for 1260, 6.2 ypc, 12 TD)
Receiving: WR Tyler Shoemaker, Sr (32 rec for 582 yds, 18.1 ypc, 5 TD)
Tackles: LB J.C. Percy, Jr (65)
Sacks: DE Chea McClellin, Sr (8.5)
Interceptions: LB Aaron Tevis, Sr; S George Iloka, Sr (2)
Athlon Sports: Fiesta Bowl (vs Texas A&M)
Phil Steele: Fiesta Bowl (vs Notre Dame)
Boise State won 24 straight games from the start of the 2009 season until their overtime defeat to Nevada on November 26th of the 2010 season. During that 24 game win streak the Broncos played just four teams that were ranked in the Top 25 due to them playing in the WAC. If you take out those four games against ranked opponents the combined winning percentage of the Broncos foes during that 24 game win streak was just 41%.
The debate around Boise State has always been how they would perform if they played in a tougher conference that gave them more of a challenge week-in and week-out than the WAC did. There is no doubt in my mind that Boise State can play with anybody in the country in a one-game scenario. They've proved that over the last few years with victories against Oregon, TCU and Virginia Tech. This year the schedule does ramp up a bit in toughness as the Broncos enter the Mountain West Conference. This years opponents sported a 55% winning percentage last year (which is an increase from the 48% winning percentage that their opponents sported going into the 2010 season).
Let's be honest, the 2010 schedule (outside of Virginia Tech, Oregon State and Nevada) didn't have much meat to it. The 2011 schedule looks just a tad bit tougher on paper. Boise keeps two of the best three teams from the WAC in Fresno State and Nevada. They replace Virginia Tech with Georgia. Virginia Tech was a better team than Georgia, but Georgia is a hungrier team than the Hokies team Boise faced last year.
The Broncos have a couple of mid-major games against Toledo and Tulsa that could be tough, but Boise blew out Toledo last year and Tulsa is in the middle of a coaching change despite having a very talented QB. The three games (outside of the opener at Georgia) that I think pose the biggest issues for the Broncos are Air Force, TCU and San Diego State. Luckily for the Broncos two of these games are at home.
The last time the Bronocs lost a home game was in a bowl game at Bronco Stadium when Matt Ryan led the Boston College Eagles to a six point win over a Dan Hawkins coached Boise State team. Boise has been that dominate over the last several years. That's why it was so crucial that the TCU game was moved to a home game this year. In my mind, Air Force and TCU have the best chance of beating Boise State outside of their opener and they get them both at home. Is this the year that Boise State finally gets caught at home? If I was a betting man my money would say no but you have to admit that having Tulsa, Nevada, Air Force and TCU come to Boise is a much tougher line-up from top to bottom then they've had in recent memory.
That being said, I think this year comes down to two games, the opener against Georgia and the November 12th meeting against TCU. TCU is a team that will get better as the season goes on and they should be peaking around the time they play Boise State. Being that they don't play in a power conference, all the Broncos can do is win and hope that other teams around the country slip up and give them a chance to play for the Crystal Ball when all is said and done. If Boise State can continue on the run they've had over the last several years, sooner or later they will get a chance to play for the big one. Will this be the year?
When we need information on the Boise State Broncos we always turn to the SB Nation Boise State based blog OBNUG. It's no different this year and they were kind enough to answer our most pressing questions about the 2011 version of the Boise State Broncos. Make sure you check out the re-cap they posted about the Broncos most recent scrimmage.
Besides the offensive backfield what position group do you feel will be the biggest strength for Boise State this year?
The defensive line will be Boise State's calling card this season. The Broncos have four all-conference-caliber players along the line, a pair of NFL-ready stars, and a depth chart loaded with experience and talent. I pity some of the offensive lines that have to face this bunch (including Boise State's in practice every day).
Austin Pettis and Titus Young have moved onto the NFL. In our exit survey from last year you mentioned a bunch of possible replacements. Who seems to have the inside track on the starting jobs?
Tyler Shoemaker - He will fill the Austin Pettis role as far as moving the chains and making important catches and generally being dependable. At least he better be since he's the receiver with the most returning experience. He had a tendency to disappear for long stretches last season, but with a bigger role in the offense in 2011, hopefully that won't happen.
Geraldo Boldewijn - You may remember him from the spring as Geraldo Hiwat (kids and last names these days). He plays the Titus Young role and is the best game-changer the Broncos have at wideout this fall. He is mostly unproven save for a few spectacular scrimmages, so Bronco fans don't really know what we're getting. He's fast, has a good frame, knows how to position his body, and he may just end up leading the team in receiving by the end of the year.
Kirby Moore - Chris Potter - Most fans want Kellen's brother Kirby to get the slot receiver spot, but Potter seems to have the lead heading into Fall Camp. Potter has the all-around game - blocking, catching, passing, reversing. Moore has the prolific receiving game (he was a high school record holder).
Who are some under the radar guys that we should keep an eye on this year?
TE Gabe Linehan - He'll be playing the backup to starter Kyle Efaw, but Linehan flashed some promise last year in a receiving role.
FB Dan Paul - The man is a wrecking ball, but it will be interesting to see how the Broncos use him outside of the run game.
CB Jamar Taylor - He's Boise State's No. 1 corner, but you wouldn't know it from the lack of press he gets.
In our exit survey you discussed the importance of the season opener against Georgia. Where do you see the Broncos having the match-up advantages?
The Broncos defensive line should match up well against Georgia's offensive line, especially with the recent spate of Bulldog drama at the position. Generally, I think the Bronco defense is set up well against the Georgia offense. BSU may be able to take away the run with its front six or seven and let the secondary hang back and take away passing options for Aaron Murray. I would expect Georgia's defense to have some early success against Boise State's offense (size advantage on the line, first game of the season, etc.), but as the game goes on, that matchup should even out.
Outside of TCU and Georgia, which games do you see as being the most important for Boise State this year?
The Air Force game will be a big one, especially if the Falcons knock off the Horned Frogs early in the year. That game could be for the Mountain West title, in that case. The Tulsa game will be a good out-of-conference test and a chance for BSU to show some separation between itself and the other top non-BCS teams.
What is your gut feeling on the final record for the 2011 season and what makes the season successful in your eyes?
I think a 12-0 season is a very real possibility for the Broncos. Boise State should be favored in every game, so I don't think I'm being too much of a homer predicting a perfect record. As far as success goes, I would feel a little disappointed if this team didn't make it back to a BCS bowl. Winning the Mountain West would be great, but after a year away from the BCS, it sure would be good to get back.
CFBZ Top 25
#9 Boise State Broncos
2011 Team Previews