Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson
Boise State is consistently in the Top 25, and of late has been a staple in the top 10, but few people outside of its fan base really know anything about the team or many of its players. As the Broncos head into tonight’s pivotal game against Tulsa, here are a couple of facts to familiarize yourself with Boise State.
BOISE STATE BRONCOS
Record: 5-0, 1-0 WAC
Coach: Chris Petersen (40-4)
Offensive formation: Multiple
Defensive formation: Multiple
Signature: Blue home FieldTurf
Notable: Boise State has appeared in the AP poll for eight consecutive seasons. Its highest ranking during the regular season was reaching No. 5 this year. It’s highest ranking in the final AP poll is No. 5 in 2006.
NOTABLE OFFENSIVE PLAYERS
Kellen Moore, QB, So.
Moore is a cool character in the pocket. He’s not easily rattled and usually hangs in to make his throws. He’s also mobile, and has a knack for sensing and getting out of trouble. He’s completed 92 of 132 passes for 1,217 yards, 13 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Last season, he was named the WAC Freshman of the Year and was a Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association.
Petersen quotable: "Kellen is doing a nice job in managing our offense. He has been very accurate and doing a very nice job in finding the open receivers."
Austin Pettis, WR, Jr.
Pettis became the go-to receiver after three of the top four receivers from last season graduated. He’s stepped into the role nicely and provided leadership both on and off the field. He’s become Moore’s favorite target with 28 catches for 378 yards and six touchdowns. Pettis has had two 100-yard games and at least one touchdown in every game this season.
Petersen quotable: "Austin is the most sure-handed receiver we have had at Boise State in a long time. He continues to make the tough catches and he has become our go-to guy."
Jeremy Avery, RB, Jr.
Avery is the team’s leading rusher and primary back ever since co-starter D.J. Harper was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Avery has 71 carries for 441 yards, but just one touchdown this season. Doug Martin, who is filling in for Harper, has four touchdowns. Avery is a shifty back with great vision and breakaway speed, which makes him difficult to catch in the open field.
Petersen quotable: "Jeremy has done a good job in finding the creases and exploding through the line. We need him to continue to do that throughout the season."
NOTABLE DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
Kyle Wilson, CB, Sr.
Wilson is the team’s best player and star defender. He often draws the assignment of the opposing team’s best receiver and against Tulsa tonight that will probably be Damaris Johnson. Shockingly, Wilson has no interceptions after having five a year ago and he has no punt returns for touchdowns after having three last season. Much of this is because offenses have learned to throw and kick away from him to minimize his effectiveness.
Petersen quotable: "Kyle is the leader of our defense. He is playing very well and doing a nice job playing cornerback for us. In the kicking game [punt returns], he is making good decisions on his returns.”
Ryan Winterswyk, DE, Jr.
Winterswyk was an All-WAC first-teamer last season and led the team with 11.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. But his numbers haven’t been close to that this season. He still leads the team with three sacks and is second on the squad with five tackles for loss. Although the stats aren’t there midway through the season, Winterswyk is still one of the top leaders on the team.
Peterson quotable: "Ryan is the quiet leader. He leads by example, giving 100 percent in practice and in the game. While he may not have a lot of sacks, he is always around the quarterback.”