Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Midseason report: Boise State
By Andrea Adelson
BOISE STATE BRONCOS
Record: 5-0, (0-0, MWC)
The Broncos opened the season with a critical test against Georgia in the Georgia Dome, yet another nonconference game on the road that would test its mettle. Boise State easily passed the test, winning 35-21 and in the process taking down an SEC team for the first time in school history. Kellen Moore carved up the Georgia secondary, and the underrated Boise State defensive front had six sacks and never really let the Bulldogs find much of a rhythm. That win looks better and better, now that Georgia has a real shot at winning the SEC East after shaking off an 0-2 start. Boise State has cruised in its other four games and is ranked No. 5 in the latest AP poll, leaving many to question its credentials once again. Certainly the Broncos are in a tougher conference this season now that they are a member of the Mountain West. But their critics always like to point out that Boise State only plays a few tough games a year. The strength of schedule might bear some of that out, but there is no disputing this is another solid team playing in Boise. Kellen Moore tweaked his knee early in the season and has had to play with a brace on, but is still as good as always even without his top two playmakers in Austin Pettis and Titus Young. The Broncos do not have much of a deep threat without them, but Moore is finding ways for his teammates to make plays. Still, there are a few areas of concern as Boise State hits conference play. The running game has been inconsistent. Coach Chris Petersen would like to see bigger plays in the pass game. Defensively, Boise State ranks No. 12 in the nation. But its pass rush is not up to its usual standards. After getting six sacks in the opener, the Broncos have a combined three in their last four games. Having said all that, Boise State has scored 30 or more points in all its games this season and has made winning look easy. Tests remain on the schedule, with games against Air Force, TCU and San Diego State chief among them. But Boise State should be poised once again to get into the BCS.
Offensive MVP: QB Kellen Moore. He remains in Heisman contention, with 1,391 yards passing and 17 touchdowns this season, but Moore has only played in one complete game this season. Still, his completion percentage is 74 percent, on pace for a career high, and he has only been sacked once.
Defensive MVP: DE Shea McClellin. McClellin ranks third on the team with 21 tackles and leads the way with 3.5 sacks. His experience and leadership have been big for a defense that had to replace several starters in the back end.