Pac-12: Luke Austin
July, 3, 2013
By Kevin Gemmell | ESPN.com
We continue our series taking a closer look at each Pac-12 team's nonconference schedule.
Boise State, Aug. 31
Boise State, Aug. 31
- Coach: Chris Petersen (84-8), eighth year
- 2012 record: 11-2, 7-1 Mountain West
- Returning starters: five offense, four defense
- Offensive headliner: Quarterback Joe Southwick returns after completing 66.8 percent of his throws last year with 19 touchdowns to seven interceptions. He threw for 2,730 yards and averaged 210 per game.
- Defensive headliner: Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence earned first-team all-league honors after posting a team-high 13 tackles for a loss and 9.5 sacks to go with 48 tackles.
- The skinny: The Broncos will probably start the year ranked -- and they've earned that right. They have consistently been a Top 25 program and the elite team among non-BCS conference schools. They've gone 5-0 against the league's teams (including Utah in the 2010 Las Vegas Bowl, prior to the Utes joining the conference) since 2008. Their last loss to a Pac-12 team was at Washington in 2007. And in case anyone needs reminding, this is a rematch of last year's Las Vegas Bowl, which the Broncos won 28-26 on a late field goal.
- Coach: Tim Beckman (2-10), second year
- 2012 record: 2-10, 0-8 Big Ten
- Returning starters: eight offense, four defense
- Offensive headliner: Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase returns as a four-year starter after an injury-plagued 2012. A high ankle sprain limited him for the majority of the season and as a result, he had just four touchdowns to eight interceptions with a 60.6 completion percentage in 10 games.
- Defensive headliner: Linebacker Jonathan Brown is an all-conference candidate after posting 59 tackles last year with 2.5 sacks and a team-high 9.5 tackles for a loss.
- The skinny: Much of what Illinois wants to do on offense revolves around Scheelhaase's ability to move. And with an ankle injury limiting him last season, the offense suffered, averaging a minuscule 16.7 points per game. With him healthy, and a lot of returning players around him on offense, expect Illinois to be improved in that department.
- Coach: Mike Kramer
- 2012 record: 1-10, 0-8 Big Sky
- Returning starters: eight offense, seven defense
- Offensive headliner: Justin Arias, a redshirt junior, moves into the starting quarterback role. He has two capable receivers to throw to in Cameron Richmond and Luke Austin, who combined for 1,405 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.
- Defensive headliner: Sophomore defensive back Taison Manu was a freshman All-American last season after posting 77 tackles (tied for second on the team) an d4.5 tackles for a loss.
- The skinny: Give the Bengals credit. They've scheduled two FBS teams every year since 2008, including the likes of ASU, Oklahoma, Georgia, Nebraska and BYU. This season they go to Washington and again at Provo, Utah. Granted, they've lost all those games, usually by a wide margin, but they at least aren't afraid to be ambitious in their scheduling. Last year they set a conference record for most passing attempts and completions. Though they allowed almost 54 points per game in 2012.