Humanitarian Bowl: UTEP vs. Boise State

Mel Kiper's archive: reviews, notebooks

Wednesday, December 27

Hendricks, Broncos hard to stop

Humanitarian Bowl
Thursday, Dec. 28 (1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Boise State (9-2) vs. UTEP (8-3)

The Humanitarian Bowl will be a battle between two high-octane offenses capable of trading points the entire way.

Due to Boise State's success, head coach Dirk Koetter was able to garner the national attention necessary to move on to a more high-profile position at Arizona State. Fortunately for Koetter, he had a blue-chip collegiate signal-caller in senior Bart Hendricks to efficiently direct the offense. Hendricks is an experienced field general who has the knack for creating big plays whenever they are needed the most.

This season Boise State lost by just a touchdown on the road to both Arkansas (38-31) and Washington State (42-35). In addition, the Broncos posted 66 points in the final two regular-season games against Utah State and Idaho. There is no question the Broncos can score points, but on the negative side, they also showed an inability defensively to stop other teams.

That's why I would expect UTEP and its gritty veteran signal-caller, Rocky Perez, to exchange points with the Broncos. Available for Perez are several skill-position athletes capable of presenting major matchup problems for the suspect Boise State defense.

Junior wideout Lee Mays is a quality performer with the size (6-foot-3, 188 pounds) and body control to win jump-ball situations. In senior tight end Brian Natkin, the Miners have a sure-handed 6-3, 240-pounder who proved to be a vital target for Perez throughout the season.

Boise State has the home-field edge, and I also have been very impressed with Hendricks and his ability to frustrate a defense. That's why it will be up to the Miners offense to keep up with the Broncos' attack.

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