Preview 2017: Boise State Broncos

Preview 2017: Boise State Broncos

Teams & Conferences

Preview 2017: Boise State Broncos

Preview 2017: Boise State Broncos


Previewing and looking ahead at the Boise State Broncos season – and what you need to know.


Contact @PeteFiutak

2017 Boise State Preview: Can It Be The Standard Again?
2017 Boise State Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
– Boise State Previews: 2016 | 2015

What You Need To Know About The Boise State Offense

The stats were great, but they were a bit misleading. The Broncos finished 15th in the nation in passing, 21st in total offense, and averaged close to 34 points per game, but it was like pulling teeth to put games away.

Star back Jeremy McNichols left early, and now it’s up to Alexander Mattison – who’s coming off a shoulder problem – to lead a relatively untested group of runners who have to replace the lost all-around production.

QB Brett Rypien is back after earning First Team All-Mountain West honors, and Kansas transfer Montell Cozart is a nice backup, but they’re missing three of last year’s top receiving weapons. Fortunately, Cedrick Wilson might be the league’s most dangerous receiver, and the tight end situation is terrific.

The line will be okay – Boise State reloads up front – but it’s easily the biggest concern on offense. Just two starters are back with a young group battling it out for positions.

Biggest Key To The Boise State Offense

The passing game has to come up with scores. Cranking up the yards wasn’t a problem for Rypien, but as a team, when the scoring passes weren’t coming, the team had issues putting games away.

Boise State was 7-0 last season when throwing two touchdown passes or more, and while it won three games when not throwing multiple scoring passes, three three losses came when the touchdown passes did’t come. Rypien threw for over 300 yards in all three losses, but threw just one touchdown pass in each one.

What You Need To Know About The Boise State Defense

The big plays and turnovers didn’t come – more on that in a moment – but overall, the defense was okay. Not great, but okay.

This season, three of the top four tacklers return, but there are just enough key losses to sting a bit, having to replace four all-stars. Making matters worse, the depth is lacking a bit after likely starter Joe Martarano left to play baseball.

The line doesn’t have a ton of size, but there should be a good-enough rotation at tackle, while hoping for more pass rushing production from the outside after a mediocre year.

The JUCO ranks should help a secondary that loses some key parts at corner, but the safety situation should be terrific despite the loss of Chanceller James.

Biggest Key To The Boise State Defense

The defense has to start taking the ball away. In 2015, the Broncos managed to come up with 31 takeaways with 22 picks. They forced 31 turnovers in 2014, too, 27 in 2013, and 36 in 2012. Last season, Boise State came up with nine takeaways.

Nine.

Boise State came away with a pathetic two fumble recoveries and force more than one turnover just once – in the blowout win over Hawaii, coming up with two.

Boise State Will Be Far Better If …

The Broncos can close better. Getting out to hot starts wasn’t a problem, outscoring opponents 277 to 131 in the first half. But teams were able to rally back with 128 fourth quarter points – after scoring 175 in the first three. By comparison, the 2015 Broncos gave up just 68 fourth quarter points. They have to make things easier on themselves.

Best Boise State Offensive Player

QB Brett Rypien, Jr. Wyoming’s Josh Allen might be the league’s star, but Rypien has the passing talent to be every bit as effective, if not more.

The 6-2, 201-pounder came on as a freshman with a wonderful 3,350-yard, 20 score season, and last year he was even stronger, hitting 62% of his throws for 3,646 yards and 24 scores. Even better, he didn’t give up a slew of huge mistakes, throwing three picks in the win over Washington State, two in the win over BYU, and two in the loss to Baylor – and just one in the other nine games.

While he’s not going to run much, he’s mobile enough in the pocket to get by, and he’s accurate on the move. This year, his job will be to spread the ball around a little more to the new guys, but he’s the type who makes everyone better.

2. WR Cedrick Wilson, Sr.
3. RB Alexander Mattison, Soph.
4. C Mason Hampton, Sr.
5. TE Jake Roh, Sr.

Best Boise State Defensive Player

DT David Moa, Jr. – An undersized 6-3, 262-pound nose tackle, now he’ll be moved around a bit more to take advantage of his quickness and his pass rushing skills. He’s strong enough to hold his own against the run – making 30 tackles on the year – but he’s better when he has to get behind the line, generating 8.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss.

2. S Cameron Hartsfield, Sr.
3. LB/DE Jabril Frazier, Jr.
4. LB Blake Whitlock, Sr.
5. S Kekoa Nawahine, Soph.

Key Player To A Successful Season

RB Alexander Mattison, Soph. – All Jeremy McNichols did last season was run for 1,709 yards and 23 scores, and catches 37 passes for 474 yards and four scores. Mattison was the No. 2 back, but he only ran 67 times for 328 yards and four scores. No one else carried the ball more than 15 times.

The 5-11, 216-pound Mattison was out this season with a shoulder problem, but he’s built to be a workhorse – and the Broncos should use him as one. Very smart, very quick for his size, and with the skills to be a pounder, now he’ll get his chance to be the next great Boise State back.

The Boise State Season Will Be A Success If …

There’s a Mountain West championship at the end of the rainbow. It’s been two years now since the Broncos have been in the conference title game, much less win one. That’s not okay.

This team might not have the talent and makeup to make a push as a College Football Playoff sleeper like last year’s team looked to be before the season, but it’s Boise State. The bar is set at winning the Mountain West or bust.

Key Game To The Boise State Season

Nov. 11 at Colorado State – There are plenty of statement games to deal with – at Washington State, at BYU, at San Diego State, Wyoming – but this year, Colorado State has the talent and potential to be the rise-up Mountain star Air Force was two years ago and Wyoming became last year. It’s a road game that should, in some way, decide the division title. Boise State survived last year 28-23.

2016 Boise State Fun Stats

– Penalties: Opponents 99 for 801 yards – Boise State 56 for 491 yards
– Fumbles: Boise State 21 (lost 10) – Opponents 7 (lost 2)
– Onside Kicks: Opponents 3-for-7 – Boise State 0-for-1

2017 Boise State Preview: Can It Be The Standard Again?
2017 Boise State Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
– Boise State Previews: 2016 | 2015

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