We all seem to agree that Kellen Moore is awesome. He was WAC freshman of the year in 2008; he led the Broncos to an undefeated regular season; he has his own fake Twitter account. He's sort of a big deal.
Exactly how big of a deal? That's what I'm hoping to discuss. Specifically, will Moore be able to break the 30-TD barrier this season? My sources say ...
Last year, Moore's numbers were stellar. He threw for nearly 3,500 yards, tossed 25 touchdowns, and had a passer rating north of 150. Also, he replaced Marty Tadman as the player most likely to elicit swooning at the mere mention of his name.
It makes sense to assume that Moore will only get better in his sophomore season. Ipso facto, 25 touchdowns should turn into 30.
The heart of the matter is where those extra five TD tosses will come from. Here is a look at Boise State's 2009 schedule with appropriate Kellen-Moore-TD data sprinkled in.
Not exactly a murderer's row.
Twenty of Moore's 25 touchdowns from last fall came against opponents he'll face this season. The only big loss from 2008 to 2009 was Southern Miss, against whom Moore tossed three TDs.
Still, over half of the 2009 opponents had pass defenses that ranked in the 100s, not including New Mexico State's vaunted "No. 2" pass defense. The potential is there for a very big season.
Yes, Kellen Moore will throw 30 or more touchdown passes
He has Titus Young this year. Young is a burner and a playmaker, and he can turn little bubble screens and long go routes into touchdowns (or fumbles; we'll see). The Broncos didn't really have a deep threat like Young last year. Vinny Perretta got free in opposing secondaries on occasion, but it's just not the same as Young breaking free from the pack.
He's due for a four-TD game. Moore's biggest TD output was three, against multiple opponents. You have to figure he'll get four in one game sooner or later. I'm going with sooner, like before the WAC schedule kicks in. If Moore doesn't get four by the time he's done facing Miami (OH), UC Davis, or Tulsa, then I'm going to owe someone a large sum of money.
He's bound to throw at least one touchdown versus Idaho. By some act of God, he did not do this last year. I believe it was out of benevolence. It also may have been out of apathy.
He's a year older, a year wiser, and has another year of game film under his belt. In other words, yikes.
Tulsa's on the schedule. As you can see from the above chart, Tulsa was awful on pass defense last year. Not Nevada awful, but awful nonetheless. If Moore doesn't throw any TDs against the Golden Hurricane this season, then it's only because Jeremy Avery rushed for four touchdowns on his first four carries and the game is essentially over.
No, Kellen Moore will not throw 30 or more touchdown passes
He won't play in garbage time. And, really, let's be honest. About half of the WAC schedule is garbage time.
He may lose touchdowns to the running game. Jeremy Avery has big play potential in the backfield, and he could put an end to a lot of drives with long TD runs. Obviously, Avery scoring more often (think Ian Johnson's 13 TD runs last year, plus a couple more) would preclude Moore from tossing TDs.
He might get upstaged by Michael Atkinson. The Baconator could see time as a short yardage or goalline back, in which case, automatic Canadian touchdown.
Maybe Kellen Moore will throw 30 or more touchdown passes. We'll see.
It remains to be seen how the Broncos handle goalline offense. Boise State is far from conventional, so when they get close to the end zone, it is not a foregone conclusion that they'll be ramming the ball down the defense's throat. Besides, Avery is small, D.J. Harper is not large, and Atkinson might not be used the way Bronco fans dream he will be. If it's play-action and shotgun sets on goal-to-go, then Moore could easily add a couple extra TDs. If it's pound away with 5'9" running backs, then not so much.
Bottom line: Kellen Moore will throw 30 or more touchdown passes ... because he has an extra game than last year.
The Broncos played 12 regular season contests in 2008; they have 13 on the schedule in 2009. Provided NMSU doesn't forfeit due to lack of hustle enthusiasm, Moore will have one extra game to add touchdowns to his season total.
Give him two extra TDs for the extra game.
Give him six more for games against Tulsa and UC Davis.
Throw in a touchdown or two against the Vandals as reparations for last year's TD shutout.
And keep Michael Atkinson out of the endzone.
If all of these things happen, Moore will throw for 30 or more TD passes. In fact, a better question might be whether or not he reaches 35.