The Bronco's rose to the occasion Saturday night by demolishing the near-ranked Hawai'i Warriors. Big thanks to Crissie and Mr. Crissie for putting together another good tailgate.Thanks to all the NUGies for making it out. I am hatemay, and these are my game thoughts.
Quarterback- Kellen Moore looked his usual self. My thoughts the first two series were, "this is easy, he makes this looks so easy." At one point he completed 19 consecutive passes. Moore completed passes to 8 different Bronco receivers and exposed the Warrior defense for numerous passes over the middle to Tyler Shoemaker and Austin Pettis. Moore ran the no-huddle offense with complete control. Moore completed just over 80 percent of his passes. Wow.
Running backs- Jeremy Avery had his best game of the year. That came at a good time considering Doug Martin didn't have his best game. Despite Doug's numbers being down he was effective. Avery looked impressive with his running abilities. The backfield combined for 230 yards. Not much more can be said.
Wide Receivers- It was evident from the very start that Hawai'i thought they were going to shut down Pettis and Young. What they forgot about is that we have other receivers that can do damage. Moore spotted this early and got the ball to Tyler Shoemaker for big gains up the middle. As the game continued things opened up for Pettis and Young to do their fair share of damage. Only one dropped pass, so that is an improvement from last week. Geraldo Hiwatt is beginning to get me excited to see him play when he is aexpected to make more of a contribution. Hiwatt showed speed and good concentration as he blew past his defender and made a good diving catch. Our receeiving corps is great. Not to mention, Kyle Efaw and Gabe Linehan getting good touches.
Offensive line- Farji Wirght seemed to do well in his replacement of Joe Kellogg. No sack, more than 200 yards rushing. I need not say more.
Defensive line- Dominant. Dominant. Dominant. Our big horses in the defensive trench were juggernauts to the Hawai'i offensive line. Even with the reserves of TAT, Nisby, Root, and Crawford, our line got pressure on Bryant Moniz all night long. From the very first play he was not comfortable. Even when we only rushed 3 and 4 he was harassed into quick throws, hurries and sacks. Our front line shifted allignment all night long which is a nightmare for quarterbacks to determine who is rushing and who is dropping back into coverage (I would know). Awesome job. Shea McClellin was all over the field and made his statement for all WAC defensive honors.
Linebackers- Awesome. They molested the slot recievers all night long. Not letting them run through our second level, and getting out to the flats quickly against the bubble screens of the warriors. Coach K had a good game plan against the Warriors. I lost sleep out of curiosity as to how he was planning on stopping Greg Salas and this high power offense. At times Winston Venable was man up on Salas with safety help over the top, at times it was Gavins with safety help, at times we moved Shea McClellin out to jam Salas with Gavins right behind. At times McClellin would line up to jam and instead blitz. This is what makes it so hard for opposing teams to scout what our defense will do, because we are going to throw something at them they haven't seen. Stopping the short routes and preventing the Hawai'i wide receivers from turning those into big plays is a key to stopping this pass happy offense. Tevis, Percy, The Hout, and Acrey had good efforts in the victory.
Secondary- Had its best game of the year. We did not have any interceptions but made pass break-ups, covered the receivers very tight, and made good tackles. Our defense as a whole swarmed to the ball and did not miss tackles. Jerrell Gavins played well in the hybrid spy/corner/nickel defender that was needed to stop the Hawai't pass offense. Jonathan Brown added a sack and good coverage in the same roll. This was a dominant defensive effort. Outside of last years victory of Pants-Action Patterson in the fiesta bowl, our defense played the best I have seen. The shifting, blitzing, the numerous allingments, the personnel we used, the tackling. and the big play by our front four was the formula to make a huge statement against a high powered offense. Props to Coach K and the defensive staff, and props to our Bronco's for rising to the occasion.
Special teams- It looks like we are getting our kick coverage straightened out. I know that there was a little too much penetration with one or two of the kicks, but at least it isn't similar to New Mexico State when they were returning it consistently to the 35 and 40 yard line. I saw something I never recall seeing in my 3 years as a dedicated, addicted Bronco junkie..... a two point fake from the set formation. Ran perfectly. Opposing teams don't know where to start when it comes to stopping our base offense, not to mention the gadgets we use. Good game Coach Choate.... and by the way, we didn't punt the ball.
Potpourri- Our fans showed up, our Bronco's showed up. The only person missing from the game, was.....you guessed it, Frank Stallone. The WAC replay officials had a hard time with the simplest of calls. I hope we hang 72 against Robb Akey's mustache and his sorry excuse of a team. Go Bronco's.