I know its a bit late Bronco Nation. Between driving back from Vegas to Boise, then Boise to Washington, Christmas, and lots of eating, I am a bit tardy in my post-game analysis. I am Hatemay, here are my game thoughts.
Quarterback- Kellen Moore was his usual self against the Ute defense. The Utes mixed up their looks in the secondary and completely took away our deep threat passing attack. What did Moore do? He occasionally changed some plays at the line, and almost always hit his open receiver in the arms. Moore terrorized the not too shabby Ute secondary for 28 completions on 38 attempts 339 yards, and two touchdowns, whilst throwing one interception. For those of you aren't good at math (including myself) Moore completed 73 percent of his passes against a top 20 opponent. From the 2nd quarter on, Moore controlled the game with ease. Never afraid to take the sure completion to an underneath Shoemaker, Efaw, or Pettis.
Running Backs- Doug Martin thought it was best to deliver an early Christmas present to the Ute defense. That gift was pain. And lots of it. Martin had one, if not his best games all year. His 2nd quarter touchdown burst was the shot in the arm that the Broncos needed, and Utes wished we didn't get. Martin finished with 147 yards on 17 carries, and also added 1 catch for 15 yards. Martin refused to let the Ute defense bring him down, breaking tackles and using some of his elusive moves to give our offense the balance it needed. On many occasions Martin would be hit once, bounce off, shed a second would-be tackler, then be slowed just enough to allow the third and fourth Utes to grab on and gang tackle. Jeremy Avery had his moments, notching 55 yards on 12 carries. For those serious Bronco offensive buffs, Dan Paul got a carry, in what was the first designed full back carry I have seen since Kellen has been at the helm.
Wide Receivers- Yes, we had some drops. Austin Pettis had his way with the Ute secondary, making catch after catch in difficult situations. Pettis made a case for high draft status, catching 12 passes for 147 yards and one touchdown. The Utes had no answer for Pettis' size and experience. Shoemaker once again proved as a lethal "X Factor" receiver, much like the Hawai'i game. When teams focus so much on keeping Titus Young in front of them, they let Tyler Shoemaker run free over the deep middle part of the field. I will miss our senior receiving corps. Pettis talked the talk, and walked the walk. Young made corners and safeties look silly.
Offensive line. I recall seeing no sacks, but I missed our first possession and I haven't watched the replay yet. Our offense rushed for over 200 yards. That is impressive. Thanks for the memories Matt Slater and Will Lawrence. Good job over all big fellas.
Defensive line- Terrance Cain was accosted all night long. Cain was sacked 4 times, Billy Winn was responsible for at least 3 holding calls, he simply was not going to be denied in his hometown Wednesday night. Our whole two deep had a major contribution. Baker recoverd a fumble, Swyk added pressure and extra attention from the Ute 0-line, Winn caused problems with holding and pressure, Shea McClellin was occasionally sent into coverage, Nisby had a sack, while Root, Crawford, and Tjong-A-Tjoe gave steady pressure. Our defensive line was too much for the Utes.
Linebackers- Winston Venable's time at Boise was too short. He played his heart out, and went out on a strong note. He did not buy into Cain's moves in the open field en route to a big sack. Percy and Mackey were solid in coverage and run stopping. Solid performance from our line backers.
Secondary- Brandyn Thompson had one of the best games of his career. His coverage was tight, and he was in the right place at the right time to scoop up the fumble. Jamar Taylor was sent loose on many occasions and was responsible for causing a fumble on Terrance Cain. Taylor was ran out of the play by a lineman, but not giving up on the play he came back at Cain and forced the fumble. It is plays like that which fire up the team and impress the coaches. The coaches also put Taylor in the slot and Gavins at short side corner on 3rd and long plays. In the past it has been the other way around. Another way the Bronco coaching staff has a way of keeping the opposing teams on their toes. Iloka made some good open field tackles (whats new?) and Johnson reminded the Utes where he was from on a couple of occasions. I'm sure gonna miss saying "straight outta Compton when he makes plays.
Special teams- I remember seeing Chris Potter lined up on the punt formation and thinking "I don't remember seeing him on punt." Sure enough we threw a reverse pass with Mr. Potter to Kyle Brotzman. It was a pretty good game. We had a little too much yardage given up on kick off return, but, oh well.
Potpourri- DeVonte Christopher and Christian Cox should feel like the losers they are for making dumb @$$ comments. They are lucky that Coach Pete isn't the arrogant jack @$$ that other D-1 coaches are. Other coaches would would have run the score up and execute on-side kicks while up by 35 points, but not coach Pete. A few dropped passes, a few horrendous replay calls (I know, I am not gonna beat that dead horse), and we are up 38- 3. I was talking with a good friend after the game. And we came to the conclusion that replay in NCAA football is the most suspicious, and backwards thing. In the NFL, the head referee goes over to the hood and comes out with a decision, MLB umpires will gather together and talk about a play in question, weather it be a fair/ foul ball, fan interference, questionable home run etc etc, and NBA officials will gather around the monitor to determine if a shot left a players hand before shot clock/game clock expired, or if a players foot was on the line while attempting a 3 point shot etc etc. But in NCAA, it is buzzed down to the field, the head referee puts on a head set while an un-named, un-known man in a dark booth makes a call and simply tells the referee what to say. What assurance do we have the the replay official isn't on the phone to the Venetian or Monte Carlo or MGM Grand to their head bookie saying, " hey, if this call goes a certain way, how much money does your casino stand to lose if this happen?." Or does he call someone and say, "Hey, did you take care of that thing and set up the off-shore bank account?" We don't know. At least every other replay scheme is done right in front of the camera. No cell phone call, no IM chat with someone in Switzerland or in the Odds makers group. Or is the replay ref involved in betting on the game? It would not be the first time something like this happened, would not be the last. Call me a crack pot, call me a conspiracy theorist. I prefer to say that I am open to all possibilities. And I think during the game, the possibilities that a phone call was made to a casino bookie was inside the realm of possibility.
All in all. I had a great year. Rushing the field in Vegas was a blast. I know it is not what we expected. But we must understand that when ever our Broncos step onto the field, regardless of how good or bad an opponent, we have the chance to lose. We must understand that. We lost a game, and rebounded with two strong games. We should be proud of the Broncos. I met some great people this year. Crissie and Mr Crissie and their kids have become family, Traveling to Vegas with Muscle Hamster, Pimp, Knight, and Friar was a blast. Spay and Neuter, Munson, ihvaenofriendzz, the diggities, and many others are new friends of mine. Hope to see you all next year. I will continue to publish crass, sarcastic articles about off-season hub bub, and thing relative to college football. GO BRONCOS.