Boise State got off to a bumpy start in their 40-15 victory Friday night in Toledo, Ohio. With the victory, Boise broke Toledo's un-defeated streak of 4-0 against non-conference BCS opponents on their own field.
This was one of the worst officiated games I have seen. Tyrone Crawford was held on every play. He was beating his man like a red headed Vandal, and the referrers turned a blind eye. I counted four times in the first half when Crawford was held, and the yellow handkerchiefs were no where to be found. Then there is the holding call that should have been made on Aaron Tevis' man on the screen play that scored Toledo's first touchdown. Add the call against the Bronco's that was for not enough men on the line of scrimmage when Mitch Burroughs took a reverse on the Wild Hamster. Kellen was flagged for not being on the line of scrimmage, making it 5 men in the backfield. Really ref? You mean to tell me that Kellen Moore doesn't know how to line up? This is a penalty we get quite often from all the formations we use. If the ref sees a trick play, he must immediately think that we did something illegal. Such as the time we ran a tackle eligible in Autzen Kellen's freshman year and got flagged for ineligible man down field. I hope the refs watch a game or two of each team before they referee our game. This would let them see and say between them selves, "okay boys, this team in blue has a tendency to run a strange formation, and we arent required to call a penalty just because the quarterback lines up at receiver. " But, I am not sure they do that much preparation.
Defense. Our defensive line wasn't as dominating as they should have been. Billy Winn and Shea McClellin were kept quite. I must give credit to Toledo, because they were pumped for this game, and were a little better than I expected. We need to get more pressure. And our defensive line needs to recognize the screen pass. It took till about the fifth successful screen pass for our guys to notice when it was coming, We should expect for teams to come at us with screens from here on out.
Line backers- had a decent game. I wished Coach K would have had more blitzes dialed up through the interior of the offense. We brought pressure from the outside but I wanted more. I think our Nickle back should give more help in the running game. Maybe they aren't noticing it soon enough or maybe getting decoyed down field.... I don't know.
Secondary- Good to have Febis back. Gavin's continues to play well. Jamar Taylor missed alot of tackles which is something he hasn't done. We were a bit slow getting over on a go route between our corner and safety which resulted in a field goal for Toledo before half. Good play in our secondary will result in coverage sacks and put inexperienced quarterbacks in a tense place... then they find Billy Winn on top of them.
Special Teams- Yeah we shanked some extra points, but it was clear as I was watching the game that Joe Southwick must put the laces out all the way. I counted two times when the laces were visibly in, and that doesn't help a kicker. That being said, we need to kick a stiknin extra point. This is something that 12 and 13 year olds are doing at the grid kids and middle school level... gotta get the extra point. And can someone tell me what in the heck is going on with kicking the ball out of bounds at the bloody 45 yard line????? Kick it out somewhere near the 20, or squib it or kick it high..... goodness. I do like that we are using different looks during our punt formation. That makes it hard for teams to scout personnel and find out who is on the field during a fake, because there are always different bodies on different formations.
Offense- We need to finish drives. We got the ball moving on the ground but then abandoned it early for the pass. For those who are a bit worried why we aren't running the ball for 175 yards every game, keep in mind Dan Paul is out with injury and is week to week. Dan is a one man wrecking crew and clears a big path for our ball carrier. We do not have another fullback on the roster, and have had to get by with Gabe Linehan coming into the backfield to do his best. Linehan is a a great player, but he isn't Dan Paul. With the exception of the Kellen Moore option on 3rd down, our play calling is good. We used the Wild Hamster successful, however the referees missed that call, and the touchdown to Efaw was a tackle eligible play. The defense did not see it coming. We got more vertical this game moved the ball in better chunks this game.
Quarterbacks- Kellen looked great. He was bitten by a case of the drops the first series. Our team calmed down and got into a groove. Once again he spread the ball to nine different receivers. There really isn't a receiver who commands a double team, so defenses will play a lot of zone, which will allow Kellen to find the receiver who has the size or speed advantage on through that part of the zone. Joe Southwick played well in mop up duty and credit to Brent Pease for running a high percentage play for Southwick when he came off the bench during Kellen's injury for a play. I think we will see most of our games resulting in 8-9 receivers getting touches and Kellen throwing for 375 + yards.
Running backs- Great game from the Muscle Hamster. He proved to be dominate via the receiving game. D.J. Harper gave great runs in the 2nd half, and Drew Wright gave great north/south running in mop up duty.
Wide Receivers- Except the drops in the first series they got into a good groove. Tyler Shoemaker had some great grabs through the defense, Kirby Moore showed great concentration on a catch in man to man coverage. Potter gave some good reps, and the rest of the crew was steady. Mitch Burroughs is settling in quite nicely, and may be our deep threat. He is doing well.
Offensive line- I would like to see a little bit better push for our running game. But Kellen was not sacked all night. That is something to be proud of. Like I said earlier, Dan Paul is a big part of our running game, and he is injured, so, lets hope for a speedy recovery.
Potpourri- I like the play calling of Coach Pease. He hasn't deviated from Boise State's bread and butter during the Petersen era. We opened things up a bit more this game with going down field more. How many of your want to strangle Joe Tessitore???? That guy gets on my nerves... he needs to get sent back to Friday Night Fights on ESPN. And how many times do we need to go back to the Nevada game? We have played 3 opponents since then. It was a tough loss, but will they still be showing that replay in 2014? Find more things to talk about. At least they aren't Dick Tomey. All in all, our starters were on the field till about five minutes left in the game. So that makes for two games in a row that our team is pushed into the fourth quarter. This is good, this helps us prevent conditioning and stamina being an issue late in the year. It was clear the Rockets coach Tim Beckman does not have a copy Frank Stallone's Coaching Tips 101, because had he had that book in his book case he would only have used one quarterback, which, had he only used Terrance Owens, the game may have been much closer. However, he disregarded the sage advice of Coach Stallone, and lost a game by a wide margin.