We learned the Boise State defense can be dominant when it wants to be dominant.
Or maybe it is just dominant at home. Either way, in two of the team's biggest games - versus BYU and Fresno State - the defense has done everything asked of it and more. Saturday's evisceration of Fresno State was a thing of beauty, if you think beauty is strong, powerful, hard-hitting, and low scoring.
The question now becomes: How often will the Boise State defense want to be dominant? Will UNLV, Colorado State, and other schedule dregs inspire the same level of performance? We shall see.
We learned that this defensive line might be the best defensive line in the West.
Mike Atkinson, Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, Demarcus Lawrence, and Sam Ukwuachu turned in a tour de force performance against the Bulldogs. Know this, the Broncos began the game with the plan to rush Derek Carr with three or four down linemen and drop the rest of the team into coverage. They never had to change this gameplan. The Broncos got constant, nearly instant pressure with no blitzing and nothing fancy other than Atkinson and Tjong-A-Tjoe pushing people around and Lawrence and Ukwuachu sprinting around the corner. By the fourth quarter, the Broncos didn't need to rush anyone as Carr was so frazzled he was leaving the pocket after one Mississippi out of habit. That's good defense, and a great defensive line.
We learned that Joe Southwick can throw the deep ball.
It is not a pretty deep ball, nor an accurate deep ball. It is, by definition, simply a deep ball.
He could throw it a lot worse than he does - short maybe, out of bounds. He could throw it a lot better - leading his receiver, away from coverage. He does well to give his guy a chance to make a play, but it is far from the Kellen Moore-Titus Young heyday of beautiful bombs downfield.
We learned that Jay Ajayi is going to be fun to watch for the next three years.
Ajayi is making good on all that promise he brought with him to Boise State. He and Jack Fields and Devan Demas are the future of the Bronco backfield, and that future looks bright. The present belongs to D.J. Harper, but it sure is thrilling to see Ajayi carry the ball as a backup. He is large, powerful, and hard to bring down, and if he keeps his current pace, he will have a storied Bronco career (if he manages to stay out of the pros).
Boldewijn might not have replaced Burroughs literally in the lineup, but his production in the passing game and his camaraderie with Joe Southwick seem to be awfully Burroughs-like. Ger-Bol led the team with three catches for 37 yards - not fantastic numbers, but not bad for a guy playing his second game of the year against a pass defense that played pretty well.
We learned that Matt Miller does not need to be the focal point of the offense for the Broncos to win.
Miller finished with one catch for four yards, so credit whichever combination of Fresno corners and safeties conspired to shut him down. I would not expect UNLV to hold Miller to low numbers like that, nor any other team for the rest of the year.
We learned that there's really no point in kicking a field goal outside of 30 yards.
I wonder if Christ Petersen learned the same thing.
We learned that Trevor Harman will take off with a punt some day.
Harman ran as much of a fake as you can run without it being a fake, kicking the ball at the last minute and practically on the line of scrimmage. Keep that play in the back pocket of your mind; I bet we see it again.
trevor harman fake