BOISE, ID - SEPTEMBER 15: The Boise State Broncos celebrate a touchdown against the Miami University RedHawks at Bronco Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
We learned that Joe Southwick is not the quarterbacking anathema we thought he was.
Southwick played well, certainly well enough to no longer warrant chants of "Nick Patti!" or "Anyone but Southwick!" Yes, his end zone interception was egregious - seriously really, really bad - but the rest of his day was perfectly acceptable and at times splendid.
Take his 50-yard bomb to Aaron Burks, for instance. It was a beautiful spiral, the type you throw when you're just messing around and trying to throw the deepest, tightest spiral you can. Not only was it pretty-looking but it was vitally important in the grand scheme of the game. Southwick's perfect pass came on first and 24 with the Broncos trailing by a point late in the first half. If he does not complete that pass, this game might have gone differently.
So in other words, Southwick made a play when a play needed made. D.J. Harper made the rest of the plays, but Southwick got at least this one, and that's one more than he made last week.
We learned that D.J. Harper and the running game are not broken.
Someone - I forget who because the comment was so incredibly ignorant that my brain immediately disregarded it as junk - wondered why D.J. Harper did not do more in the game against Michigan State, as if it were Harper's fault or Harper's ineptness at running the football that caused his eight-yard rushing performance. Uh, never mind, right? I mean Harper performed a running back clinic on Saturday, sprinting through gaping holes, making defenders miss, and playing so wonderfully that maybe, just maybe, we Bronco fans remembered that time when Harper was ahead of Doug Martin on the depth chart.
Harper is on pace for 1,800 yards, 33 touchdowns, and a 10-yard average if you pretend that Week One never happened.
We learned that this Boise State team will go as far as its defense will take them.
As good as the offense looked, the Broncos seem for all the world to be a defense-first team. Miami (OH) was better than how they looked on Saturday, so don't go away from the game thinking "man, what kind of hot garbage is Boise State scheduling?" The Boise State defense makes hot garbage out of perfectly respectable offenses, and I bet they'll do so all year. I'm still thinking that the Broncos will not lose a game the rest of the way if the Boise State offense can score 28 or more.
We learned not to mess with Matt Miller
When given the option to juke a defender or roll to a stop like many cautious wideouts do, Miller chose Option C: Run the dude over. Future defensive backs are now on notice.
We learned that Demarcus Lawrence can get after the quarterback
We thought as much after he pressured Andrew Maxwell in the Michigan State game, but Saturday Lawrence got pressure and got sacks, dropping Zac Dysert two-and-a-half times. The pass rush was one of a laundry list of reasons why the Miami (OH) offense never really threatened.
We learned that Jack Fields is the No. 2 running back, at least until he fumbles.
Fields carried the ball 13 times on Saturday and was the first back off the bench when D.J. Harper needed a breather. That changed slightly when Fields fumbled inside his own 10-yard-line in the second quarter; he didn't get any more carries until the fourth quarter (he had four carries before the fourth).
We learned that Aaron Burks is a bigger part of the offense than anyone realized.
Burks finished with three catches for 67 yards, which is three more catches and 67 more yards than I had him pegged for.
We learned that the tight ends do exist.
After a quiet night in the season opener, the tight ends were a bigger part of the gameplan on Saturday with freshmen Hayden Plinke and Holden Huff each grabbing passes. Gabe Linehan was conspicuously absent from the stat sheet and, nearest I can tell, from much of the offense. Conspiracy theory? Eh, I'll save it for another day.
We learned never to kick a field goal unless it is basically an extra point.
A bad snap spoiled Boise State's attempt at a 35-yard kick in the first half, making it abundantly clear to me that kicking field goals from anywhere outside your own 10-yard-line is a crapshoot. Chris Petersen's hands were tied since the down and distance was fourth and 14, but I have to think at this point that throwing jump balls to Matt Miller would be nearly as high of odds as kicking.