We learned to avoid option offenses at all costs.
New Mexico felt awful similar to Air Force in the flummoxing, frustrating way both offenses moved the ball down the field. There was an inevitability to both games; you knew the other team was going to get however many yards it needed/wanted. Offensive predestination.
Thankfully, there are no more option offenses on the schedule. The nearest is Nevada, but their Pistol is a different animal than what Air Force or New Mexico run. And it's an animal that Boise State DC Pete Kwiatkowski has familiarity defending and gameplanning. Is that my way of saying that Cody Fajardo won't run for 150 yards against Boise State? Ask me when I'm another day or two removed from this New Mexico nailbiter.
We learned that Joe Southwick can play well against bad defenses.
Good thing there are lots of bad defenses on the schedule.
We learned that the lack of a kicking game might come back to bite the Broncos.
If you had the ball at the other team's 38-yard line, third and eight, with a three-point lead and 3:33 remaining in the game, what would you be thinking?
"We're in field goal range, so worst case scenario we'll have a six-point lead and get to kickoff." Right?
Now, imagine you're Coach Pete. The 27-yard line is still 12 yards outside of your kicker's career-long field goal range. Maybe you'll get some more yards on third down. Nope, Southwick almost throws a pick-six. You can either let Southwick try to pick up the eight yards again or attempt a 45-yard field goal - a kick you've seen Michael Frisina make in practice.
This is why Boise State pays Coach Pete so much money - not to make the right decision necessarily (because there isn't really a wrong decision here), but to live with situations like this.
We learned never to trust young players with the football.
That is a bit of a stretch, but seriously, Dallas Burroughs, a true sophomore, fumbled the second half kickoff and Shane Williams-Rhodes, a true freshman, fumbled midway through the fourth with Boise State clinging to an 11-point lead and driving.
True freshman Jack Fields, you may have noticed, has had zero carries since fumbling against Miami (OH) two weeks ago (I spotted him in the game for a snap or two, which is progress).
There's no doubt these young kids are talented, but how do you determine whether the risk is worth the reward? Again, another decision Chris Petersen gets paid big bucks to figure out.
We learned that Jay Ajayi is as good as advertised (two years ago).
Ajayi's 118 yards on six second quarter carries produced seven Bronco points and showed what all the fuss has been about regarding the highly-touted Texas back. Ajayi was the only back other than D.J. Harper to carry the ball, perhaps signaling that the backup job is his and his alone. So where did Ajayi go in the second half? With fewer possessions in the second half (that's what fumbling a kickoff and fumbling on a three-play drive will do for you), there simply wasn't opportunity for Ajayi and certainly not after Shane Williams-Rhodes fumbled. Boise State has shown a certain stubbornness to stick with Harper when ball security is a must - a stubbornness perhaps traced all the way back to how last year's TCU game ended.
We learned very little about the Boise State defense.
Sure, they gave up a lot of rushing yards and points, but how exactly do you judge the defense's performance against such a unique team? Can you draw many conclusions? (Technically, you can, which probably means Bronco Nation will, but that doesn't mean there is any value to them.)
We learned that conference play is going to be iffy.
This was supposed to be one of Boise State's easiest conference games, so you have to wonder how the rest of the conference slate is going to look if it began with a three-point win over New Mexico. Is this Bronco team not nearly as good as any of us thought? Or did the triple option and a couple bad turnovers make for a closer game than it really was? Time will tell.