Air Force week gives me hives, so let's just rip this band-aid off.
- Jeremy McNichols continues to be a MAN. McNichols logged his THIRD 200+ yard of the season on Friday night and added a rather ho-hum 4 TDs to his season total (26). For his efforts, he was named the MWC Offensive Player of the Week for the 4th time this season and if there is any good left in this world will be a Doak Walker Award finalist tomorrow. The junior back is a legitimate threat to Ajayi’s single-season all-purpose-yardage mark and unless New Mexico decides to do us a solid, may do so in one less game. The Weapon is real and he’s fantastic.
- Brett Rypien was back in slumpy form Friday night...completing just 10-of-20 passes for barely over 100 yards. No TDs (but also no INTs) for the sophomore, but with the way McNichols was playing...his failed deep-shots were more potential Rebel daggers than necessity. He's still the best QB in the conference, but Wyoming's Josh Allen isn't as far off as you'd imagined.
- Special teams finally decided to be special...and better late than never I always say (I don't always say that). Cedrick Wilson's 74-yard punt return in the first quarter was about 68 yards longer than the previous season long and the Broncos also got Wilson loose on a kick return later in the contest AND blocked a punt, so you can just tear up that Kent Riddle hate mail right now.
- Joe Martarano’s injury looked bad (fractured fibula) but is apparently less bad than Tanner Vallejo's wrist injury. Not great news going into Air Force week. Silver lining...Sam Whitney and Leighton Vander Esch might be back against Falcons so hyperventilate and then regular ventilate.
- Boise State sack numbers have continued to be driven off a cliff, making me wonder if Andy Avalos handed the keys to Toonces the Driving Cat. At one point in the season, the Broncos 25 sacks were right near the top...in fact, the Broncos held the sacks per game top spot in the NCAA well into the season. Since that time...the Broncos have managed just one sack in the subsequent weeks and now sit in a tie for 42nd in the country (behind conference mates SDSU, Air Force, and Wyoming). If you want to know the reason for the precipitous drop...I don't have it—suffice it to say the Broncos have found themselves facing dual-threat QB after dual-threat QB and continue to be fat and happy rushing 3 lineman (many of whom are still undersized). It's as strange a disappearance as our INT numbers, but we're 10-1, so it's getting less share of the grievance-airing. I'd like to say that if our pass rush were a little tighter we might not have allowed Wyoming's Josh Allen to become Slippery Pete...but hindsight is always 20/20—and not the one hosted by Hugh Downs.
- Dylan Sumner-Gardner has been great since returning from a 5 game suspension. In his 6 games since returning, he's logged 29 tackles (one for loss) and an INT. It's nice to have depth at safety again, isn't it?
- Also great: LB Darren Lee...who led the Broncos in tackles (11) on Friday night and is up to 56 on the year (with 6.5 tackles for loss) and 3 sacks. His "sledgehammer" or "angry woodsman" celebration is also very underrated.
- We're sure going to miss these seniors. Senior night is always bittersweet, but this senior class has overcome a lot of adversity and have great leaders up and down the roster. Seniors, if you're reading this (and I'm not talking to you SeniorChief)—thanks for the memories.