The Broncos can clinch an elusive division title tonight with a win over surprising nemesis Air Force and that's obviously priority one. The Broncos already clinched a division title thanks to Fresno State. Of course, besides a West division title, all would like to send the Bronco seniors off with a win to ensure that this won't actually be their final game on The Blue. In true, two-birds-with-one-stone fashion, we'll honor our seniors before tonight's matchup and then we can all hang out and watch them beat Air Force (please).
Go Broncos! Go Seniors (not the Golden Corral variety)!
Blake Whitlock, LB
While I'm pretty sure that Whitlock's preseason injury will land him a waiver (and frankly, he might have a redshirt available...but I'm lazy), let's honor him anyway just in case. Whitlock came to the Broncos last Fall as a preferred walk-on from Saddleback College and was almost immediately placed on scholarship. That's hard to do in this day and age...and to make five starts and 13 game appearances mere months after no one even knew who you were? That's a gosh dang miracle. Whitlock's hard work and resolve will be missed...just probably in 2019.
Cedrick Wilson, WR
Wilson is the semi-rare JuCo transfer that lived up to his billing. The Broncos had to hold off late-charging Virginia Tech for his services, and Boise State fans are very pleased about that. In a shade under two seasons, Wilson has racked up 2,030 yards receiving, caught 17 touchdown passes and completely a neat 100% of his passes when asked to take part in trickeration. What a guy!
Austin Cottrell, WR
Another JuCo transfer, Cottrell came aboard after a season at Scottsdale CC. Cottrell hasn't lit up the scoreboard with his stats...but he's done whatever he's been asked. Cottrell has become a standout on special teams and no one will forget his tantalizingly close near-score against New Mexico in 2015 where he came within feet of the endzone on a wild, lateral-filled desperation play at the end of regulation.
Daniel Auelua, DL
Yet another JC transfer (Mesa CC), Auelua almost went to Utah State, but came to his senses before signing day and ended up a Bronco. We're all happy that he's considered Boise his home for the last few seasons instead of the Cache Valley. It's much more fun here. Auelua has just 16 tackles and 2 PBUs in his two years in Boise...but his QB pressure and absorbing double-teams has paved the way for a resurgence on the Bronco D-line.
Andrew Tercek, OL
One of the last holdouts from the Chris Petersen era, Tercek has been a mainstay on the Bronco O-line for the last couple of seasons. He's never firmly cracked the starting rotation, but appeared in 19 games between his freshman and junior seasons. The O-line is better for him having been on it.
Brock Barr, WR
Barr (yet another JuCo transfer) came to the Broncos from Shasta College looking to crack the receiver rotation. He never really did...but showed enough to gain the coaching staff's trust on special teams...where he's become a real force. He was placed on scholarship before the season and has added long snapper to his resumé. Barr's put in the work and it's paid off.
Alec Dhaenens, TE
Local boy (Fruitland) Dhaenens, came to the Broncos with buddy Joe Martarano, and while we won't get to honor both tonight (Martarano opted to pursue his MLB career), Dhaenens will be held in high regard by his peers. Dhaenens has appeared in 50 games for the Broncos, which is impressive in its own right...and while he hasn't been the most-targeted TE in the bunch, he's made the most of his catches—with a TD on one of every 4 career catches. Gonna miss that efficiency.
Archie Lewis, OL
Another Petersen recruit, Lewis has slowly but surely made himself into an indispensable member of the Bronco O-line. Lewis was an Outland Trophy Watch Lister prior to his senior season, and it was easy to see why as the Boise State O-line struggled mightily early in the season with him on the sidelines. We're happy he's healthy for senior night and beyond. If you want to talk about anchors...Lewis is one.
Mason Hampton, OL
Another local boy made good. Hampton came to the Broncos as a walk-on from Meridian High School and quickly earned a scholarship (after his redshirt season). Hampton didn't just take the scholarship and run though...he became an All-MWC performer, a Rimington Trophy Watch Lister, a Campbell Trophy finalist and a multiple time scholar-athlete honoree. It's hard to tell if Hampton is more accomplished on the field or off it, but we're sure glad he's been a Bronco.
Jake Roh, TE
Roh is another Petersen signee, and we're sure glad he stayed true to The Blue. Roh has had a few injuries slow his role throughout his career, but he's persevered to become a great tight end in a long list of great Bronco tight ends. In 48 games for the Broncos, Roh has 116 passes for 1,286 yards and 12 receiving scores. Thankfully, Roh has saved his best year for last and has 9 of those receiving TDs this season..as well as a couple more rushing scores for good measure. The Broncos will miss the safety valve that Roh has provided, but also his leadership.
Gabe Perez, OLB
Hard to believe, but at one point Perez was considered the player with the higher ceiling between he and at-the-time frosh Kamalei Correa. Perez burned his redshirt and had 29 tackles and 3.5 sacks his first year with the Broncos. Unfortunately, after that Perez got bitten hard by the injury bug. He's had to endure multiple surgeries throughout his career, but keeps fighting. After barely playing the last two seasons due to injury, he's regained some of the form that we all saw when he was a fresh-faced frosh. This season, Perez has 10 tackles (2 for loss) and a PBU, but his leadership has been far more valuable to the team. This is one tough customer.
Montell Cozart, QB
Cozart kinda fell into the Broncos lap this Fall as a grad-transfer from Kansas. Cozart's spot had even been filled a few weeks before his commitment...but in hindsight, I think the Broncos are glad things worked out the way they did. Cozart has been a fantastic leader, and offensive spark plug for Boise State and has been key to the success this year. It's not easy having to share playing time (especially as a QB) but Cozart has been the consummate team player. We didn't have him long, but we'll sure miss Montell next season.
Austin Silsby, DL
Another local walk-on, Silsby had to wait a while but was finally rewarded for his hard work with a scholarship this Fall. You won't see Silsby's name up and down the stat sheet, but he brings a lot of toughness to the position and has been a great example of the blue collar mentality the Broncos try to embody.
Cameron Hartsfield, DB
The last Petersen era recruit on the board, Hartsfield has been a fun Bronco to watch. Having appeared in 49 games during his career, he's also one of the most dependable Broncos. He's had to watch some of his playing time slip away this season, but he's continued to produce and be a fantastic teammate. Thanks for the hard work, Cameron.
Ryan Wolpin, RB
Wolpin is another great example of hard work paying off. He had a scholarship to Northern Arizona out of high school, but had a dream of playing FBS football and walked on the Bronco team and worked his way to a schollie. This season, he's finally earned his carries too and found paydirt twice. Wolpin worked hard to earn a scholarship and has worked hard this season to shake off early season rust and has become a great contributor on offense and special teams. You'll never seen anything but maximum effort from this kid and that's truly commendable.