Handing out the grades for Boise States 17-13 loss to Michigan State.
Boise States offense was anemic in Friday nights season opener against Michigan State, failing to score an offensive touchdown for the first time since 1997 and recording the fewest total yards (206) since Chris Petersen joined the Broncos staff in 2001. The primary problem: Boise States rushing attack. The Broncos had 24 carries for 37 yards against the strong Spartans front seven. Running back D.J. Harper ran tough, but found no room en route to just 8 yards on 15 carries. They gave us trouble. They were moving a lot. I think we could have executed better, but they just kind of outplayed us, senior guard Joe Kellogg said. Quarterback Joe Southwick, in his first start, completed 15-of-31 passes for 169 yards. He threw a costly interception at the goal line and, outside of one deep pass, failed to hit the big play. The offense had three trips inside the Michigan State 10 and ended up with just six points. Grade: D-
The good news: The secondary was good, intercepting three passes, forcing a fumble and generally keeping the Broncos in the game. Safety Jeremy Ioanes 43-yard interception return for a touchdown was one of the pivotal plays in the game. The bad news: The Broncos rebuilt defensive line looked like a group that lost its top five players from last years team. Michigan State marched 60 yards on the games first drive, pushing around the front line behind running back LeVeon Bell. The Broncos then did a nice job creating pressure on Spartan quarterback Andrew Maxwell and holding its own. However, Michigan State ran 90 offensive plays and simply wore down the Broncos defense at the end of the game. The Spartans went 56 yards in nine plays for the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter and then went 52 yards (converting on two key third downs) in 13 plays to end the game. Grade: C-
Chris Potters 17-yard punt return plus a roughing penalty on Michigan States punter led to a go-ahead field goal for Boise State. Kicker Michael Frisina connected on two short field goal attempts, alleviating concerns about the Broncos kicking game for one week at least. Grade: B
The Broncos nearly pulled off another big season-opening victory against a ranked opponent, despite huge personnel changes from 2011. The coaching staff certainly deserves some credit for that. Boise State tried several ways of jumpstarting its offense a few trick plays, going up-tempo, trying to involve freshman speedster Shane Williams-Rhodes, getting Southwick on the move near the goal line. Nothing worked consistently. And, by the end, Michigan State found ways to adjust to Boise States defensive pressure with even Bell picking up a blitz on a huge third-down play. Grade: C-
IN THE POLLS
The first in-season polls will be released at 10 a.m. Tuesday. No. 24 Boise State has been ranked for 62 consecutive weeks in each poll, the second-longest streak in the country behind Alabama (65). That streak is in danger.