Boise States vaunted offense has gone missing. Poof. Vanished. Disappeared.
For so many years, Boise States offense has piled up yards and points at such a dizzying pace that it felt as if the Broncos had unlocked some cheat code. The receivers were always open. The running back always had holes. The quarterback always had time and made the right decision. Thats how you become the highest-scoring offense in the country since 2000.
Now the Boise State offense cant find the end zone from six inches away. Now the Boise State offense is painful to watch. Now the Boise State offense is the weakest link.
For the second time in three games, the Broncos failed to score an offensive touchdown. Even worse than the opener against Michigan State, the offense failed to score a single point in Thursday nights 7-6 victory against BYU.
Weve definitely got to go back to the drawing board, Boise State coach Chris Petersen said.
That session must start with this: How to get a yard. One measly yard.
Boise State couldnt score after taking over at the BYU 1. Four plays, four rushes, no points, including a failed quarterback sneak on fourth-and-an-iPhone. Asked why he didnt kick and extend the Broncos lead to 10-0, Petersen preferred to show rather than tell.
Ill show you, Petersen said, holding his fingers just inches apart. Are you kidding me? We cant get that?
Not right now, coach, no you cant get that.
The entire unit lacks confidence. The swashbuckling, go-for-broke attitude of yesteryear has been replaced with a do-no-harm mentality.
The players played scared and coaches coached scared. Just let the defense win it. Fortunately for Boise State, it did.
Boise State was afraid to kick after Michael Frisina missed a 33-yarder.
Boise State was afraid to turn quarterback Joe Southwick loose, particularly in the red zone, where he is 4-for-13 with 32 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions on the season.
Boise State was afraid to hand the ball to anyone besides sixth-year senior running back D.J. Harper, who rushed 31 times for 112 yards. Freshmen running backs Jay Ajayi and Jack Fields and wide receiver/playmaker Shane Williams-Rhodes combined for one touch.
These are the same Broncos who find a role for everyone. Put in a package to highlight the strengths of so many on the roster.
Not Thursday. Not with the game so tight. It was veterans such as Harper and Matt Miller and Mitch Burroughs who got the ball over and over 44 times between them.
Petersen said he did not consider a quarterback change.
Its one thing if your starting quarterback has turned the ball over four times like BYUs Riley Nelson did and youre losing the game. But Southwick didnt have a turnover. He completed 15-of-25 passes. He just didnt finish.
For all those calling for Southwicks ouster: He is the best option the Broncos have right now.
And, likely, for the rest of the season.
We just got to get Joe in a rhythm. Weve got to help him out. Its not all just Joe, Petersen said.
Southwick and Miller said the offense is close. A few details here and there.
Its not a lie. But its not the whole truth either.
This offense is missing more. Petersen knows it.
Its why every answer in his post-game press conference meandered back to the offense. He is a former offensive coordinator. He is the guy most responsible for the video game-type numbers the Boise State offense has produced the past decade or so. Hes the guy who is happiest in the film room, dissecting the defense and finding ways to exploit it.
It starts right here, he said.
The offense has gone missing. It must be found. Send out the search party.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444