Brian Murphy hands out the grades for Boise States 42-14 win over Colorado State:
Boise States first play went perfectly an 80-yard touchdown run by sixth-year senior D.J. Harper. For just the third time this season, the Broncos eclipsed the 500-yard mark in total offense with the yards nearly evenly distributed between rushing (269) and passing (234). Quarterback Joe Southwick played his best game of the year, completing 17-of-20 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns. His comfort in the pocket has improved dramatically since the start of the season. Harper finished with 107 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries. Jay Ajayi continued his impressive season with 67 yards on eight attempts. Ajayi seems poised to break out next season. Tight end Holden Huff (three catches, 59 yards, one touchdown) is another player who is capable of big things in the future. Boise State scored the first 42 points of the game and the first-team offense had six touchdowns on eight drives. Grade: A
Senior linebackers Tommy Smith (seven tackles) and J.C. Percy (six tackles) led the team in tackles, fittingly on Senior Day. Colorado State had 229 yards of total offense, and almost all of it came when the game was already decided. Defensive ends Sam Ukwuachu and Demarcus Lawrence each had a sack. Lawrence added a forced fumble and an interception on a terrific play where he sniffed out a screen pass. Lawrence (9.5 sacks and four forced fumbles on the year) is making a case for Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year as is senior cornerback Jamar Taylor, who had an interception in the game. Taylor has three picks on the season. The Broncos rank in the top 10 nationally in forced turnovers (second), pass defense (third), pass efficiency defense (fourth), scoring defense (sixth) and total defense (eighth). Coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski has done a terrific job. Grade: A
Its got to be frustrating for Boise State that it must resort to short, high kickoffs after giving up kickoff returns for touchdowns against San Diego State and Hawaii. The pooch kicks worked as Colorado State did not break a big one and started no better than its own 35 after a kickoff. Senior punt returner Chris Potter has done a terrific job for the Broncos. He showed why again against Colorado State, carving through the Rams defenders, though he did have a fumble late in the game. Grade: B
Senior Day can be an emotional game for the players and sometimes results in slow starts. Not so for the Broncos, who scored 14 first-quarter points and 35 first-half points and did not allow Colorado State to score until late in the third quarter when the game was decided. At 9-2 overall and 6-1 in Mountain West play, the Broncos will have a chance to win a share of the conference title at Nevada on Dec. 1. A victory will likely clinch another MAACO Bowl Las Vegas berth, though this one will feel like something more of a reward than the last two. Despite massive personnel losses, the coaches have molded this group into another top-25 level team. Grade: A
IN THE POLLS
The Broncos returned to the BCS Standings at No. 22. Boise State remained at No. 22 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and moved up two spots to No. 21 in the Harris poll. The Broncos are among the top vote getters not in The Associated Press Top 25.