Boise State players to watch vs. Fresno State

ccripe@idahostatesman.comSeptember 20, 2013 

Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick has thrown 12 touchdown passes and one interception and is 5-0 with his mustache.

DARIN OSWALD — doswald@idahostatesman.com

JOE SOUTHWICK, QUARTERBACK

Southwick picked apart Air Force last week, setting school and Mountain West records for completion percentage by going 27-for-29. It won’t be that easy against Fresno State.

“The opposition will be flying a little faster and more furious this week,” Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. “... They’re going to make you earn things.”

Southwick has not performed well against strong defenses, with the exception of the 2012 MAACO Bowl. In five games against teams ranked in the top 30 in pass-efficiency defense, he has three TD passes and three interceptions with one 200-yard game.

He was 11-of-22 for 113 yards last year against Fresno State, which finished the season fourth in pass-efficiency defense.

“He’s a guy who a year ago was trying to establish himself and didn’t have that confidence,” Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter said. “He’s got that confidence now. He’s played well so far this year.”

DEMARCUS LAWRENCE, DEFENSIVE END

Lawrence was instrumental in the Broncos’ performance last year against the Bulldogs, who managed just 10 points on the blue turf. He recorded five tackles and contributed to all three of the team’s sacks — a solo and two assists.

He’s the reigning Mountain West sack champ. He also won the Mountain West defensive player of the week award for his performance last week against Air Force, when he made nine tackles (two for loss).

“For him to do that — step up and put the game in his hands — was really good,” senior end Kharyee Marshall said.

MATT MILLER, WIDE RECEIVER

Miller improved his speed over the summer, but his role hasn’t changed — he’s the favorite target every time the Broncos need tough yards. He leads the team with 21 catches at 9.0 yards per catch. His average the past two years: 11.3 yards per catch.

“You’d always like explosive plays, and I think he can be an explosive player,” coach Chris Petersen said. “We’ve got to do some things to make sure we’re putting him in position (for those plays). I look at some of those catches over the middle, those are explosive plays for me.”

More on Friday's game between Boise State and Fresno State

More than just a win at stake for Broncos

Bulldogs taking a different approach this time around

Game breakdown

Fresno State players to watch

Mountain West Power Poll

Improved ground attack fuels Boise State's offense

Brian Murphy: The end of great defense?

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