Boise State notebook vs. Nevada

ccripe@idahostatesman.comOctober 20, 2013 

FIRST-HALF TROUBLES

The Wolf Pack, coming off a bye, whipped the Broncos in the trenches in the first half.

Nevada entered the game with a most un-Nevada-like rushing average of 181.8 yards per game and just 3.6 yards per carry. But the team — which ranked as one of the top running teams in the nation from 2008 to 2012 under former coach Chris Ault — rediscovered its running ways in the first half.

The Wolf Pack rushed for 130 yards on 33 carries in the first half, including touchdown runs of 6 yards by Kendall Brock and 3 yards by Don Jackson.

Nevada found success behind left tackle Joel Bitonio and tight end Stephen Jeffers. On the Wolf Pack’s second scoring drive of the half, Nevada rushed for 62 yards on 10 carries. Four of the carries went over the left side for 36 yards.

The Broncos rushed 18 times for 144 yards in the first half, but 74 of those yards came in a three-play burst sparked by a 49-yard scramble by backup quarterback Grant Hedrick.

Hedrick was under constant pressure. He replaced starter Joe Southwick, who was injured on the Broncos’ first play when he scrambled immediately out of trouble and was tackled from behind on a 7-yard gain.

Redshirt freshman linebacker Ben Weaver said the Broncos lacked energy in the first half.

“The locker room statement was, ‘We ain’t letting this happen anymore,’ ” he said.

THIRD-QUARTER SURGE

The Broncos outscored the Wolf Pack 20-0 in the third quarter. That continued a season-long trend for Nevada, which has been outscored 106-33 in the quarter.

INJURY UPDATES

Junior starting middle linebacker Blake Renaud did not play after injuring a leg in the first half against Utah State. He did not play in the second half of that game and is week-to-week.

True freshman Tanner Vallejo made his first start in Renaud’s place. Vallejo made seven tackles.

“He did awesome, especially the first half,” Weaver said. “That first series, I think he recorded most of the tackles out there. He’s got a great feel for the game.”

Starting right tackle Rees Odhiambo and starting tight end Gabe Linehan returned from injuries. Odhiambo started but aggravated his injury and left. Starting wide receiver Kirby Moore did not play for the third straight game. He is week-to-week. He was wearing a boot on his right foot.

QUICK HITS

The Broncos wore their all-black uniforms for the first time this year. … In the 2008 through 2012 meetings, Boise State outscored Nevada 112-26 in the first half and was outscored 102-61 in the second half. The Broncos were 4-1 in those games. … Boise State’s captains were safety Taylor Loffler, defensive end Kharyee Marshall, center Matt Paradis and tailback Jay Ajayi. … Left tackle Charles Leno Jr. carried the Hammer for his blocked field goal against Utah State. He’s the second offensive lineman to carry it in recent memory. Nate Potter brought the Hammer out two years ago on behalf of the offensive line. … Boise State won the coin toss and deferred. … Boise State’s honorary captains were quarterback Bart Hendricks (1996-2000) and defensive back Bobby Fryer (1981-82). … Junior wide receiver Matt Miller moved into fourth place in career catches at Boise State. … Boise State has won 50 straight October games.

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