Monday Morning Report Card: Boise State 48, Wyoming 7

bmurphy@idahostatesman.comNovember 18, 2013 

Brian Murphy hands out the grades for Boise State's 48-7 victory over Wyoming.

OFFENSE

Boise State got off to what is becoming a customary slow start. Quarterback Grant Hedrick fumbled on the Broncos' first possession. It is the third time in four games as the primary QB that Hedrick has turned the ball over on the first possession. "I always think we're going to start fast. I'm surprised every game. I'm starting to feel comfortable when we turn it over right away because I know good things are going to happen right after that," coach Chris Petersen said.

After their next drive ended with a quick punt, the Broncos scored touchdowns on the next four possessions. Hedrick completed 27-of-36 passes with three touchdowns and one interception. Receiver Matt Miller had his second straight big game, hauling in seven passes for 143 yards and three scores. Running back Jay Ajayi had three touchdowns on 11 carries. Even after emptying the bench in the second half, Boise State scored on four of its six drives after intermission. Grade: A

DEFENSE

No group needed a bye week quite as much as the Boise State defense — and the Broncos looked like a rejuvenated unit Saturday night against Wyoming. The Broncos forced four turnovers (two fumbles and two interceptions), recorded three sacks and held Wyoming, which entered the game ranked No. 16 in total offense at 491.8 yards per game, to 265 yards. Boise State limited the Cowboys to 31 yards rushing. Wyoming converted just 5-of-18 attempts on third and fourth down.

Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence was a disruptive force once again. Lawrence had a team-high seven tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. The forced fumble was key, coming with the game tied at 7. Donte Deayon, after being burned for a touchdown early in the game, rebounded with an interception in the third quarter. The Broncos, who have dealt with massive injuries on the defensive side of the ball, rotated a lot of players, including four safeties. They rallied to the ball. They didn't miss tackles. It hardly looked like the same group that surrendered more than 600 yards against Colorado State. Grade: A

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker Dan Goodale made both field goal attempts, including a career-long 47-yarder in the third quarter. Goodale, a junior, has made 12 consecutive field goal attempts this year after having his first try blocked at Washington. "It's not surprising. That's exactly what Dan does in practice," Petersen said. Punter Trevor Harman had a booming 56-yard punt early in the game to flip field position. Grade: A

COACHING

Another reminder of why Petersen is so coveted by opposing fan bases: He is now 18-0 when the Broncos have 10 or more days to prepare for a game (not including season openers and bowl games). In the bye week, several players earned more playing time. The staff elevated freshman running back Devan Demas after seeing him excel on scout teams. Demas was the team's leading rusher with 73 yards on 12 carries. Taylor Loffler, the team's fourth safety, had an interception as he saw increased playing time. Now comes one of the biggest tests of the season — a pivotal road game at San Diego State, which brings a physical offense and an unorthodox defense and which upset Boise State at Bronco Stadium last season. Grade: A

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