BOISE — Joe Southwick hasnt played since breaking his right ankle on the first offensive play Oct. 19 against Nevada.
Whether his potential Senior Day start is ceremonial or legit will depend on his health.
Southwick, who started 20 straight games, clearly was hobbled during warm-ups for last weeks 34-31 OT loss at San Diego State. He was on emergency, emergency duty, coach Chris Petersen said.
I expect for him to play, and thats all I know, Petersen said, adding that he expects Southwick to start. Well kind of see. This week in practice will tell us a lot. We dont want to put a guy out there for an extended period of time who cant defend himself.
Junior backup Grant Hedrick, who has led the Broncos (7-4, 5-2 Mountain West) to a 3-2 record, also will play, Petersen said.
Hedrick struggled against San Diego State, but his biggest lowlight an interception returned for a TD in the fourth quarter was not his fault, Petersen said. Aaron Burks fell down on his route.
Grant threw a good ball, Petersen said. The receiver falls down. What do you do?
Petersen was more concerned with the first 2 1/2 quarters. The Broncos punted seven times and threw an interception on their first eight possessions. They scored three touchdowns, threw an interception, punted, failed on fourth down, missed a field goal and made a field goal in the final eight.
Petersen cited missed reads and throws by Hedrick, a lack of playmaking by the wide receivers, leaky pass protection and a spotty run game for the problems.
Thats disappointing, 2 1/2 quarters before we get settled in, he said.
On the plus side, he was happy with a defense that shut out the Aztecs for the final 40 minutes of regulation and the all-around effort of his team.
We make one more play, you name it, and you guys are all talking to me about how proud we are of our team, Petersen said. We all understand thats the nature of the business.
You put that tape on, you tip your hat to our kids. They played their tails off. It was a physical game. They gave us everything they had. Thats all you can ask for.
Laces, schmaces ...
The laces were in, not out, on junior kicker Dan Goodales hooked, 43-yard field-goal attempt on the final play of regulation. That shouldnt matter, Petersen said.
They were (facing the kicker), but we practice that, he said. He kicks under the ball anyway, under the laces. Usually the problem there is a little further out, he tries to compensate and pulls it just a little bit.
Sophomore wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes, who leads the team with 77 catches, is questionable this week, Petersen said. Williams-Rhodes hopped off the field with a leg injury in the second half.
Walk-on wide receiver Taylor Pope is out for the season with a broken collarbone from the previous game against Wyoming.
The 16 seniors who will be honored Saturday: Southwick, Burks, WR Geraldo Boldewijn, WR Kirby Moore, TE Gabe Linehan, OL Jake Broyles, OL Spencer Gerke, OL Charles Leno Jr., OL Matt Paradis, OL Chris Tozer, DE Kharyee Marshall, DT Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, LB Jonathan Brown, LB Dustin Kamper, S Ebo Makinde, P Trevor Harman.
Ten of them are starters or co-starters. Broyles and Makinde are out with injuries. This class is the 12th straight to win at least 40 games in four years (42-8). The 2011 class (50-3) holds the school record.
Boise State can clinch its first perfect home season since 2010 on Saturday. The Broncos, known for their dominance on the blue turf, lost to TCU in 2011 and San Diego State in 2012.
Boise States four Mountain West losses since joining the league in 2011 have come by a combined seven points: TCU 36-35 (2011), San Diego State 21-19 (2012), Fresno State 41-40 (2013) and San Diego State 34-31, OT (2013).
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat