Here are the players to watch for Boise State as the Broncos visit San Jose State for a Mountain West football game Friday:
Tommy Stuart, quarterback
Stuart, the backup, contributed a 2-yard touchdown run last week against Air Force as coaches tried to add a wrinkle to the red-zone offense and take a hit away from starter Brett Rypien.
“It was pretty great,” Stuart said. “I just want to help contribute to the team.”
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Stuart’s running ability brings a different dimension to the position than Rypien, a pocket passer. Stuart came to Boise State from Butte College with a playmaker reputation.
“I would describe it as kind of like a run around, move out of the pocket, scramble (style),” he said. “But I also feel a lot more comfortable being in the pocket since I got here. The coaching staff has done a great job with me getting me used to playing inside the pocket and throwing down the field.
“It’s been an adjustment but ... you’ve kind of got to grow and change your game to play Division I football.”
Kamalei Correa, defensive end
Correa will have a decision to make after the final regular-season game: Enter the 2016 NFL Draft or return for his senior year.
His production has dropped in half this year. This is his last chance to make a statement before potentially requesting an NFL evaluation of his draft stock.
“I really want to finish the season strong to see what bowl game we go to,” he said. “(The NFL) is really the last of my worries right now.”
Correa, whose tackles (59-29), tackles for loss (19-6.5) and sacks (12-4) have plummeted this year, spent the past two weeks as the designated dive defender against the option.
“It wasn’t that fun,” he said. “I had one job, and I feel like I did my job to the best of my ability. ... It was getting kind of monotonous.”
Much of the time, he was pursuing a guy who didn’t have the ball.
“I’m the imaginary tackler” versus the option, he said.
Jeremy McNichols, tailback
McNichols is coming off his sixth straight 100-yard rushing game (fourth-longest active streak in the nation) and holds a Mountain West record with 10 straight games with a touchdown run.
He has 1,376 yards from scrimmage (137.6 per game) and 20 touchdowns this season. He is tied for second in the nation in touchdowns.
Last year, tailback Jay Ajayi averaged 168.4 yards per game and scored 32 touchdowns, so McNichols has proven a worthy replacement for his mentor.