It was not a stretch to think the Rams might have some trouble finding answers at wide receiver after only one player in the group who had more than five catches last season returned.
Among those losses was the excellent Rashard Higgins, who left early and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns. His 239 receptions, 29 touchdowns and 3,649 yards are certainly missed, but the Rams have found some new faces to step up.
Junior Michael Gallup, a junior college transfer, has stepped up as the top target, leading the team with 26 receptions for 394 yards and three touchdowns.
“I think they have a solid group,” Boise State senior cornerback Jonathan Moxey said. “I think any time you (say), ‘Oh, they have one good guy,’ that’s when you stop thinking about other guys. And you never really know what could happen. We’re all Division I athletes. So you can’t count anybody out.”
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In addition to Gallup, the Rams have found some success with sophomore Olabisi Johnson (12 catches, 186 yards, two TDs). Junior Xavier Matthews, who had 19 catches last season, would be another weapon, but he is not currently with the team for personal reasons. He’s played in only two games, but he had four catches for 90 yards Sept. 17 against Northern Colorado.
The Rams have averaged 286 yards passing in the past four games, but they’ll be without quarterback Collin Hill, the starter in all four. Still, it’s a different challenge for the Broncos, who last faced option-based New Mexico. Lamar Jordan and JuJuan Lawson combined to go 4-of-15 for 39 yards last week.
“We knew what we had to do. We knew we had to be very disciplined,” sophomore cornerback Tyler Horton said.
Boise State has two interceptions, one for Horton and one for senior Raymond Ford. They’re eager to face a more traditional team and get those opportunities, especially after having nine pass breakups but no interceptions Oct. 1 against Utah State.
“Those missed opportunities, we’ve got to capitalize on them. We’ve been harping on that, wanting to get turnovers,” Horton said. “When we get that chance, we’re going to have to come up with the ball. We’re trying to turn those PBUs into INTs.”