Boise State Football

No. 22 Boise State is unbeaten, but Broncos are still ‘not where we want to be’

Bryan Harsin didn’t wait for a reporter to bring up his team’s deficiencies during his weekly Monday press conference at the Bleymaier Football Center.

Despite a climb to No. 22 in the Top 25 polls and a 2-0 start, Harsin knows his Boise State football team has a considerable way to go.

“I don’t think anybody’s happy with the performances that we’ve had,” Harsin said. “I don’t think anybody’s sitting here saying: ‘Hey, that’s what it is. We’ve got it figured out.’ By no means is that the case. Our standards are much higher. We have higher expectations of ourselves, and this week it needs to start.”

Boise State hosts Portland State (1-1) of the Big Sky Conference at 8:15 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2) at Albertsons Stadium.

Harsin said the Broncos will be emphasizing ball security and discipline in the red zone this week. Boise State has fumbled eight times this season, which is more than any other FBS team in the country aside from Georgia Southern and Kent State, who each have nine. The Broncos have been lucky to recover all but three of those fumbles, but there’s no doubt those mistakes were still costly.

“The whole fumble thing, that’s upsetting,” Harsin said. “... We’re putting it in harm’s way. If we hold on to it like we’re supposed to, we have a better chance of not putting the ball on the ground. ... That’s just undisciplined football, in my opinion. You can’t do that.”

Freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier has fumbled three times, losing two, and backup running back Andrew Van Buren has fumbled twice, losing one. Freshman running back George Holani and senior receiver Akilian Butler each coughed up the football once against Florida State, while the Broncos’ other fumble occurred on a bad snap against Marshall. Holani was able to pounce on that fumble for a 10-yard loss, taking the Broncos from the Marshall 18-yard line to the 28. The drive ended on an incomplete pass on fourth down.

“You talk about smelling blood and getting down there and wanting to put it in the end zone, you gotta truly have that in you. That’s gotta be part of your nature that you’re that close and you’re not gonna be denied,” Harsin said. “I don’t know if we have that. I don’t know if that’s what we have to keep emphasizing with our players or we’ve gotta do a better job with our schemes, whatever it is.

“But it’s not coming together right now the way we want it to and that’s not acceptable. That’s not where we want to be at this point.”

Boise State is tied for 94th in the nation in red zone conversions this season. The Broncos have had 12 drives inside an opponent’s 20-yard line. Five have resulted in field goals, four in touchdowns and three others came up empty. Perhaps even more telling, Boise State’s 1,058 yards (18th nationally) have resulted in only 50 points (84th).

“We can move the ball up and down the field, but who wants to be the great team between the 20-yard lines? Not us,” Harsin said. “We’ve got to find a way to score.”

Volleyball: Broncos’ Walley honored

Boise State senior outside hitter Janell Walley was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week after leading the Broncos to the Thunderbird Classic championship in Cedar City, Utah. Walley paced the Broncos (4-2) in hitting percentage and kills in three wins over Middle Tennessee State, Saint Mary’s (Calif.) and Southern Utah. She was chosen as the Thunderbird Classic MVP, totaling 53 kills, 30 digs, 14 blocks and four aces.

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