Middle linebacker Ezekiel Noa left Boise State’s game against Air Force last Friday in the middle of the third quarter and never returned.
He was seen after the game on crutches, and the Broncos announced on Tuesday that Noa sustained a torn ACL and broken wrist, effectively ending his season.
Noa, who moved from weakside to middle linebacker at the start of the season, leads the Broncos in tackles with 28. The 5-foot-11, 242-pound redshirt sophomore also has three tackles for loss, one sack and one quarterback hurry. Despite an early exit against Air Force, Noa set a career high for tackles in the game with 10.
This is the third time in two seasons Boise State has lost its leading tackler to an injury. The Broncos lost Riley Whimpey (ACL) and DeAndre Pierce (lacerated spleen) in 2018. Pierce was injured again in the 2019 opener against Florida State and has been seen wearing a boot.
Because Noa played in only four games this season, he could be a candidate for a sixth year of eligibility.
Junior Benton Wickersham is listed as Noa’s backup on Boise State’s most recent depth chart. Wickersham has appeared in all four games this season and has 11 total tackles. Boise State’s other middle linebackers are redshirt junior Bruno DeRose, redshirt freshman Phillip Mills, junior Josh Booker-Brown and redshirt freshman DJ Schramm.
DeRose, who was put on scholarship during fall camp, is currently a backup at weakside linebacker to Whimpey. DeRose has appeared in all four games this season with two tackles.
Schramm and Mills both played against Portland State but did not record any stats. Booker-Brown has not yet been on the field for the Broncos.
Boise State’s weakside linebackers in addition to Whimpey and DeRose are freshman Tyler Crowe, redshirt freshman Brandon Hawkins and redshirt junior Nick Provenzano.