Bronco Beat

Boise State vs. New Mexico: Who gets the edge, players to watch in Mountain West tilt

Boise State kicker Haden Hoggarth 'living the dream'

Boise State junior kicker Haden Hoggarth talks about his path to the Broncos, which included two years out of football.
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Boise State junior kicker Haden Hoggarth talks about his path to the Broncos, which included two years out of football.

WHO GETS THE EDGE?

When the Broncos run the ball ...

Boise State has been OK on the ground thus far, averaging 3.5 yards per carry, buoyed by senior quarterback Montell Cozart’s scrambling abilities. The Broncos have not had a 100-yard rusher in their last four games. The last time they went five without one was during the 2008 season.

“We have that mentality like we’re going to be a downhill run team, and we’re going to try to keep establishing that,” offensive coordinator Zak Hill said. “... We’ve just got to stick with it and things will start popping.”

New Mexico has allowed 107 rushing yards thus far, and the game plan likely will be similar as last year against the Broncos, when the Lobos held Jeremy McNichols to 54 yards.

ADVANTAGE: New Mexico

When the Broncos pass the ball ...

If it’s senior quarterback Montell Cozart starting for Boise State, as expected, he might be in for a big passing day. Last season, Brett Rypien threw for five touchdowns against the Lobos, who keyed on stopping the run and used blitzes that left cornerbacks on an island.

“It’s the same defensive plan we saw last year,” Hill said. “They like to bring pressure — that can be both good and bad.”

Hill hopes Cozart can stay in the pocket “and not have to rely on his legs all the time.” Boise State has allowed eight sacks, but New Mexico has only three. The Lobos have yielded 675 passing yards this season to New Mexico State and Abilene Christian.

ADVANTAGE: Boise State

When the Lobos run the ball ...

The triple option has given the Broncos nightmares throughout the years, but they were actually pretty good against it last year. Though New Mexico got plenty of yardage, Boise State only allowed New Mexico past the Broncos’ 45-yard line once in the first half in 2016. Boise State’s young and athletic 2017 defense has given up just 98 yards on the ground.

New Mexico, No. 1 in the nation in rushing in 2016, is 40th entering Thursday’s game (217.5 yards per game). A raw offensive line has been unable to create gaps up the middle, and teams have sent ends and linebackers wide to prevent pitches and outside runs.

“There’s concern, because we’re not what we’ve been right now,” coach Bob Davie said.

ADVANTAGE: Push

When the Lobos pass the ball ...

Boise State’s young defensive backfield has been outstanding, holding Washington State’s prolific passing attack without a touchdown the first 52 minutes last week and Troy without one in the opener. The pass rush has been impressive, tied for sixth in the nation with nine sacks.

wsu game(3)
Boise State cornerback Reid Harrison-Ducros disrupts a pass intended for Washington State wide receiver Tavares Martin Jr. Young Kwak AP

New Mexico focused this offseason on adding some more balance into the run-heavy offense. The Lobos threw 179 times last season, sixth-fewest in the nation, but so far have doubled their rate, with 56 attempts in two games.

“There’s an added dimension there,” Boise State defensive coordinator Andy Avalos said.

ADVANTAGE: Boise State

Special teams

Minus Saturday’s bad luck bounce off Reid Harrison-Ducros on a punt that led to Washington State’s tying score, the Broncos have been much improved on special teams. They have a punt return touchdown and are 4-for-4 on field goals. Opponents have averaged 17.3 yards per kickoff return and 17 total yards on punt returns.

New Mexico has two great specialists in punter Corey Bojorquez (48.7-yard average, No. 4 in the FBS) and kicker Jason Sanders, who has made 11 field goals in a row.

“That guy has done a really good job. He’s been sharp,” Harsin said.

ADVANTAGE: Push

PLAYERS TO WATCH

BOISE STATE

Alexander Mattison, running back

The sophomore is picking up a larger workload, as his 13 and 14 carries the first two games are the third- and second-most of his young career. His 27 rushes for 145 yards and two touchdowns lead the team. Boise State hopes to get him going against a New Mexico defense that has been solid against the run.

“He’s still young, he’s got a ton of talent, he’s going to be a phenomenal back for us,” offensive coordinator Zak Hill said.

Tyson Maeva, linebacker

At 6-foot, 214 pounds, the sophomore from San Diego isn’t exactly your typical-sized middle linebacker. But in this day of needing an athletic, smart presence on defense, that’s what Maeva brings. At Washington State, he had 10 tackles, including a sack, and also tipped a pass that was intercepted by junior defensive end Durrant Miles.

“Tyson has a great footbal IQ, he’s very intelligent,” Boise State defensive coordinator Andy Avalos said. “He prepares like he’s been here three, four years. His leadership is starting to show up.”

0903 Sports BSU vs Troy 07
Boise State linebacker/end Curtis Weaver (99) celebrates a sack during the home opener against Troy. Kyle Green kgreen@idahostatesman.com

Curtis Weaver, end/linebacker

Avalos knows a thing or two about big men scoring long touchdowns. His 92-yard interception return in the 2004 Liberty Bowl earned a few light-hearted jabs. When Weaver ran a fumble back 55 yards for a score Saturday at Washington State, Avalos joked that “it seemed like 10 minutes.”

But the 6-foot-3, 252-pound Weaver, who has dropped 35 pounds in a year, played every snap that drive, adding to the fatigue. There’s good reason: in the redshirt freshman’s first two career games, he has two sacks to go with the touchdown.

“He’s a playmaker, and if you can’t tell from the last two games, it’s going to show up all year,” senior linebacker Gabe Perez said.

lamarjordan
New Mexico quarterback Lamar Jordan (13) throws a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Rutgers in 2016. Mel Evans AP

NEW MEXICO

Lamar Jordan, quarterback

He’s shifty, and the perfect type of triple-option quarterback to frustrate any defense. The Lobos went 7-1 last season when he started. He’s rushed for 2,202 yards and 15 touchdowns with 2,937 yards passing and 18 touchdowns. He struggled mightily last week against New Mexico State with two interceptions and minus-8 rushing yards. Redshirt freshman Tevaka Tuioti replaced him and led a near-comeback, but coach Bob Davie is confident in the senior.

“As a team we have to get better and Lamar realizes that he has to play better, but he is absolutely our starter,” Davie said.

Jay Griffin IV, wide receiver

During fall camp, Davie told Albuquerque TV station KOB: “Keep your eye on Griffin. ... (he’s a) take-it-to-the-house guy.” After redshirting last season, the 5-foot-10, 162-pounder has been as advertised. Griffin has seven receptions for 131 yards with two touchdowns and also has a 61-yard touchdown run on his only carry.

Jake Rothschiller, nickel

The senior is not your typical size for a nickel, at 5-foot-8 and 181 pounds, but he’s a playmaker. A former walk-on, he is on pace for a career year. Through two games, he leads the team with 14 tackles, three tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. He also has recovered a fumble and has a 91-yard interception return for a touchdown.

“He is an amazing, amazing guy,” Davie said.

BOISE STATE

DEPTH CHART

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

3 Montell Cozart OR

6-1

205

Sr.

4 Brett Rypien

6-2

208

Jr.

Tailback

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

22 Alexander Mattison OR

5-11

214

So.

21 Ryan Wolpin

5-8

195

Sr.

34 Robert Mahone

5-10

211

RFr.

Wide receiver (X)

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

1 Cedrick Wilson

6-3

188

Sr.

9 Bryan Jefferson

5-11

193

So.

Wide receiver (H)

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

28 A.J. Richardson

6-0

209

Jr

81 Akilian Butler

5-10

193

Jr.

Wide receiver (Z)

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

8 Sean Modster

5-11

196

Jr.

82 Octavius Evans

6-1

195

Fr.

Tight end

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

88 Jake Roh

6-3

227

Sr.

87 Alec Dhaenens

6-3

246

Sr.

Left tackle

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

76 Ezra Cleveland

6-6

296

RFr.

66 Isiah Moore

6-4

275

Jr.

Left guard

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

67 Garrett Larson

6-4

295

So.

52 Andrew Tercek

6-1

278

Sr.

Center

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

59 Mason Hampton

6-3

295

Sr.

71 Donte Harrington

6-2

298

RFr.

Right guard

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

77 John Molchon

6-5

313

So.

79 Eric Quevedo

6-4

304

So.

Right tackle

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

74 Archie Lewis

6-3

299

Sr.

78 Andres Preciado

6-6

292

Jr.

DEFENSE

Defensive end

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

91 Durrant Miles

6-5

253

Jr.

93 Chase Hatada OR

6-3

267

So.

45 Kayode Rufai

6-4

254

RFr.

Nose tackle

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

98 Sonatane Lui

6-1

305

So.

57 Emmanuel Fesili

6-2

302

So.

Defensive tackle

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

55 David Moa

6-3

271

Jr.

90 Daniel Auelua

6-2

298

Sr.

STUD end

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

53 Sam Whitney

6-2

231

So.

8 Jabril Frazier OR

6-4

243

Jr.

99 Curtis Weaver

6-3

252

RFr.

Weakside linebacker

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

38 Leighton Vander Esch

6-4

240

Jr.

44 Riley Whimpey

6-1

212

Fr.

Middle linebacker

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

58 Tyson Maeva

6-0

214

So.

25 Benton Wickersham

6-2

231

RFr.

Strongside linebacker

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

33 Gabe Perez

6-4

246

Sr.

9 Desmond Williams

5-11

201

RFr.

Boundary cornerback

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

14 Tyler Horton

5-11

188

Jr.

15 Jalen Walker OR

6-0

172

RFr.

6 Michael Young

6-0

211

Jr.

Field cornerback

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

27 Reid Harrison-Ducros

5-10

180

So.

26 Avery Williams

5-9

194

RFr.

Field safety

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

4 DeAndre Pierce

5-11

174

So.

32 Jordan Happle

5-11

198

RFr.

Boundary safety

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

10 Kekoa Nawahine

6-2

199

So.

37 Cameron Hartsfield

5-10

197

Sr.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

41 Haden Hoggarth OR

6-0

198

Jr.

46 Joel Velazquez

6-0

228

RFr.

Punter

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

46 Joel Velazquez OR

6-0

228

RFr.

49 Quinn Skillin

6-4

185

Jr.

Snappers

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

89 Brock Barr

6-3

204

Sr.

50 Nicholai Pitman

5-11

230

So.

Holder

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

49 Quinn Skillin

6-4

185

Jr.

Kick returner

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

1 Cedrick Wilson

6-3

188

Sr.

26 Avery Williams

5-9

194

RFr.

Punt returner

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

26 Avery Williams OR

5-9

194

RFr.

1 Cedrick Wilson

6-3

188

Sr.

SCHEDULE

Date

Opponent

Time/Result

Saturday, Sept. 2

Troy

W, 24-13

Saturday, Sept. 9

at Washington State

L, 47-44 (3OT)

Thursday, Sept. 14

New Mexico

6 p.m. (ESPN)

Friday, Sept. 22

Virginia

6 p.m. (ESPN2)

Friday, Oct. 6

at BYU

8:15 p.m. (ESPN)

Saturday, Oct. 14

at San Diego State

8:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

Saturday, Oct. 21

Wyoming

TBA (ESPN Networks)

Saturday, Oct. 28

at Utah State

8 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

Saturday, Nov. 4

Nevada

TBA (ESPN Networks)

Saturday, Nov. 11

at Colorado State

8:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

Saturday, Nov. 18

Air Force

TBA (ESPN Networks)

Saturday, Nov. 25

at Fresno State

1:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

NEW MEXICO

DEPTH CHART

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

13 Lamar Jordan

6-0

192

Sr.

16 Tevaka Tuioti

6-0

190

RFr.

Tailback

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

3 Richard McQuarley

5-11

221

Sr.

4 Romell Jordan

5-9

173

Sr.

Running back

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

25 Tyrone Owens

5-9

187

Jr.

20 Daryl Chestnut

5-8

192

Sr.

Wide receiver (H)

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

18 Chris Davis

5-7

175

Sr.

23 Jay Grifiin IV

5-10

162

RFr.

Wide receiver (Z)

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

8 Q’ Drennan

6-1

185

So.

2 Delane Hart-Johnson

6-4

213

Jr.

Tight end

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

89 Dyson Chmura

6-3

223

So.

10 Zahneer Shuler

6-1

235

Jr.

Left tackle

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

72 Avery Jordan

6-5

265

Jr.

79 Chris Estrella

6-5

288

So.

Left guard

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

74 Ray Baylor III

6-3

293

Sr.

77 Charlie Grammel

6-3

310

So.

Center

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

59 Blaise Fountain

6-1

280

Sr.

69 Beau Hott

6-3

275

So.

Right guard

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

55 Aaron Jenkins

6-2

307

Jr.

71 Kameron Smith

6-7

320

RFr.

Right tackle

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

78 Israel Castellanos

6-4

266

So.

50 Teton Saltes

6-5

270

RFr.

DEFENSE

Left defensive end

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

53 Cody Baker

6-3

274

Jr.

98 Kene Okonkwo

6-3

272

Sr.

Nose tackle

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

96 Johnny Williams

6-2

303

Sr.

92 Jermane Conyers

6-2

326

Jr.

Defensive tackle

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

95 Garrett Hughes

6-2

264

Sr.

55 Emmanuel Joseph

6-4

260

RFr.

Rush end

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

99 Rhashaun Epting

6-3

219

RFr.

29 Jordan Flack

6-3

220

Jr.

Weakside linebacker

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

6 Austin Ocasio

6-1

223

Sr.

26 Sitivena Tamaivena

6-1

230

Jr.

Middle linebacker

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

33 Alex Hart

6-2

234

Jr.

45 Evahelotu Tohi

6-2

236

Jr.

Nickel

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

28 Jake Rothschiller

5-8

181

Sr.

35 Kenneth Maxwell

6-0

193

Sr.

Cornerback

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

3 D’Angelo Ross

5-8

175

Jr.

19 Elijah Lilly

5-10

152

So.

Cornerback

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

13 Jalin Burrell

6-0

195

Jr.

21 Corey Hightower

5-11

175

Fr.

Free safety

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

4 Bijon Parker

6-0

195

Jr.

5 Michael Sewell, Jr.

6-1

193

Jr.

Strong safety

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

16 Jacob Girgle

5-11

187

Jr.

9 Stanley Barnwell, Jr.

6-2

198

Jr.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

95 Jason Sanders

5-11

190

Sr.

94 Andrew Shelley

6-1

179

Fr.

Punter

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

30 Corey Bojorquez

6-0

200

Sr.

95 Jason Sanders

5-11

190

Sr.

Snappers

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

34 Jared EnRico

6-1

299

RFr.

97 Lon Hampton

6-1

231

Jr.

Holder

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

30 Corey Bojorquez

6-0

200

Sr.

16 Tevaka Tuioti

6-0

190

RFr.

Kick returner

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

19 Elijah Lilly

5-10

152

So.

20 Daryl Chestnut

5-8

192

Sr.

Punt returner

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

18 Chris Davis

5-7

175

Sr.

4 Romell Jordan

5-9

173

Sr.

SCHEDULE

Date

Opponent

Time/Result

Saturday, Sept. 2

Abilene Christian

W, 38-14

Saturday, Sept. 9

New Mexico State

L, 30-28

Thursday, Sept. 14

at Boise State

6 p.m. (ESPN)

Saturday, Sept. 23

at Tulsa

11:30 a.m. (ESPN3)

Saturday, Sept. 30

Air Force

5 p.m. (CBS Sports)

Saturday, Oct. 14

at Fresno State

8 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 20

Colorado State

8:15 p.m. (ESPN2)

Saturday, Oct. 28

at Wyoming

TBA (ESPN Networks)

Saturday, Nov. 4

Utah State

3:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 11

at Texas A&M

TBA

Friday, Nov. 17

UNLV

7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

Friday, Nov. 24

at San Diego State

1:30 p.m. (CBS Sports)

Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @davesouthorn

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