#22 Boise State Football 2015 Preview

Boise State Broncos

Overall Rank: #22
#1 Mountain West

Boise State Team Page#22 Boise State Football 2015 PreviewBuy Boise State Football Tickets

Boise State survived another coaching change with no drop-off. Coach Bryan Harsin led his team to a 12 win season, including a win over Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl. After a loss to Ole Miss in the season opener and a surprising loss at Air Force in late September, the Broncos looked really good. With 17 starters returning, this is another team that should win a dozen games.

2014 Record: 12-2, 7-1
2014 Bowl: Fiesta Bowl vs. Arizona (W 38-30)
Coach: Bryan Harsin (12-2 at Boise State, 20-7 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Eliah Drinkwitz
Defensive Coordinator: Marcel Yates

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Shane Williams-Rhodes, WR, 179 yards
Passing: Ryan Finley, QB, 161 yards
Receiving: Thomas Sperbeck, WR, 877 yards
Tackles: Tanner Vallejo, LB, 100
Sacks: Kamalei Correa, DE, 12.0
Interceptions: Darian Thompson, S, 7

Other Key Returnees: WR Chaz Anderson, TE Jake Roh, OL Marcus Henry, OL Rees Odhiambo, LB Ben Weaver, CB Donte Deayon, LB Tyler Gray

Key Losses: RB Jay Ajayi, QB Grant Hedrick, WR Matt Miller, S Corey Bell, DE Beau Martin, K Dan Goodale

The defense last season was inconsistent, but they dominated at times. Many of those times came late in the year when the Broncos held Wyoming, Utah State and Fresno State to a grand total of just 47 points in a three game stretch heading into the Fiesta Bowl. Boise State ranked seventh with 3.36 sacks per game and that number could even go up with the return of Kamalei Correa, who tallied 12.0 sacks last season. Tyler Horn returns after missing last season to add even more depth to an amazingly deep line that includes Armand Nance, Sam McCaskill, Tutulupeatau Mataele and Elliot Hoyte. Linebacker Gabe Perez is no stranger when it comes to getting into the backfield and Tanner Vallejo led the team with 100 tackles and 16.5 tackles-for-loss last year. But it is actually the secondary that could be the best unit of them all. Safety Darian Thompson intercepted seven passes last year and cornerback Donte Deayon added six more. Jonathan Moxey is an underappreciated corner opposite of Deayon and this could be the year he starts to earn more respect.

The offense, which ranked in the top 15 in the nation in total offense and scoring offense, returns nine starters. That sounds nice, but the lost starters are quarterback Grant Hedrick and running back Jay Ajayi. During his senior season, Hedrick threw for 3,696 yards and 23 touchdowns. Sophomore Ryan Finley is the experienced option to replace Hedrick, but he has attempted just 27 passes in his collegiate career. Freshman Brett Rypien is highly regarded and has the talent to unseat Finley. Tommy Stuart and Alex Ogle are still in the mix heading into the fall as well. Replacing Ajayi and his 1,823 rushing yards and 32 total touchdowns could be a bigger issue. Jeremy McNichols and Stanford transfer Kelsey Young will likely split carries this year. McNichols totaled 17 carries for 159 yards last year, but it remains to be seen if he can handle 200 or more carries in a season.

The Bottom Line:
Whoever fills in for Hedrick and Ajayi will certainly benefit from the return of five starting offensive linemen, top receiver Thomas Sperbeck and versatile tight end Jake Roh. This team might need a little time to replace Hedrick and Ajayi, and not having Ajayi’s toughness in the backfield could be problematic all season long, but Boise State should still win the MW. It is three early season games against Washington, BYU and Virginia that could potentially keep the Broncos out of the big bowls. And really those games are only a bit of a concern because they are early in the season when Boise State may not have their quarterback situation settled.

Projected Bowl: Peach Bowl

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 213.9 (29th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 280.4 (23, 2)
Total Offense: 494.3 (14, 1)
Scoring Offense: 39.7 (9, 1)
Rushing Defense: 142.6 (36, 3)
Pass Defense: 232.9 (74, 7)
Total Defense: 375.4 (48, 4)
Scoring Defense: 26.8 (63, 5)
Turnover Margin: 0.50 (30, 3)
Sacks: 3.36 (7, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 2.00 (56, 6)


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