Over/Under Performers Week 6: Boise State vs. UNLV
A statistical look at Broncos win over the Rebels.
Who deserves some recognition this week and who had an off week against the Rebels?
The Boise State Broncos once again left Las Vegas victorious after defeating the UNLV Rebels 38-13, even sneaking in a backdoor cover with a late Andrew Van Buren rushing touchdown. While it was a comfortable victory, it was nowhere near a perfect performance. Let’s take a look at some of the over and underperformers for last Saturday’s matchup.
John Hightower– Mr. Hightower had himself quite a day against the Rebels. Not only did he have 4 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown, he also had 2 carries for 51 yards, and a near kickoff return for a touchdown (it was called back on a holding penalty). Hightower continues to show off his speed and his big play potential, averaging nearly 18 yards a catch and 12 yards a rush. He will continue to factor into the Bronco’s success moving forward on both offense and special teams.
Khalil Shakir– Khalil Shakir may not have been too commonly known before the season, but he has shown that his 2018 moments were not just a flash in the pan. Shakir continued his campaign to be the Broncos leading receiver in 2019 with a 7 catch, 111 yard, and one touchdown performance on Saturday. His most notable point of improvement is showing that he is a dependable every-down option at receiver, rather than a big play option only. The Broncos continue to show their embarrassment of riches at receiver, with three receivers amassing over 300 yards and at least two touchdowns.
Curtis Weaver– The Mountain West Pre-Season Defensive Player of the Year has been a regular in the Helmet Stickers portion of this article. His performance on Saturday did nothing to change that. Weaver had 6 tackles, 4 solo tackles, and 3 sacks against the Rebels. Saturday’s game marks the second time thus far this season where Weaver has achieved at least 3 sacks in a single game. His 3 sacks also vaulted him past TCU great Jerry Hughes, into first place for the Mountain West Career Sack Leader at 30. Curtis now sets his sights on chasing breaking a second record held by Hughes with 15 sacks in a single season. Weaver has 9 sacks on the year and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Joel Velazquez– The special teams unit was called out by Bryan Harsin after the Air Force game and during the bye for their inconsistent performance thus far in 2019. One of the units specifically mentioned was the punt team, which Harsin himself coaches.
Mr. Velazquez has found himself on the wrong side of this article in the past for poor net punting performance. Against UNLV, Joel appeared to turn things around, registering a solid day punting the ball and getting on the scoreboard for the first time in 2019 with a 52 field goal bomb and an extra point. He punted the ball eight times, averaging 42.9 yards per kick and registering a long of 56 yards. Hopefully this performance jumpstarts his confidence for the rest of the season, so he can continue to help the Broncos win the field position battle.
Back to the Film Room
Boise State’s Discipline– This is typically not something that a Boise State team would struggle with, but the Broncos had a season high ten penalties for 130 yards, including multiple personal fouls and an unsportsmanlike conduct. Bronco penalties took 7 points off the board on a would-of-been kickoff return touchdown. Penalties also directly resulted in propelling UNLV down the field for their first touchdown and extended other Rebel possessions. This level of discipline should and needs to improve moving forward towards tougher opponents on the conference slate.
Robert Mahone– Mahone burst on the scene in 2019 with a huge performance against Florida State to the tune of 142 yards and 2 touchdowns. Since then he has managed just 35 carries for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns, good for four yards per carry.
Against UNLV his performance dipped further when he ran the ball 9 times for 13 yards, good for just 1.4 yards per carry. Mahone also lost a fumble in the contest, an issue that has plagued him thus far in his Boise State career. He needs to find some consistency moving forward if he is going to be a major factor in the offense as the Broncos continue to navigate conference play.
That’s it for this week, check back to see which players or position groups continue to impress and which need to go back to the film room!