Boise State Broncos
Offense: C+ | Defense: A | Special Teams: A- | Meeting/Exceeding Expectations: B
The Broncos offense has certainly been on a journey in its first six games, undergoing changes on and off the field at key positions, but after bottoming out in a demoralizing road loss at UTEP, Boise State has bounced back with an aggressive rushing attack to average over six yards per play in recent wins over San Diego State and Fresno State.
Will they be able to keep that momentum as the season progresses? On the aggregate, the Broncos currently rank 79th overall in averaging 2.14 points per drive, but they bested that against both the Aztecs and Bulldogs in their last two games. Much will depend on the continued development of new quarterback Taylen Green, who’s flashed dangerous wheels (7.6 yards per carry, four rushing touchdowns) but still has work to do as a passer (60.9% completion rate, 5.9 yards per attempt, two TDs, three INTs).
The defense, at least, has held up its end of the bargain as expected. Boise State currently boasts a 9% team sack rate, 16th among FBS teams, and has allowed just 1.5 points per drive (20th) and 27.4% of available yards per drive (fifth). Even if the offense falters on occasion going forward, this seasoned unit is good enough to keep them in games every week down the stretch.
On special teams, James Ferguson-Reynolds has been a modest improvement on Joel Velazquez while Jonah Dalmas, other than a couple of uncharacteristic chip shot misses against Oregon State, has been as reliable as ever.
Head of the Class: Ezekiel Noa, LB
The veteran linebacker has long been a steady influence for the Boise State defense, but he’s taken his overall game to a whole new level and picked up a lot of slack as the unit has battled injuries elsewhere. With 28 tackles, six tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception to date, it’s little surprise that Noa has accrued an overall PFF grade of 90.2, the second-best among all FBS linebackers.
One Player Deserving of More Attention: George Tarlas, DE
It took a little while for the Weber State transfer to get going, but he’s been every bit as impactful as the blue and orange faithful thought he’d be coming into the season with six tackles for loss, six quarterback hurries, and three sacks, all of which culminate in a 88.9 PFF grade that’s the best among all Mountain West pass rushers so far.