Coach: Hugh Freeze, 17-8, 7-6 (2nd year with Rebels)
Conference: Southeastern Conference
2013 Record: 8-5
Bowl game: 2013 Music City Bowl vs Georgia Tech, w 25-17
Five key players: QB Bo Wallace, WR Laquon Treadwell, TE Evan Engram, LB Denzel Nkemdiche, FS Cody Prewitt
First year BSU head coach Bryan Harsin and his Boise State Broncos will open their season with the Ole Miss Rebels at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in the Georgia Dome, Atlanta, on August 28. The last time Boise State was in the Dome was in September 2011 to take down #19 Georgia, 35-21. A lot of water has passed under that bridge since then and if there is a matchup to draw national attention in the preseason, this is it.
The Broncos enter the fray with all new coaches but an experienced team that is intent on returning to its former greatness. An early matchup with an SEC team that is expected to challenge LSU for the SEC West division championship could set the tone for the rest of the season.
Here is a sneak-peek at the Ole Miss Rebels:
Offensive overview: There is a reason Ole Miss is ranked at #19 in at least one preseason poll. They bring 16 returning starters in key postions, and six of them are on the offense. Senior QB Bo Wallace is one of them. Last season he completed 283 of 437 pass attempts for 3346 yards and 18 TD’S. A good portion of those passes went to WR Laquon Treadwell. Treadwell and TE Evan Engram are expected to be the main targets of Wallace’s passes. But Wallace was also sacked 24 times and that could be a weakness the Broncos defenders could exploit. The Rebel ground game will be handled primarily by two excellent running backs: Jaylen Walton, 5-8, 168 lbs, and I'Tavius Mathers, 5-11, 189 lbs.
Defensive overview: The Rebels return 10 starters on defense and that will be huge for a team that was ranked 38th nationally in total defense. Two of those are a pair of brothers in DT Robert Nkemdiche and LB Denzel Nkemdiche. Two other starters augmenting the defense are CB’s Senquez Golson and Mike Hilton. Those four alone could force the Broncos to air it out if their runners can’t penetrate the Rebel defense. But a passing attack could be just as problematic. Waiting downfield will be All-American safety Cody Prewitt, one of the top DBs in the SEC. He’s a monster in the Rebel secondary. Last season he chalked up 71 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and led the SEC with 6 interceptions.
Seasonal predictions: A 9-4 finish that includes an appearance for Ole Miss in the Gator Bowl vs a Big 10 opponent.
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