Week one is behind us, and the Broncos are headed home after a huge 56-20 victory over Troy.
Let’s revisit some of the critical points that I covered in my preview and see how they turned out for the Broncos:
The Quarterback Battle:
Rypien needed to have a good game and take care of the ball for the Broncos. The Trojans were breaking in a new quarterback in Junior Kaleb Barker.
Verdict: Rypien was unbelievable in the first half. He looked sharp, and the inexperienced wide receiver core stepped up to the plate. I won’t judge Rypien too much for his second half performance; he didn’t have many opportunities with the conservative play calling.
The Battle in the Trenches:
Last year, the Broncos offensive line struggled to provide protection for Rypien. Outside of a 49 yard touchdown run by Alexander Mattison, the run game was pretty ineffective. The Broncos needed a strong showing from the offensive line to come out on top.
Verdict: The Broncos missed starting defensive tackle David Moa. They were solid, but there were some issues with stopping Barker when he took off. They were able to get consistent pressure on Barker and Shields with five sacks. It is hard to gauge the defensive struggles in the second half when they were playing with a huge lead.
In the Harsin era, the Broncos rarely lose games when they take care of the ball. Rypien also has a tendency to throw interceptions in bunches. Were the Broncos able to avoid a turnover plagued game on the road?
Verdict: The Broncos absolutely dominated the turnover battle forcing and recovering three fumbles and one amazing interception by Idaho transfer linebacker Tony Lashley. Horton returned two fumbles for touchdowns. The Broncos had 21 points off of turnovers to 7 for the Trojans.
Boise State 31- Troy 10
Verdict: Boise State 56- Troy 20. I underestimated the Bronco offense and their ability to generate points on defense. Rypien looked like the quarterback Bronco fans expected. If the Broncos can do a better job of establishing the run game, they are going to be dangerous.
Special Teams Player of the Game:
The special teams struggled...big time. I’m not going to go with a player; I am going to go with the kickoff coverage unit. They did an excellent job keeping the dynamic Trojan return game in check. The Trojans never passed the 25 yard line.
Defensive Player of the Game:
Senior cornerback Tyler Horton. Horton was involved in three of the four turnovers. Horton deflected a pass that was intercepted by Tony Lashley. He also returned two fumbles for touchdowns, including one pretty impressive return. Hopefully Horton gets used to taking a seat on the new turnover throne.
Offensive Player of the Game:
Senior wide receiver Sean Modster. I could have easily selected Rypien, but Modster flew under the radar most of the off-season. The Broncos were without Octavius Evans, who many expect to be the best wide receiver for the Broncos. Modster did the majority of his damage in the first half and finished the game with 7 receptions for 167 yards and 2 touchdowns.