It had been nearly 650 days since Boise State had taken the field in front of fans at Albertsons Stadium. The stands were nearly packed, there was an excitement in the air, and Bronco Nation was ready to go. Boise State was able to overcome a slow start to run away with a 54-13 victory over UTEP on Friday night. Let’s take a look at how each unit performed.
Offensive Grade: A-
I could justify giving an A. But the offense got a lot of help with field position thanks to the defense forcing six turnovers. Also, the running game still struggled to find a groove. The emphasis of the game was obviously to get Hank Bachmeier in a groove and save George Holani for Oklahoma State. Boise State was down two starting offensive lineman. They will need a healthy Jake Stetz if they are going to have a chance against the Cowboys next week.
Khalil Shakir had another magical performance making a number of dazzling catches and finishing the game with 7 receptions for 166 yards. Stefan Cobbs and Tyneil Hopper both had touchdown catches on great RPO calls. Cobbs was seen in a boot during the second half after suffering an ankle injury. His status is unclear for next weekend.
Defensive Grade: B
Six forced turnovers is impressive. There is no denying that. But Boise State could not get a pass rush and struggled early against the run. They cleaned up a lot of their issues and held the Miners scoreless in the second half, but there is still a lot of room for growth on this side of the ball. Riley Whimpey will be out for the first half of the Oklahoma State game after being ejected for a questionable targeting call.
Special Teams Grade: A+
A punt return for a touchdown, a long kickoff return, 4-4 on field goals, and two punts pinned inside the ten yard line. The Broncos were flawless on special teams and outside of one bad snap against UCF; they have looked great through two games. Joel Velazquez is off to his best start as a punter, and Jonah Dalmas has been money on kicks. The punt return touchdown by Stefan Cobbs was beautifully blocked. Truly a great showing for this unit.
Next week, the Broncos will host the Oklahoma State Cowboys in a Saturday night showdown on FS1. What stood out to you about the Broncos’ performance on Friday night? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.