By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman
TOUGH YEAR FOR BRONCOS’ DEFENSE
The numbers aren’t pretty for the Boise State defense this season:
— The Broncos are allowing 25.2 points per game, the worst for the program since 2004 (25.7).
— They’re allowing 438.2 yards per game, the worst since 1997 (438.8).
— They’re allowing 269 passing yards per game, the worst since 1998 (269.9). By comparison, the Broncos allowed 254.7 total yards per game in 2010.
— They’re minus-1 in turnover ratio, the worst since 2005 (minus-10).
— And in the NCAA rankings, they’re 53rd in scoring defense — and lower that that in every other major defensive category. The Broncos have finished in the top 14 in scoring defense each of the past five years.
— Yards per game could be misleading because of the number of snaps the Broncos are facing with all of the up-tempo offenses. For example, the Broncos’ opponents have run more plays this year than they did in the complete 11-game schedule in 1997. But if you go by yards per play, the Broncos have allowed 5.4 this year — the worst since 1998 (5.4).
Defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said the players’ mentality is right, but the inexperience and injuries have led to breakdowns.
“Guys show up every week and they practice well and they’re into it,” he said. “Their mentality is where we want it to be. We’ve got some guys playing out of position. We’ve got guys that haven’t played a lot. It’s a combination of things, but we’re getting better. We’re probably not where we’d like to be, but eventually we’ll get there.”
Said sophomore safety Dillon Lukehart: “We know we’ve got to come together and play for each other and finish this thing out strong.”
NOTES & QUOTES
— Boise State junior cornerback Bryan Douglas tore an anterior cruciate ligament last year at Wyoming. That was just over a year ago. Doctors told him it would take two years for him to forget he ever had surgery, but he says he’s doing better than that. “I feel great,” he said, “like I didn’t have surgery right now. I think the surgeon did a great job.”
— Boise State has scored touchdowns on 44 of its 116 offensive possessions this season — a 37.9 percent success rate that ranks 12th in the nation.
Monday blog: Notes from Monday’s press conference
Tuesday story: Big stakes for Broncos in last three games
Tuesday blog: Wyoming has been inconsistent
Tuesday blog: Mountain West Football Report
Wednesday story: Wyoming seeks complete game
Wednesday story: Rocky Mountain athlete commits to Boise State
Wednesday blog: Broncos hope to get Matt Miller the ball more
Thursday story: Grant Hedrick fitting in as Broncos’ starting QB
Name the Score Contest
Thursday blog: Nick Patti benefits from Southwick’s absence, too
Friday story: Are injuries, high snap counts related?
Live chat: You can read the replay below.
The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle coverage can be found here.
Beat writer Robert Gagliardi is on Twitter, @rpgagliardi.
Wyoming at Boise State
When: 8:21 p.m. Saturday
Where: Bronco Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf)
TV: ESPN2 (Mark Jones, Brock Huard, Jessica Mendoza)
Radio: KBOI (670AM), KKGL (96.9 FM); Bob Behler, Pete Cavender
Records: Boise State is 6-3 overall, 4-1 Mountain West; Wyoming is 4-5, 2-3
Series: Boise State leads 7-0 (last meeting: BSU 45-14, 2012, in Laramie, Wyo.)