By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman
The Boise State football team’s defense has played its best run defense of the year the past two weeks.
The Broncos allowed 55 yards on 31 carries to Wyoming (1.77 yards per carry). The Cowboys had been averaging 211.9 rushing yards per game and 5.6 yards per carry.
The Broncos followed that performance by holding San Diego State to 61 rushing yards on 45 carries (1.36 yards per carry). The Aztecs had been averaging 176.8 yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry.
Before the two-game hot streak, Boise State had allowed 169.2 rushing yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry. Fresno State was the only other team not to rush for 100 yards against Boise State. Three teams rushed for at least 200 yards.
“They’re playing as well as they have all year,” defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said of the front seven. “We’ve just got to keep going and finish this last one up because the challenge we’ve got this week is, phew, probably the hardest of the year — harder than Air Force, just because of all the formations and all the motions and how they outnumber you on the perimeter.”
New Mexico and its triple-option offense visit Bronco Stadium on Saturday night (8:21 p.m., ESPN2). The Lobos rank fifth in the nation in rushing with 309.6 yards per game and first in the Mountain West with a 6.2-yard average per carry and 38 rushing touchdowns. They score 34.2 points per game — more than any Mountain West team other than Fresno State (46.8) and Boise State (38.2).
The Lobos gave the Broncos a major scare last year in Albuquerque before losing 32-29.
“They commit to (the run) and they keep hammering away and they get those 3, 4, 5 yards and that’s how those drives extend,” Kwiatkowski said, “so we’ve got to find a way to hold them to 1, 2 yards or get negative plays.”
The Lobos lost their quarterback and top running back to concussions, but that won’t affect their production, Kwiatkowski said.
“It’s a system deal,” he said.
NOTES & QUOTES
— Kwiatkowski on what stands out about the senior class on defense: “How small it is.” Of the 16 seniors, only five play defense and two start.
— Senior wide receiver Aaron Burks, on the play on which he slipped and San Diego State ended up with a pick six: “That would have been a completion.” Coach Chris Petersen also has said the play was not quarterback Grant Hedrick’s fault.
— Kwiatkowski said cornerback Mercy Maston was supposed to play press coverage on the final play against San Diego State. He played off receiver Colin Lockett, who broke off his route at the goal line and caught the game-winning TD pass in front of Maston.
NEW MEXICO COVERAGE
Albuquerque Journal coverage can be found here.
You can follow beat writer Rick Wright on Twitter at @burquerick.