Boise State QB Joe Southwick makes Unitas award’s top 15

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com
© 2013 Idaho Statesman

SOUTHWICK MAKES UNITAS LIST

The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award cut its watch list from 30 to 15 quarterbacks Wednesday. Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick made the list. Others of note include Fresno State’s Derek Carr, Nevada’s Cody Fajardo, Arizona State’s Taylor Kelly (Eagle High) and Washington’s Keith Price. The rest: UCF’s Blake Bortles, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Missouri’s James Franklin, Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch, Oregon State’s Sean Mannion, Alabama’s AJ McCarron, Miami’s Stephen Morris, Georgia’s Aaron Murray, South Carolina’s Connor Shaw and Ball State’s Keith Wenning.

The award goes to the top quarterback who is a senior or fourth-year junior on track to graduate with his class. Collin Klein of Kansas State won last year.

Southwick is fourth in the nation in completion percentage (72.3), ninth in completions per game (24.8) and 31st in pass efficiency (149.9).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF ANNOUNCES COMMITTEE

The 13-member committee and some of its process were revealed Wednesday. Here is ESPN’s story.

NEVADA COACH PRAISES, ANALYZES BRONCOS

Nevada football coach Brian Polian spent the first 10 minutes of his weekly press conference mostly talking about Boise State. Here are some highlights:

— “I know this game is important to our fan base. The two things I heard about when I got here were UNLV first and Boise second. Those are the two games that I was constantly told about. Since 2001, we’ve beaten (the Broncos) one time. That’s not lost on us, either. Coach Petersen is 88-10 there. They’ve been the standard and we’re chasing them down.”

— “On offense, one thing that has stuck out to me having watched them as a fan for a bunch of years now and then watching them this year, the offense is constantly evolving. Years past, it would be tons of shifting and motions and trying to formation you. There’s a lot of pistol concepts in there (this year) — so that’s good for us in terms of our defense is going to see some things that they’ve seen throughout spring ball and training camp. … They’ve done a nice job tailoring what they do on offense to accentuate the strengths of their personnel. If I had a back that was 6-foot and 220 (Jay Ajayi) and can run like that guy runs, I’d run it a ton, too. He’s going to be hard to handle for us.”

— “(Quarterback Joe) Southwick, he’s a veteran, he’s played a lot of games. He manages the game very well. He’s become a far more dangerous passer this year than in years past. … Teams have said, ‘OK, we’re going to do everything we can to stop the run and you’ve got to beat us and I think he’s proving that he’s capable of doing that.”

— “Defensively, the first thing you see when you watch tape is they play really hard. Everybody runs to the football. They’re aggressive both by physical demeanor and play calling, which is impressive given that they’re pretty young on defense.”

— “On special teams, they are difference-making in the return game. … In order for us to have a chance to win this game, we have got to win the coverage units. We’ve got to cover on punts and we’ve got to cover on kickoffs.”

— “I’d much rather play (at Bronco Stadium) than … I was part of some games in the MAC, you go to the Akron Rubber Bowl in late November and play in front of 3,000 strong, in 40 degrees and raining sideways, that’s no fun. Playing in front of a full house and rowdy crowd in a great atmosphere, that’s fun. We’ve talked to the team about, let’s go enjoy the moment.”

— “If a young man is going to get a Pac-12 offer, he’s going to look at Oregon and USC and that’s the one he’s hoping to get. If a guy knows he’s a Mountain West player, let’s face it, Boise is pretty high profile and rightfully so. Guys who get Mountain West offers, often (Boise State) is the one that they’re looking for.”

— “When you look at Boise in every facet of their program, they’re the torch-bearer for what was the WAC and now is the Mountain West — their facilities, the fanaticism of the fan base, the way they recruit, the way they play. They established something there a long time ago and they’ve kept it going and it’s been really good. I have no problem pointing at them and saying that’s what we want to build this thing towards. I don’t think that’s disrespectful to anybody here and I don’t think it’s undue praise to them. … They’ve built a really, really good program and that’s something I’d like people to say about us 10 years from now.”

NOTES & QUOTES

— Boise State long snapper Kevin Keane has been granted a medical redshirt for his true freshman season at Ohio Wesleyan, where he played three games as a long snapper in 2011 before breaking a wrist. That makes Keane a true sophomore, instead of a true junior, at Boise State. He will have two more seasons of eligibility after this year and could redshirt if needed. Keane did not have to sit out a year when he transferred under a rare exception in NCAA rules — he did not receive scholarship money from, and was not recruited by, Ohio Wesleyan.

— Boise State men’s basketball coach Leon Rice will serve as grand marshal of the homecoming parade at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The parade route begins at the Brady Garage on University and travels down University to Denver. The basketball team will be in the parade, too.

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OUR COVERAGE

Monday blog: Notes and video from the weekly press conference
Tuesday blog: Mountain West Football Report
Tuesday story: Broncos need more production at tailback
Wednesday story: Not much has changed at Nevada
Wednesday story: Scouting Nevada
Wednesday story: Boise State seeks to extend Nike contract

Live chat: 11:30 a.m. Thursday (sign up for a reminder below)

•••

GAME NOTES

Boise State game notes
Boise State depth chart
Boise State stats
Nevada game notes
Mountain West notes

•••

NEVADA COVERAGE

Reno Gazette-Journal

You can follow beat writer Dan Hinxman at @danhinxmanRGJ.

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GAME FACTS

Nevada at Boise State

When: 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: Bronco Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf)

TV: CBS Sports Network (Dave Ryan, Adam Archuleta, Evan Washburn); channel 332/410 (HD) on Cable One, 221 on DirecTV and 158 on Dish Network

Radio: KBOI (670AM), KKGL (96.9 FM); Bob Behler, Pete Cavender

Records: Boise State is 4-2 overall, 2-1 Mountain West; Nevada is 3-3, 2-1

Series: Boise State leads 26-13 (BSU 27-21, 2012 in Reno)


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Chadd Cripe has spent the past 12 years as the Boise State football beat writer. You can follow him on Twitter @IDS_BroncoBeat.

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