Highlights of Jay Ajayi and Aaron Baltazar from the Washington game (courtesy of BroncoSports.com)
RB Jay Ajayi talks to the media
By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman
Boise State sophomore tailback Jay Ajayi impressed in his starting debut Saturday at Washington.
Ajayi was responsible for many of the Huskies’ 17 missed tackles, barreling his way to 93 yards on 23 carries. He was so determined to stay on his feet that coach Chris Petersen said Ajayi needs to learn when it’s time to go to the ground.
“I understand there are times I need to cut my losses,” Ajayi said. “There was a play where the play was dead and the fighter in me didn’t want to go down. I ended up losing a couple of yards. There is that part of me where I need to understand where we’re at on the field, what the situation is and maybe cut my losses a little bit, but at the same time I’m still going to run as hard as I can. It’s not going to change my mentality at all.”
The running of Ajayi and true freshman backup Aaron Baltazar (10 carries, 49 yards), with a nod to the offensive line that opened the holes, was the one element of the offense that coach Chris Petersen was pleased with in the opener.
The pistol formation fits because the two big backs are able to hit the line of scrimmage with momentum.
“You’re downhill faster,” Ajayi said.
Ajayi (6-foot, 220 pounds) has lost weight since last season and removed the knee brace he wore in his return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He feels better than last year, when he averaged 6.7 yards per carry.
“Getting to put the whole thing together for a game, it was amazing,” Ajayi said. “I was happy I didn’t have to wear the brace. I felt free out there. I felt faster just because of the weight difference as well.”
He said the short-yardage failures that haunted the Broncos’ offense were partly on him.
“Just my mentality, I have to make sure I fight for those yards and I have to get them,” he said.
He was impressed with Baltazar (5-10, 215), who seems likely to become the first true freshman tailback to rush for 100 yards since D.J. Harper in 2007.
“Aaron is a talented kid,” Ajayi said. “One of the main things he came in well with is he was able to grasp our pass protection really well. That’s a big deal to be able to step out on the field.”
Ajayi, Baltazar and sophomore Jack Fields (four carries, 7 yards) give the Broncos a deep backfield that should be together for three years.
“It’s exciting, just because of the fact we’re all still pretty young and we all still have a lot left to play,” Ajayi said. “We’re constantly coming every day ready to work, ready to improve and just to try to be the best. … We’re very hungry.”
NOTES & QUOTES
— Coach Chris Petersen on defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, who was mostly neutralized by Washington’s up-tempo offense: “They’re smart. They slid the protection to him and threw a lot of quick game (short passes). And if you can execute those things a little bit with the run game, it’s a pretty good offense. You don’t have to stand back there and hold the ball. He’s going to have to be patient and strike when he can.”
— UT Martin coach Jason Simpson wasn’t happy to see his team fall short of cracking the FCS Top 25 this week (30th in The Sports Network poll, 29th in the NCAA poll). UTM was 8-3 last year and beat a ranked Chattanooga team in its opener. “You want your players to get national recognition,” he said. “That doesn’t help you this week, it doesn’t help you next week, I understand all that. But we deserve to be in there. … After that one week, that’s something I think (the players) deserve.”
— Boise State has recycled the pieces of the old video board, which was taken down Monday. “We considered donating it and letting some other people use it,” senior associate athletic director Curt Apsey said, “but we felt like it might cost more for someone to install it than it’s actually worth. We didn’t want to give it to somebody without knowing if it would be reliable.” The new board will be operational Saturday.
— Boise State sold about 900 tickets for Saturday’s game in the past 24 hours. There are now 29,400 tickets out for the game.
LB Corey Bell
Monday blog: News, notes and video from Monday’s press conference
Tuesday story: Chris Petersen breaks down what went wrong in opener
Tuesday blog: Boise State falls out of the Top 25
Tuesday blog: Mountain West Football Report
Wednesday story: UT Martin will play two quarterbacks, including a Favre; our scouting report is down the right side of the page
Wednesday blog: How to watch the game on ESPN3
Wednesday blog: About 8,000 tickets remain for game
Thursday story: Why Boise State changed its offense
UT Martin at Boise State
When: 1:04 p.m. Saturday
Where: Bronco Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf)
Video: ESPN3 (Jim Barbar, Kevin O’Connell). ESPN3 is a Web service that requires Internet access through a participating provider, college campus or military base.
Radio: KBOI (670AM), KKGL (96.9 FM); Bob Behler, Pete Cavender
Records: Boise State is 0-1; UT Martin is 1-0
Rankings: Boise State is receiving votes in the FBS polls; UT Martin is receiving votes in the FCS polls
Series: First meeting
Color scheme: Tri-color