The talk since Thursday around Bronco Nation is what has happened to the Boise State offense. Blame has been thrown onto Joe Southwick Robert Prince and even Coach Petersen. Coach Petersen has fielded questions since Thursday regarding the output. It has been suggested that the Boise State make wholesale changes on the offensive side of the ball and media, blogs, Twitter and Facebook commentary has been full of unrelenting criticism.
After taking on 2 of the first 3 opponents that boast highly ranked and regarded defenses, Bronco Nation is looking to today’s game against New Mexico to feel better about itself and its beloved Boise State Broncos. The fact is Bronco Nation may still be left unsatisfied by the Boise State offensive output and the reason is as old as football itself. The opponent this week is the New Mexico Lobos, the game will be an away game and the Lobos run the most ancient of football offenses, the option.
As a fan watching your team play against an option football team such as New Mexico can be frustrating, both from an offensive and defensive stand point. On the defensive side of the ball Boise State will be playing assignment football. So the defensive heroics seen against BYU will likely be limited. It’s not to say the Broncos can’t dominate the Lobos, but in 4 games New Mexico has thrown the ball 56 times and ran it 187 times for an average of 5 yards per play. Option football is about exploiting missed assignments, not about getting a vertical passing game going. New Mexico will run the ball to set up, well the run. This will be done to limit the amount of times the Bronco Offense gets onto the field.
Therein lies the rub Bronco Nation. In the 2011 game versus the Air Force Academy, an option team, the Broncos had 9 possessions for a total of nearly 24 minutes. Of those 9 possessions the Broncos scored 5 times, a 2 turnovers, 1 punt and ended the game on a kneel down, winning 36 to 27. Compare that with the start of 2012 the Broncos have had on average 11.33 possessions per game and have scored on an average 3 times. In the games versus MSU and BYU the Broncos scored on offense a total of 2 times.
What does this mean for this Saturday? The Broncos will again be limited in offensive possessions. There will likely be long periods of time between those possessions. The Bronco offense will want to get into sync in a hurry, but it will likely not happen. They will want to take advantage of every possession, which to this point in the season has not happened. The defense will want to stay disciplined all game long and keep their assignments. There are no heroes on defense when playing against the option.
The outcome of the game will likely go Boise State’s way. The Bronco offense will struggle, but not in the same ways it has against MSU or BYU and the Lobos will be able to move the ball, which will prevent the Broncos from getting into sync. I predict Boise State will come away with a 20 to 9 win, but the game will not bring the satisfaction Bronco Nation desires.