Tag Archives: Jay Ajayi

A Princely Performance By Joe Southwick



Coach Petersen and Coach Prince give Joe Southwick and his family the perfect Senior Day gift; that's class.  Joe started and played the first series which ended with a touchdown pass. It took him less than a minute.

Coach Petersen and Coach Prince give Joe Southwick and his family the perfect Senior Day gift; that’s class. Joe started and played the first series which ended with a touchdown pass. It took him less than a minute.

The first offensive series was picture perfect. A screen pass to Jay Ajayi that put the ball first and goal and a quick slant to Matt Miller for the touchdown and Southwick was done for the evening.

It could not have been more beautifully scripted. It was an unforgettable tribute to Joe Southwick and his dedication to the Broncos. Thanks Coach Pete and Coach Prince. It was a princely gesture.

Enough cannot be said about the Boise goal line defense. There is a certain amount of physicality and strength that goes into a good goal line stand, but more than anything it requires mental toughness, discipline, and agility.

New Mexico had the ball nearly 20% more minutes than Boise, but only managed 17 points. In the second half the Boise defense was incredible, perhaps the best this year.

Jay Ajayi and Matt Miller  turned in great performances. Ajayi 147 rushing yards and 105 receiving yards with two touchdowns. Miller had 9 receptions for 111 yards and three touchdowns.

Earlier this year it looked as if Ajayi had given the reins of number one running back to Aaron Baltazar because of problems holding onto the ball. Ajayi’s running improved as he became more ball control conscience.

Grant Hedrick was 13 for 21 with 175 yards and tossed three touchdowns. There were times when he appeared not to be poised, but the Bronco line has trouble picking up blitzes. Several times Hedrick could only run for his life. Yet, good quarterbacks (Kellen Moore) have figured out how to sidestep a blitzing linebacker with the least amount of effort while keeping their eyes down field.

It was an interesting twist to see defensive back Jonathan Moxey show up on the offensive side of the ball. Although he was thrown for a loss it looks as if we may see several different looks next year.

Think about this, Bronco fans; most of the season was played without much of the Bronco elite (Southwick, Baltazar, Moore, and a whole host of seasoned interior linemen hobbled by injuries).

This was not a great season, but not bad either; 8 and 4. Last year Auburn was 3 and 9 and lost to Alabama 49-0. What a difference a year makes. Last year Baylor was 8 and 5. Two years ago Ohio State was 6 and 7.

Where the Broncos will end up in the post season is anybody’s guess, but I’d like to see them matched with Navy or Notre Dame.

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Boise’s Fourth Loss; There’s Sunshine Beyond The Inversion

A field goal  with time running out would have won it for BSU.

A field goal with time running out would have won it for BSU.

This was a tough loss, 34-31 San Diego State over Boise State/

Was it me or did Boise State seem to slow down at running a play and immediately get to the line of scrimmage to run the next play? It seemed like there was too much time for thoughtful reflection.

Grant Hedrick looked like he was in the state of confusion. Play calls must take the confusion out of the equation. If you got seven people rushing from the box a couple of audibles for quick slants over the middle about five to seven yards off the line of scrimmage will cure that.

A game has to be called to stifle the overwhelming pass rush that will give Hedrick a chance to get over the jitters and move the offense.

Hedrick must be given more of a plan than duck and run or fall.

The pick he threw for a touch down was more the fault of an Aaron Burks slip when trying to come back to the ball. Slips happen, that’s football.

I don’t like to ever be critical of play calling, but some calls defy a grasp on reality.

Jay Ajayi is quickly becoming the premier running back in the MWC. He had 103 yards on 22 carries. My diamond in the rough, Charles Bertoli, had one run for five yards. The interesting thing about his run, it came in the first half not in the second half when the game is out of reach. He’s averaging 7.1 yards per carry.

The D-line was brutal on the run. The secondary needs some maturing.

The Bryan Douglas TD return was great. We haven’t seen that in a while.

There were two no-calls on scoring drives, false starts. One was so egregious the offender actually gave up because he was certain of being flagged, but he wasn’t.

Anyway we got beat and that’s it.

Let’s see the glass as half-full rather than other wise.

BSU has been kicked around a little bit this year, but they are young and growing.

When you consider the number of underclassmen who are the bedrock of both the offense and defense, Boise’s best days are ahead of them.

Let’s take a look at Boise’s former non-BCS rival TCU. They moved up and stand at a 4 and 7 year. True, they are in the Big 12, but the point is we are not experiencing the growing pains they are. Let’s give a better grade of players a chance to mature and find their groove. The Broncos are attracting better talent.

The 2012 class has 10 of their 25 recruit rated 3 star. In 2011 of the 23 recruits only 9 were 3 star. There were only 10 recruits in 2010 and none of them were were 3 star. Of the 21 recruits from 2009 none were even a 1 star. That class is the one that should be in their red-shirt senior year.

Thus far all the 12 recruits are 3 star for the 2014 year.

Chris Petersen does not offer any excuses, but points out the injury situation is none like he‘s ever experienced. Frankly, I think the coaches and team have done a heck of a job. Plenty of freshman have had to burn their red-shirts and many red-shirt freshman have had to step in to positions they weren’t quite ready.

The Broncos just have to come to grips with reality, they have entered a new realm and era. They are the team to beat. They are the team that other teams will be up for.

Let’s hope Wyoming knocks off Utah State next week. That will set up a rematch with Fresno, the Bronco’s last chance to redeem at least some of the season.


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Boise State Over Colorado State; Lightning Strikes Fast

Hedrick strikes.

Hedrick strikes.

It looks like the head was closer than the heart predicting the score to this game; My head: 35-24, My heart: 45-10.

Colorado State’s plan to beat Boise was to create long drives sustained by a short slant passing game. They planned to aim for the Achilles tendon of Boise, a young, inexperienced, and undersized secondary. They wanted to keep the Boise State offense off the field thus their defense on the field. The plan nearly worked. Their time of possession was insane, 40 minutes compared to Boise’s 20 minutes.

(In 20 minutes of possession Grant Hedrick and company put up 42 points, now that’s insane. He is lightning the bottle.)

The good thing; although Kapri Bibbs scored three touchdowns he was held to 2.8 yards per carry, less than half his season average. Colorado State as a team was held below its per carry average.

The bad thing; a marginal quarterback put up nearly 400 yards.

Boise’s first play from scrimmage was like watching a bad movie for the fourth or fifth time or worse yet your mother-in-law showing up at the front door with bags in hand. A fumble on the exchange from Hedrick to Ajayi greeted us. Hearts sunk. It’s hard for me to tell, but I think the fumble was Hedrick’s, but Ajayi didn’t look so hot on the sidelines afterwards.

Hedrick threw 5 TDs and ran for another. He was 19 for 27, 305 yards, and no interceptions. That put his qb rating at 226. Even though those are great numbers that is not the best we will see of him. That is only the preview.

The TD pass to Shane Williams-Rhodes was pure magic and courage. Hedrick read the blitz, saw the hit coming, and flung the ball exactly where the blitzing safety should have been.

He kept drives alive with good passes, good decisions, and good legs.

Hedrick’s performance was cut a little short by three dropped passes. They were to guys wide open and it either hit them in the hands or on the numbers. They ended drives. They are almost as bad as a fumble, they just can’t be recovered by the other team. The reasons for them are exactly the same as fumbles, sloppy thinking.

Matt Miller played his quiet unassuming self with 6 catches for almost 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. (We sure miss Kirby.)

It looks like Ajayi will not be playing the fourth quarter with a lead. We don’t need the ball on the ground and Prince knows that everybody will be trying to rip the ball away from Ajayi. If Ajayi does what he’s supposed to in the off season and takes his anit-fumblitss pills likely we won’t see him coughing it up at all next year.

Ajayi had another good game (13 carries 91yards). The referees kept him out of the end zone on one run. The review clearly showed he was in bounds. (Did I see a female referee?)

Derrick Thomas looked good on the returns, but not speedy. Running the ball in the fourth quarter was another issue. He doesn’t seem to find openings. He holds on to the ball even when they’re trying to rip it away. He did a good job.

On defense three names kept showing up Ben Weaver, Gabe Perez, and Tanner Vellejo; all freshman. Is that a preview of things to come? The great thing about having three guys like that, they flush everybody into the arms of the other guys.

Cleshawn Page’s hit on Colorado State’s punt return man was cheap. There is no other way to put it. That’s not Boise football, in fact that’s not football. If the intent was the jar the ball loose it’s best to hit the ball or right below it.

A word about Dillon Lukeheart’s hit last week. It was not as egregious as the one against Colorado State. The BYU receiver was moving into Lukeheart which made it appear worse. The receiver was in a lower position. Lukeheart was trying to lead with his pads for the ball; at least that’s what I saw.

Cheap shots don’t cause fumbles, they cause penalties.

Frankly, at this point as fan I can’t be anything other than pleased. This is really a young team – very young. Most of the vets are seeing limited action or no action because of injuries.

Now the Broncos get a week off to get healed and get smarter.

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Boise State’s Third Loss; What Went Wrong

Jay Ajayi, another great performance.

Jay Ajayi, another great performance.

Well shut my mouth, butter my behind, and call me biscuit. Boise State was handed its third loss of the season. They were beat 37 – 20 by a very good BYU team with a motivated quarterback, Taysom Hill.

Normally I wait a couple of days before posting about a game. I like things to sink in a bit.

Allow a quote from my post predicting a great Boise State win:

“I’m caught between my heart and my head. One should always go with their head. So I’m going with my heart.” https://jitterygt.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/boise-state-vs-byu-predicting-the-score-grant-takes-richmond-or-was-it-provo/

My head was saying 34 – 28 BYU. No apologies – I’m a fan not a realist.

Did Boise miss Southwick? A little, but Grant Hedrick did not cough-up the ball three times. Yes, he did throw a pick, but that’s what quarterbacks do.

Grant Hedrick, some lessons learned.

Grant Hedrick, some lessons learned.

Hedrick looked nervous in the pocket, but I think he handled himself well. This was his first start, it was an away game, and against a top-notch opponent. I think BYU is better than UW and Fresno.

Jay Ajayi turned in another great night (151 yard in 23 carries), but he did fumble once. Shane Williams-Rhodes had a good night (10 catches for 95 yards), but he did fumble once. Boldewijn had two catches, but he did fumble once. Is there a pattern emerging here?

Boise had no picks nor created any fumbles. You can not expect to win if losing in that department. You must create more turnovers than your opponent. A good defensive team not only stops the ball they get the ball.

I thought we’d see Hedrick tuck and run more often. He had plenty of time in the pocket and my hat goes off the Boise State offensive line. They did a tremendous job. Early-on BYU had a good rush, but for the most part they did a fine job. The running game was also substantial, although there was a couple of forth and short Boise got beat back on. One was a bad spot, but that’s spilled milk.

The d-line did a good job rushing Hill, but had trouble closing in on him. It seemed to me they were content to contain him.

It looks like our d-backs could use some more time in the weight room. There were a couple of balls that were clearly muscled away from them.

Let it be said this is a team loss. If Southwick would have been around his critics would have hung it on him. If Boise won it would have been and upset.

Now it’s back to conference play at Colorado State next week.

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Boise Vs. Nevada, Predicting The Score

We know Jay Ajayi is going to have a colossal game sometime; what not now?

We know Jay Ajayi is going to have a colossal game sometime; why not now?

Once again as a fan I see this game much differently than a coach or an odds maker.

Boise State is definitely on the up-swing. The have improved in every category, especially on the defense. They are not the caliber of last year’s defense, but they aren’t that far behind.

Nevada does not have the offense to mount any sort of a serious attack on the Boise defense. They will score 17 points at best, but most likely be held to 10.

Look for the Nevada offense to key on Shane Williams-Rhodes and look for Matt Miller of Kirby Moore (if he plays) to have big games.

Boise’s run game, as it stands, needs some fire. Not Jay Ajayi, but the o-line.

With the new offense that Boise has administered a heavy burden falls on the line. They are playing at the speed of light so to speak. Once it clicks with them, look out!

Now entering the second half of the season a lot of improvement should bee seen in the o-line. To date they have not dominated. It wouldn’t bother me if they saved the domination for BYU, but it is at a point in the season when it is now or never.

I can’t help but think Joe Southwick has a 400 yard game in his arm and Ajayi has a 200 yard game in his legs. If not for some dropped passes we may have seen Southwick pass for 400 last week. Ajayi is due for the game that will put him at the top of the heap in the Mountain West.

It looks like a 50 point performance from the Broncos. Much depends on the play calls in the second half. Coach Pete doesn’t run up scores.

I’m going to call the game 52-10 Boise.

Here’s my previous predictions:

1. Boise over UW 35-17 (Actual, 6-38 UW, hope springs eternal.)

2. Boise over UT Martin 49-0 (Actual 63-14, got the spread.)

3. Boise over Air Force 45-17 (Actual, 42-20, missed by a field goal on both ends.)

4. Boise over Fresno 45-30 (Actual 41-40 Fresno win, Frankly if the game were held any place, but Fresno…)

5. Boise over Southern Miss 49-10 (Actual 60-7, Petersen purposely left the first team in too long to foil me and Demarcus Lawrence was off-sides on one of his blocked field goals [not really, I’m just a sore loser})

6. Boise over Utah State 35-7 (Actual, 34-23, My original prediction was 52-7. I think if BSU would have played the second half without their foot on the brake that would have been more likely. Let’s be honest the game was not really that close.)

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Boise State; Starting To Rumble

SWR - Shakes Wiggles Runs

SWR – Shakes Wiggles Runs

Boise State dominated Utah State in a 34 to 23 win.

It seemed like Boise State came out in the second half of the Saturday night game against Utah State with the brakes on.

It was the Shane Williams-Rhodes show all the way; 13 catches for 150 yards and a TD. He not only ran good tight routes, but broke those routes and got open when the play became extended. He not only was able to break away from his coverage, but also made great catches in tight coverage.

I see him running for governor of Idaho someday.

Another good game for Joe Southwick; two TD passes and he ran one. He had two picks, but the one, Boldewijn slipped and allowed the defender to go over the top for the pick. It was ran back for a score that should not have happened.

Is there a conspiracy to keep Southwick’s numbers down? There were at least five passes that hit the receivers in the hands on the numbers; that’s Sun Belt Conference stuff.

What was really impressive about the offense was the long scoring drives. Utah put Boise behind the twenty a couple times, but Southwick engineered four TD drives of 91, 89, 69, and 61 yards.

If not for the numbers Williams-Rhodes put up, player of the game goes to Jay Ajayi. He averaged 5 yards a carry where there was not five yards to carry. He carried defenders five yards. I thought it was one of the most courageous performance I’ve seen in a while. There is a lot of pride in the Ajayi family this week.

That said, the average per carry as a team for the game was 2.9 yards. That ain’t good. The o-line has to make holes. There are none. Perhaps what may cure that is Southwick pulling the ball out of Ajayi’s gut and dinking the ball to a tight end or slot receiver where the linebackers (who are bunched up for a run) should be.

Sometimes you have to call plays away from your weakness.

The Boise State defense seemed to get to the ball faster. Demarcus Lawrence was an absolute beast (and I mean that in the best possible way). On several possessions he single-handedly stopped drives.

Ben Weaver is playing like he’ll receive the Butkus Award someday. Great teams have great linebackers. There is something about the way they play the game that raises the level of everybody else, including the offense. A good football player is agile, mobile, and hostile. That’s Weaver. He’s the future.

At times the d-backs played a little soft, but their play was outstanding. Bryan Douglas had a pick as did Donte Deayon. Jonathan Moxey would have likely had one also if not for an offensive interference call.

I hate to say this, but Coach Pete said it first. Coach Pete got out-coached with time management at the end of the first half. A blocked field goal by Charles Leno saved what could have been a half-time locker room boost for Utah.

Okay, okay, Coach Pete coaches pretty good special teams too.

All in all it was well-played game.


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Boise State: Great Win, Great Effort, Now What?

Our d-line should rush like it's Black Thursday at Best Buy.

Our d-line should rush like it’s Black Thursday at Best Buy.

There were a lot of impressive performance by Boise State in their 60-7 win over Southern Miss.

Joe Southwick tuned in another great passing performance, 19 for 23 and 268 yards. He has come a long way, in skills, leadership, and understanding of the game. He is incredible at reading defenses and changing plays at the line of scrimmage.

Grant Hedrick is looking really good. It looks as if he has more confidence in his ability to tuck and run rather than wait for a receiver to open up. He was 3 for 3 and 45 yards. He had 5 carries for 29 yards.

Jay Ajayi had a great night; sort of a redemptive performance. On Boise’s first possession he missed a block that resulted in Southwick being sacked. He came out. Later he was back in and running over people and ripping away from tackles. The best of all things; he didn’t fumble. He gained 83 yards in 14 carries.

We didn’t see as much from Aaron Baltazar as many expected. Although he had 4 carries for 36 yards.

Finally, Shane Williams-Rhodes got to show some of his downfield receiving skills rather than those side line passes. Williams-Rhodes’ hidden skill and value is downfield where no one is able to cover him. He had 9 catches for 59 yards. I know, they give him those easy money passes and let him do the work to get yardage after the catch, but the touchdown catch where he took the ball off the carpet was as good as it gets.

Miller turned in another steady game. He doesn’t have off nights. He had 5 catches for 107 yards.

Geraldo Boldewijn has turned into a beast. He snatches candy from the mouths of babies. He had only three catches but for 104 yards. If the referee would have been looking out of his other eye he would have given him a touchdown catch in the second half from Southwick. I don’t think the replay booth could have overturned the call.

Jack Fields was able to break a sweat and we were able to see what he is capable of doing; 12 carries for 46 yards.

Charles Bertoli plays like a man possessed. He plays like a man whose heart is too big for his chest. He will soon be ready for quality time. He had 4 runs for 24 yards. They came when everybody was expecting nothing but run. His touchdown was epic; he sat a tackler on his keister to get the end zone.

Demarcus Lawrence showed up. He did it all, but what was impressive was the two blocked field goals. That’s a season for most defensive linemen. Yet he is the only one who is having a positive effect when it comes to the pass rush.

The Southern Miss. quarterback was given too much time to find receivers. The Broncos young secondary can’t hold them off forever. The secondary is doing a great job. They need help from the d-line and blitzes. Darian Thompson and Bryan Douglas had two great picks.

The kicking wicked witch returned to Boise State. Dan Goodale, who had been good all year long, missed two extra points. In a close game or a loss that may have ended his playing time. He was able to connect on a 33 yard field goal.

The o-line is simply not giving Southwick the protection he deserves. They’re missing assignments and getting over-ran.

The first touchdown against Southern Miss. was a message to the Mountain West that the so called ‘trick-plays’ are still part of the play book. Although I would rather see that one with thirty seconds left down by 3 in the conference play-off game.

A week off will be good for the Broncos. The d-line and o-line can work on the mental lapses and mistakes. If there is not improvement we can conclude they just don’t have it, at least for this season. It is either the players or what they’re being fed from the sidelines. If it’s the latter than the coaches are the ones who have to bone-up.

For the d-line I suggest showing video of Best-Buy when the doors opened last year Black Friday; that’s what we want. For the o-line a nature video of a she-bear protecting her cub.

Utah, Boise’s next opponent averaged 5.1 yards per carry in their last outing. Boise averaged 4.4 in a blow-out. You would expect it to be around six. Boise ranks somewhere near the middle in yards per carry in the MWC. If they are to win the MWC, they should control the line of scrimmage and that is evident by having a hefty yards per carry average.

Just like losses, put wins behind you, and move on.

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