Broncos Using Bye To Tighten Up Defense

Miscues on defense forced Boise State to work a little harder than necessary for its 35-21 defeat of Georgia last week. The Broncos allowed three touchdowns -- an 80-yard run, a 36-yard pass and a 51-yard pass. The run was an end-around by cornerback Brandon Boykin and the two passes were to receivers left wide open because of communication errors in the secondary.

INSIDE SLANT

Miscues on defense forced Boise State to work a little harder than necessary for its 35-21 defeat of Georgia last week.

The Broncos allowed three touchdowns -- an 80-yard run, a 36-yard pass and a 51-yard pass. The run was an end-around by cornerback Brandon Boykin and the two passes were to receivers left wide open because of communication errors in the secondary.

Fixing those mistakes will be part of the Broncos' early bye week. They're off until a Friday night game at Toledo on Sept. 16.

"The thing we were probably most disappointed in were the three plays on defense," coach Chris Petersen said. "Our defense played at a pretty high level except for three plays. Those really killed us."

Those touchdowns accounted for three of Georgia's 13 first downs in the game.

The defense recorded six sacks, made a critical fourth-down stop and limited the Georgia tailbacks to 72 rushing yards. The Bulldogs never snapped the ball inside the Broncos' 20-yard line.

"We do need to work on playing harder throughout the whole game," Petersen said. "... We can play harder. We can finish stronger."


NOTES, QUOTES

--Boise State senior punter Brad Elkin put six of his seven punts inside the 20-yard line in the opener with an average net of 39.6 yards. That helped the Broncos dominate field position with an average drive start of their own 44-yard line compared to an average of its own 19 for Georgia.

--The Broncos were 5-for-5 scoring touchdowns in the red zone against Georgia. Technically, they were 5-for-6 — but that counts a possession on which they took a knee at the Bulldogs' 3-yard line.

--The Broncos play their first two games of the season in the Eastern Time Zone -- in Atlanta and Toledo.

BYE WEEK MISSION: The Broncos always use their bye week to focus on their own play. This week will come in handy because many young players got their first extensive playing time against Georgia and will have a chance to learn from their mistakes. The Broncos also could use the bye week to make up for some of the special-teams work that they couldn't perform during fall camp because of a three-practice NCAA penalty.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Broncos catch a bit of a break with their non-conference opponents this year. Toledo, their next opponent, faces Ohio State this week and will have a short turnaround. Tulsa plays Boise State after facing Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Nevada travels to Boise after clashes with Oregon and Texas Tech. And Fresno State meets Boise State the week after playing Ole Miss.


STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: The Broncos were lacking the big play in the opener against Georgia but they made up for it with execution. They finished with 24 first downs, 390 yards and five touchdowns. They should have scored a sixth time, but quarterback Kellen Moore threw a rare bad interception deep in Bulldogs territory. Nine different players caught passes, which likely will be a trend. Tailbacks Doug Martin and D.J. Harper combined for 101 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The Broncos dominated Georgia on defense except for three plays, two of which were caused by blown coverages in the secondary on communication errors. The three touchdowns combined for 167 yards. Georgia's other 57 plays netted just 206. The defensive line remains the strength of the group, recording 5.5 sacks in the opener.

ROSTER REPORT

--The Broncos left three key players at home for the opener. Senior starting safety Cedric Febis, sophomore co-starting wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn and sophomore backup defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe are all from Amsterdam and their NCAA eligibility is being reviewed. They all attended Boise-area high schools. Coach Chris Petersen said he has "no idea" when those issues will be resolved.

--Fullbacks Dan Paul (groin) and Chandler Koch (leg) didn't play against Georgia. Backup defensive tackle Mike Atkinson started at fullback.

--Starting left guard Joe Kellogg (leg) left the game in the opener in the first quarter and is expected to miss a couple weeks. Sophomore Spencer Gerke replaced him.

--Sophomore cornerback Ebo Makinde (chest), a key backup, missed the opener but likely will return against Toledo.




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