What We Learned From Boise State's Win Over Oregon State

The Boise State Broncos are 3-0 on the season after beating Oregon State 38-24 in Corvallis on Saturday. The win makes it four-straight wins over Pac-12 teams, and 10-3 overall since 2006. It also brings BSU's record to 14-5 against Power 5 teams in that same time-period. Additionally this victory secures the third of four non-conference games on this season's schedule with only BYU on October 20th remaining.

This game was a little bit of a roller coaster, and a “tale of two halves,” as it has been explained, but a win's a win. Boise State is a team with tons of potential, and they continue to show flashes of greatness. They are also a team that is young, and mistakes still haunt them. Let's look at several things we learned in the Broncos win over the Beavers.

There is a real chance for Boise State to go undefeated this season.

The Broncos are 3-0, and this team is just getting better. Even with silly mistakes and turnovers Boise State found a way to win, and displayed tremendous heart. The Mountain West Conference schedule starts next Saturday at home, and while there will be serious challenges along the way, this Boise State team has the real potential of winning out. If that happens, it will be fun to watch, and to see where the 2016 Broncos finish their season.

Broncos are a first half team, but that needs to change.

Boise State needs to make some adjustments second half. This was the second game in a row in which the Broncos struggled late. Against Wazzu it almost cost them the game, and against Oregon State it made it much more interesting than it needed to be. If Bryan Harsin's team expects to win out they will need to fix this issue. You can be certain Harsin knows this fact, and you know he will make it a focus for his team.

Boise State has not trailed in a game this season.

The Broncos are one of seven teams in the nation that still haven't trailed in a game this season. The quick starts have helped them get leads, and keep them. Even if they make Boise State fans nervous late, the fact is they have yet to fall behind even once.

The Broncos are perfect in the Red Zone.

For the third straight game in 2016 Boise State converted every red zone opportunity into points. The team has now succeeded 11 times in a row. Eight of those scores have been touchdowns.

Jeremy McNichols carries the load (literally and figuratively).

Jeremy McNichols, a.k.a. “The McWeapon” lived up to his nickname on Saturday. He finished the game with a career high 28 carries for 208 yards on the ground. He also had 20 yards receiving on 4 catches. With his four touchdowns it is safe to say he carried much of the offensive load for Boise State against the Beavers. However, he also, on several occasions, physically carried Oregon State defenders for additional yardage. Once he packed a group over the goal line, and once he carried several for about seven extra yards to achieve a first down. It was truly impressive.

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Boise State should crack the Top 25, but will they?

The Broncos will crack the Top 25 at some point, but it probably won't happen this week. However, it's probably a good thing the Broncos keep getting snubbed and overlooked. This team is playing with a lot of heart, and a chip on its shoulder. Everything that could motivate helps, and with the Mountain West Conference schedule starting another snub might be a blessing in disguise. As far as the NY6 games, it will all take care of itself. Boise State just needs to take care of business on the field.

Injuries were costly, but no real idea how bad they are yet.

In this game several Boise State players had to be sidelined because of injuries. One of the biggest concerns is linebacker Tanner Vallejo who was in street clothes, and then disappeared into the locker room. He has been a monster on defense, and Boise State could really use him against the Aggies next Saturday. Gabe Perez left the game again this week, and so did Evan Tyler. No word yet if any of them will be back next week.

Darren Lee is a stripper.

The announcers called it “grand larceny,” but make no mistake what Darren Lee did late in the game was perfectly legal, even if it did break the Beavers back. Lee was able to wrestle away the ball away from Oregon State wide receiver Seth Collins, and took it 19 yards to pay dirt. It dashed the hopes of an OSU comeback, and made Boise State fans breath a little easier. Lee also had six tackles on the day, and one sack.

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Boise State has three quarterbacks on the field at once.

Former quarterbacks Thomas Sperbeck and Cedrick Wilson are also the top two receivers on the field for the Broncos. Wilson threw a rope to tight end Alec Dhaenens in the first quarter of this game. It was good for 23 yards, and a big first down. We have seen Sperbeck do the same thing, and with those two on the field at the same time, you just never know what's coming.

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Andy Avalos is the real deal.

Yes, it is only three games into the season. But, from an objective analysis of the Broncos defense so far, it can be said that they are better than expected. The game plan in each of their first three games was spot on, and new defensive coordinator Andy Avalos deserves a lot of credit. Of course, all of the defensive coaches do as well, but with Avalos at the helm, Boise State fans can probably even feel good about game planning against the triple option later in the season.

Attack of the “Moa Constrictor”?

Boise State Football's official account @BroncoSportsFB tweeted out one of the cheesiest, yet hilarious things in a long time. It was in reference to defensive lineman David Moa. Moa had a monster game, and deserves lots of love for his performance. On the day he had 2.5 sacks and five tackles. He also broke up a pass.

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Special Teams Needs Some Special Attention

On Saturday against Oregon State the Broncos struggled on special teams. This was especially true on Kickoff and Kickoff return. On the day, Boise State allowed Beavers wide receiver Victor Bolden Jr. to amass 206 yards on just four returns. This included a 99-yard run in the fourth quarter for a touchdown. The Broncos also seemed to lack situational awareness in the second half when Oregon State decided to go for an onside kick. It should have been somewhat obvious that such a kick was coming, but even if that wasn't the case, the Broncos didn't attack the ball, instead they waited for the ball to come to them breaching the 10 yards needed to be a legal kick. If Boise State runs up just one or two yards and snags the ball the game would have been far less interesting. On the bright side, punting and field goals looked great, but overall special teams is something the Broncos will need to work on. If this team wants to return to the MWC Championship game, and perhaps a NY6 game, they are going to have to be solid with all three phases of the game. Right now they are not.

The only team that has shown they can beat Boise State is Boise State.

Not to rehash this or continue to belabor it, but the only team that has been competitive on the field this year against the Broncos is themselves. Against Washington State mistakes late, including interceptions, dumb penalties, and poor clock management almost cost them. Against the Beavers it was a lack of special teams, a lack of awareness, turnovers, and penalties. Fix these issues, and no team currently left on the 2016 schedule can beat Boise State.

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