Utah State battles Boise State in a matchup of unbeaten Mountain West teams

Brian Phillips breaks down this matchup forwards and backwards. Stats, Matchups and Personnel all broken down. Important Matchup between Broncos and Aggies.

Boise State

OFFENSE


WIDE RECEIVER

X

Returning for his second straight season as a starter is 6-0 173 junior Thomas Sperbeck (Scout 2*). At the mid-way point of the  2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Sperbeck has started in all six games for the Broncos and is currently second on the team in receptions with 27 and first on the team in both yards, with 526, and touchdowns with five. Sperbeck has also completed one of three passes for 23 yards. As a sophomore in 2014, Sperbeck appeared in 14 games, starting eight, after stepping into the starting lineup full-time after senior Matt Miller went down with an injury at Air Force. Sperbeck led the team with 877 receiving yards, was second with 51 catches and tied for third with three receiving touchdowns, while also being named the VIZIO Fiesta Bowl Offensive MVP (2014). Originally recruited as a safety, Sperbeck appeared in eight games, catching five passes for 40 yards as a true freshman in 2013.

Backing up Sperbeck will be 6-2 206 sophomore Austin Cottrell (Scout NR). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Cottrell has played in four of six games snaring just one pass for 37 yards. Cottrell joined the Broncos prior to the 2015 season after spending a season at Scottsdale Community College (AZ.), where as a true freshman, Cottrell saw action in nine games, catching 12 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown for the Artichokes. As a high school senior at Mountain Ridge HS (AZ.), Cottrell caught 15 balls for 260 yards and four touchdowns in 2013.

H

The second of three starters at WR is 5-6 173 senior Shane Williams-Rhodes (Scout 3*). Coming into the 2015 season Williams-Rhodes sits fifth on Boise State's all-time receptions list with 170. At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Williams-Rhodes has started in three games, played in all six, and leads the team in receptions with 35, and is in second on the team with 287 yards. Williams-Rhodes also has six carries for 57 yards, and completed one pass attempt for 53 yards and a touchdown. As a junior in 2014, Williams-Rhodes was Named All-Mountain West Honorable Mention, after appearing in all 14 games, making nine starts, and tying for second in the Mountain West with seven touchdown catches and was fourth with 68 receptions. Both figures led Boise State, while he was second on the team with 585 receiving yards. In 2013, as a sophomore, Williams-Rhodes garnered All-Mountain West Conference Honorable Mentions accolades as he snared 77 receptions for 702 yards and six touchdowns.

Backing up Williams-Rhodes will be 5-10 175 true freshman Akilian Butler (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Butler has played in all six games and snagged two passes for 21 yards, while also logging two carries for 13 yards. As a high school senior at West Mesquite HS (TX.) in 2014, Butler finished the year with 48 catches for 686 yards and 12 touchdowns, garnering a third-straight First-Team 10-4A All-District accolade.

Z

Starting for the first time in his career is 5-10 182 junior Chaz Anderson (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Anderson has started in the last five games, played in all six, and is fourth on the team with 15 receptions, third on the team with 261 yards and one touchdown. Originally recruited as a cornerback, Anderson made the move to WR prior to the 2014 season and he caught 21 balls for 456 yards and two touchdowns. Anderson appeared in 9 games in 2013 as a redshirt freshman for the Broncos logging four tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss while playing in the defensive backfield.

Backing up Anderson will be 6-0 205 redshirt freshman AJ Richardson (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Richardson has yet to see any in-game action. Richardson sat out the 2014 season as a redshirt after delaying his enrollment for a year as a grayshirt. As a high school senior at Narbonne HS (CA.) in 2013, Richardson caught 60 passes for 1,000 yards and 18 touchdowns and also rushed 22 times for 121 yards and another four touchdowns. For his effort following the season, Richardson was Named a Semper Fidelis All-American, an All-Marine League selection, an All-City section and an All-State selection. Richardson was rated as one of the top 10 receivers in the West and No. 50 at his position by Scout.com.

OFFENSIVE LINE

LEFT TACKLE

Returning as the starter at LT is once again 6-4 309 senior Rees Odhiambo (Scout 2*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Odhiambo has started in all six games for the broncos. As a junior in 2014, Odhiambo was named to the All-Mountain West Second Team, after appearing in ten games and making nine starts. As a sophomore in 2013, Odhiambo, who was originally recruited to play guard, started in all eight games that he managed to appear in, as he missed the Broncos other five games that season due to an injury.

Backing up Odhiambo is versatile 6-3 289 sophomore Archie Lewis (Scout NR). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Lewis had started the first two games of the season at RT and was then demoted to the second team, he has however seen action in all six games. As a redshirt freshman in 2014, Lewis appeared in 11 games, starting five of them.

 

LEFT GUARD

6-3 299 junior Travis Averill (Scout 3*) is in his second season as a full time starter for Boise State. At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and after missing the first two games due to a suspension, Averill has started in the last four games for the Broncos. As a sophomore in 2014, Averill solidly started in all 14 games for the Broncos. As a redshirt freshman in 2013, Averill made appearances in 9 games and started three of the Broncos final four regular season games at right tackle.

Backing up Averill will be 6-1 281 sophomore Andrew Tercek (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Tercek has only seen action in four games. As a redshirt freshman in 2014, Tercek appeared in two games, making his collegiate debut at Wyoming (Nov. 22), while also appearing in the Broncos win versus Utah State. Tercek spent his first season in Boise in 2013 as a redshirt.

CENTER

Originally recruited to play guard, 6-3 293 senior Marcus Henry (Scout 3*) is back once again as the starter at center for the Broncos. At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Henry has started in all six games for the Broncos. As a junior in 2014, Henry showed his mettle starting in all 14 games and for his effort was named to the All-Mountain West First Team. As a sophomore in 2013, Henry started in each of the first 12 games of the season missing the regular season finale against New Mexico.

Backing up the super reliable Henry, is 6-3 290 sophomore Mason Hampton (Scout NR). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Hampton has seen action in all six games for the Broncos. As a redshirt freshman in 2014, Hampton appeared in all 14 games in a reserve role and primarily on special teams. Prior to redshirting the 2013 season, Hampton was named First-Team All-Conference and Second-Team All-State during his high school senior year in 2012.

RIGHT GUARD

6-3 282 junior Steven Baggett (Scout 3*) is in his second season as a full time starter. At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1 and Baggett has started in all six games for the Broncos. As a sophomore in 2014, Baggett started 13 games for the Broncos, only missing the Broncos win at New Mexico. In 2013 as a redshirt freshman, Baggett saw action in six games, which included his first two career starts versus Utah State and BYU. Backing up Baggett will be 6-1 282 junior Kellen Buhr (Scout NR). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Buhr has seen action in all six games for the Broncos. As a sophomore in 2014, Buhr appeared in 12 games, primarily on special teams. As a redshirt freshman in 2013, Buhr appeared in one game during his debut season with the Broncos, seeing action against Southern Mississippi.

RIGHT TACKLE

Returning for his second season as a starter along the offensive line is 6-4 329 junior Mario Yakoo (Scout 2*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Yakoo has started all six games for the Broncos, the first two at LG and the last four at RT. As a sophomore in 2014, Yakoo started all 14 games for Boise State. As a redshirt freshman in 2013, Yakoo saw action in all 13 of Boise State's games including one start against New Mexico.

Backing up Yakoo is versatile 6-3 289 sophomore Archie Lewis (Scout NR). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Lewis had started the first two games of the season at RT and was then demoted to the second team, he has however seen action in all six games. As a redshirt freshman in 2014, Lewis appeared in 11 games, starting five of them. 

TIGHT END

Originally recruited as a wide receiver, 6-3 239 sophomore Jake Roh (Scout 3*) is back as the returning starter at TE. At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Roh has started in four games, played in all six and is currently fifth on the team in receptions with 13 and sixth in yards with 128. As a redshirt freshman in 2014, Roh was named All-Mountain West Honorable Mention, after he appeared in all 14 games, making 11 starts and finishing fourth on the team in receptions with 35, sixth in receiving yards with 408 and a pair of touchdowns. Prior to redshirting the 2013 season for Boise State, Roh was named the 2012 All-Division II Player of the Year, and was First-Team All-Division II at linebacker. As a high school senior Roh caught 72 passes for 805 yards and 13 TDs, while defensively Roh, recorded 72 tackles, four sacks and four interceptions.

Backing up Roh is 6-6 226 senior Holden Huff (Scout 2*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Huff has started in four games, played in all six and is currently sixth on the team in receptions with ten and fifth in yards with 179, along with two touchdowns. As a junior in 2014, Huff appeared in 13 games, starting six and pulling in ten passes for 128 yards. As a sophomore in 2013, Huff played in 10 games on the season, including three starts, missing three games due to injury. Huff caught six passes for 32 yards. Huff managed to make an impact early on as a redshirt freshman as he appeared in each of the Broncos' 13 games during his debut season, including five starts and catching 17 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns.

RUNNING BACK

Faced with the task of replacing departed Super Bronco Jay Ajayi and starting at running back for the first time in is career is 5-9 205 sophomore Jeremy McNichols (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and McNichols has started in all six games for the Broncos, leading the team in three categories, carries with 100, rushing yards with 485 and touchdowns with 12 and coming in third on the team in receptions with 20 and third on the team in yards with 196 along with two more touchdowns. As a true freshman in 2014, McNichols appeared in nine games, primarily as a slot receiver/dual threat rushing 17 times for 160 yards and a touchdown and catching 15 balls for 155 yards and a touchdown. Prior to joining Boise State in 2014, as a high school senior at Santa Margarita HS (CA.) in 2013, McNichols earned First-Team All-League, All-Region and All-State honors by rushing 163 times for 798 yards and eight touchdowns, and hauling in 17 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns.

Backing up McNichols is 5-10 198 senior graduate transfer Kelsey Young (Scout 4*). Young, the older brother of Bronco running back Cory Young, finished up his undergraduate degree at Stanford and transferred to Boise for his final season of eligibility. At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Young has played in all six games for the Broncos and is currently second on the team in carries with 44, second in rushing yards with 205 and second in touchdowns with three, along with four receptions for 35 yards. In his final season at Stanford in 2014, Young was named to the Named to the Doak Walker Award watch list. In 2014, Young played in 13 games for the Cardinal, rushing for 331 yards on 66 carries and also caught five balls for 31 yards. As a junior in 2013, Young appeared in 14 games, rushing 14 times for 110 yards and a touchdown and catching three passes for 37 yards. Seeing time as the third back out of the backfield is 5-8 175 junior Devan Demas (Scout 3*).

At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Demas has played in all six games for the Broncos and is third on the team in carries with 23, third on the team in rushing yards with 152 and one touchdown, along with catching one pass for 4 yards. As a sophomore in 2014, Demas appeared in all 14 games, rushing 25 times for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Demas appeared in 7 games in 2013 as a redshirt freshman, carrying the ball 21 times for 125 yards and one touchdown.

QUARTERBACK

Missing from the line up this week is 6-4 200 sophomore Ryan Finley (Scout 3*). Finley had earned the starting QB job at the beginning of the season but was lost to a broken ankle for an extended period of time during the Broncos win versus Idaho State. At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Finley had started in the Broncos first three games and completed 46 passes in 70 attempts (65.7%) for 485 yards with four interceptions and one touchdown, along with rushing the ball 22 times for 42 yards. As a redshirt freshman in 2014, Finley appeared in five games, completing 12-of-27 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Prior to redshirting the 2013 season, as a high school senior in 2012, Finley was Named Arizona Division III, Section III East Co-Offensive Player of the Year, the 2012 Arizona Cardinals Player of the Year across all divisions in Arizona, Arizona Republic All-State First Team quarterback across all divisions and sections, First-Team All-Division III, Arizona Football Coaches' Association All-State across all divisions, while completing 270-of-424 passes for 3,442 yards, 35 TDs and eight interceptions, also rushing 96 times for 282 yards and four touchdowns.

Since the injury to Finley, 6-2 199 true freshman Brett Rypien (Scout 4*) has taken the Mountain West Conference by storm. At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Rypien has played in four games, starting the last three, completing 73 passes in 104 attempts (70.2%) for 1,057 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception, along with getting 13 carries for seven yards and one touchdown. As a high school senior at Shadle Park HS (WA.) in 2014, Rypien was a member of the Scout 300 (No. 218). Rypien graduated a semester early and enrolled at Boise State for spring semester in 2015. At the time of his signing, Scout.com rated him the 14th best high school QB in the 2015 signing class. Rypien was named the Washington State Player of the Year by the Seattle Times and the Tacoma News Tribune and was also voted the Associated Press 3A State Player of the Year. Rypien concluded his career as the state passing leader, amassing 13,044 yards and also combining for 134 touchdowns, the yardage total is also the eighth-most by a quarterback nationally. Included were a state single-season record of 4,552 yards during his senior season, with 50 touchdown passes. Rypien also rushed for 400 yards and a touchdown.

Backing up Rypien will be 5-11 196 redshirt sophomore Thomas Stuart (Scout 2*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Stuart has played in five of six games and completed 12 of 18 pass attempts for 114 yards and one touchdown, along with 20 carries for 32 yards. Stuart redshirted the 2014 season after transferring to Boise from Butte Community College (CA.), where he spent a season as the QB in 2013, and was named Nor-Cal Conference Offensive Player of the Year, and First-Team All-League, after leading Butte to the California Junior College State Championship, earning MVP honors in the title game. The Roadrunners were also named co-National Champions. Stuart completed 132 of 204 passes for 1,927 yards and 29 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

DEFENSE


DEFENSIVE LINE

DEFENSIVE END

Back from an injury that robbed him of his senior season in 2014, is 6-5 268 redshirt senior Tyler Horn (Scout 2*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Horn has started in all six games for the Broncos and reeled in 15 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack and recovered one fumble. As a senior in 2014, Horn had already racked up a sack and made four tackles (three solo, one tackle for loss) in the season opener against Mississippi, before leaving the game with a season ending injury. As a junior in 2013, Horn appeared in 12 games on the season, starting six at defensive tackle, recording 44 tackles (15 solo), including 5.5 tackles for loss, one sack, two pass breakups and recovered one fumble. As a sophomore in 2012, Horn played in each of the Broncos' 13 games, including two starts and registered 23 tackles (13 solo), ranking second on the team in both tackles for loss with 8.5 and sacks with five, while also recovering three fumbles on the season, which tied for the team high and tied for the eighth most in the country.

Backing up Horn will be 6-3 257 junior Sam McCaskill (Scout 2*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 seaso,n the Broncos sit at 5-1, and McCaskill has played in all six games and been credited with six tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks and one pass breakup. As a sophomore in 2014, McCaskill started 13 of Boise State's 14 games, in place of the injured Horn, and had 26 tackles, 2.5 sacks and four tackles for loss. In 2013 as a redshirt freshman, McCaskill saw action in 11 games as a reserve along the front line and was credited with seven tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack and one fumble recovery.

NOSE TACKLE

Once again plugging the middle of the defensive line is 6-0 306 senior Armand Nance (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Nance has started all six games for the Broncos and has made 14 tackles, is currently tied for second on the team with three tackles for loss and tied for second on the team in sacks with two. Originally recruited as a tight end,  Nance, as a junior in 2014, started all 14 games, recording 36 tackles (19 solo), 2.5 sacks, six tackles for loss and blocked a field goal. Nance had a breakout season as a sophomore in 2013, as he tallied 51 tackles, two sacks, four tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup.

Backing up Nance will be seldom used 6-3 288 senior Robert Ash (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Ash has played in all six games and made a meager four tackles. As a junior in 2014, Ash saw action in 12 games, making five tackles, including a sack and two tackles-for-loss. As a sophomore in 2013, Ash appeared in six games for the Broncos, registering nine tackles on the season (four solo), including 1.5 for-loss, one sack and a forced fumble.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Entering the season as a starter for the first time in his career as a Bronco is 6-0 298 redshirt senior Justin Taimatuia (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Taimatuia has started all six games for the Broncos and logged 11 tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack, one interception and two pass breakups. As a senior in 2014, Taimatuia sat out the season as a redshirt. As a junior in 2013, Taimatuia appeared in each of the Broncos 13 games during his debut season, recording 29 tackles (nine solo), including 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack. Prior to joining the Broncos for the 2014 season, Taimatuia spent two seasons at Fort Scott Community College (KS.), where as a sophomore in 2013, he was named All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Honorable Mention after registering 29 tackles (21 solo), including 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks for the Greyhounds.

Backing up Taimatuia will be 6-3 296 senior Tutulupeatau Mataele (Scout 3*). Mataele is one of three players on the Boise State roster that hails from the state of Utah as Mataele played his high school ball at Granger High School. At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Mataele has played in five of six games, making four tackles. As a senior in 2014, Mataele sat out the season as a redshirt due to the Broncos incredible depth along the defensive line. As a junior in 2013, Mataele spent the season on the Broncos practice squad. Prior to coming to Boise for the 2013 season, Mataele spent two seasons at Mt. San Antonio Community College (CA.), where as a sophomore in 2012, Mataele registered team highs with 42 tackles (23 solo), 14.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and broke up one pass. As a freshman in 2011, Mataele recorded 39 tackles (19 solo), ten tackles for loss, four sacks, four pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

LINEBACKER

STUD

Returning for his second season as a starter is 6-3 248 junior Kamalei Correa (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Correa has started all six games for the Broncos and recorded 17 tackles, a team leading five tackles for loss, a team leading three sacks and a team leading two forced fumbles. As a sophomore in 2014, Correa had a standout season as he was named All-Mountain West First Team after starting all 14 games for Boise State and leading the Mountain West in sacks with 12 and finishing third in tackles for loss with 19. Correa finished fifth on the Broncos with 59 tackles (40 solo), forcing a pair of fumbles and blocking a punt. As a true freshman in 2013, Correa, who was originally recruited as a defensive end, was a key contributor for the second team unit as he totaled 12 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack while playing in all 13 games.

Backing up Correa will be 6-3 248 redshirt freshman Jabril Frazier (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Frazier has played in all six games and been surprising, logging 11 tackles, coming in tied for third on the team with 2.5 tackles for loss, also coming in third on the team with 1.5 sacks and also two pass breakups. In 2014, Frazier spent his first season in Boise redshirting. As a high school senior at Verbum Dei HS (CA.) in 2013, Frazier recorded 99 tackles (91 solo).

WEAK SIDE

Returning for his second season as a starter is 6-0 228 junior Ben Weaver (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Weaver has started all six games for the Broncos and has been a nightmare for opposing offenses, amassing a team leading 33 tackles, one tackle for loss, one QB hurry and recovering one fumble. As a sophomore in 2014, Weaver appeared in 13 games, starting 11, and finishing third on the team with 62 tackles (41 solo), with two sacks and three tackles for loss. As a redshirt freshman in 2013, Weaver started in six of 12 games leading the Broncos in tackles with 89, to go along with four tackles for loss, one sack and one pass breakup.

Backing up Weaver for the second straight season is 6-4 232 senior Tyler Gray (Scout 2*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Gray has started two games, played in all six and has been impressive off the bench as he is currently fourth on the team in tackles with 22, tied for third on the team with 2.5 tackles for loss, tied for second on the team with two sacks, along with three pass breakups and one forced fumble. As a junior in 2014, Gray appeared in all 14 games, starting two, finishing fourth on the team with 61 tackles (34 solo), tied for second with seven pass breakups, with two interceptions returning one for a 32-yard touchdown at Nevada, in addition to a pair of sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss. As a sophomore in 2013 Gray saw action in all 13 games for the Broncos including seven starts tallying 43 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, seven pass breakups, three forced fumbles and two interceptions. 

MIDDLE

Returning for his second season as a starter is 6-1 230 junior Tanner Vallejo (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Vallejo has started all six games for the Broncos and is currently third on the team in tackles with 26, tied for second on the team in tackles for loss with three, including one sack, one forced fumble and blocking two kicks. As a sophomore in 2014, Vallejo was named to the All-Mountain West Second Team after finishing fifth in the conference with 16.5 tackles for loss and leading the Broncos with 100 tackles (64 solo), three fumble recoveries and scoring two defensive touchdowns, the first a 31-yard fumble return at Connecticut and the second a 63-yard interception return against Fresno State in the Mountain West Football Championship. Vallejo also earned Fiesta Bowl Defensive MVP honors in the Broncos win against No. 10 Arizona (2014). As a true freshman in 2013, Vallejo started in six of the 11 games that he played in, pulling down 51 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks and three pass breakups.

Backing up Vallejo will be 6-3 228 sophomore Joe Martarano (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Martarano has played in all six games and logged 16 tackles and one tackle for loss. As a redshirt freshman in 2014, Martarano appeared in all 14 games, with one start, finishing eighth on the team with 42 tackles. In 2013, Martarano spent his first season in Boise redshirting and was named the Broncos Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year. As a high school senior in 2012, Martarano was named honorable mention PARADE All-America, just the third Idahoan to make the team (Jake Plummer, 1992; Austin Lee, 1997). Martarano was also named Idaho's Gatorade Player of the Year, Idaho's 3A State Player of the Year and Snake River Valley Player of the Year honors on both offense and defense. On defense, Martarano recorded 147 tackles, two sacks and four interceptions, on offense, he threw for 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns, and rushed for 600 yards and 10 scores.

CORNERBACK

NICKEL

Getting the start at the nickleback spot is 6-2 216 junior Chanceller James (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and James has started four games, played in all six and has collected 16 tackles, is currently tied for second on the team in tackles for loss with three, with one sack and one pass breakup. As a sophomore in 2014, James appeared in ten games, starting three before suffering a season-ending injury. James made 36 tackles (25 solo) with two tackles for loss and recovered a fumble. James missed his entire redshirt freshman season with a knee injury that he suffered during fall camp. As a freshman sitting out the 2012 season as a redshirt, James was named the Broncos Special Teams Scout Team Player of the Year.

Backing up James will be 5-11 208 senior Mercy Maston (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Maston has played in all six games recording 15 tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception, two pass breakups and one fumble recovery. As a junior in 2014, Maston appeared in each of the Broncos' 13 games during his debut season, including starts in each of the final four games and recorded 44 tackles (28 solo), including one tackle for loss, recovering a fumble and recording three pass breakups on the season. Prior to joining the Broncos for the 2014 season, Maston spent two seasons at Bakersfield Community College (CA.), where as a sophomore in 2012, Maston helped lead Bakersfield College to the CCCAA State Championship, recording 68 tackles on the season (52 solo), and snaring two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown, while also recovering two fumbles.

CORNER

Starting at one CB spot is 5-9 155 senior Donte Deayon (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Deayon has started all six games for the Broncos and is currently fifth on the team in tackles with 21, along with 1.5 tackles for loss, is currently tied for the team lead in interceptions with four, is second on the team in pass breakups with five and one forced fumble. As a junior in 2014, Deayon finished seventh on the team with 46 tackles (33 solo) and led the team with nine pass breakups, was second on the team, third in the Mountain West and tied for ninth in the FBS with six interceptions and for his effort he earned a spot on the All-Mountain West Second Team. As a sophomore in 2013, Deayon once again earned All-Mountain West Second Team honors as he started in all 13 games for Boise State and tallied 54 tackles, three tackles for loss, nine pass breakups and six interceptions.

Backing up Deayon will be 5-11 172 true freshman Tyler Horton (Scout 3*). Utah State Head Coach Matt Wells felt strongly enough about Hortons talent that he was offered a scholarship to play for the Aggies. At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Horton has played in all six games and contributed just four tackles. As a high school senior at Edison HS (CA.) in 2014, Horton was named to the Fresno Bee Fab 50 and earned Most Valuable Player honors at the DBGuru All-Star Game, returning two interceptions for touchdowns. Horton helped lead his squad to the Division I SoCal Regional finals, while playing cornerback, wide receiver and returning punts. Horton hauled in four interceptions during the season.

Starting opposite Deayon is 5-10 188 junior Jonathan Moxey (Scout 2*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Moxey has started all six games for the Broncos and has rolled up 19 tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack, two interceptions and a team leading eight pass breakups. As a sophomore in 2014, Moxey appeared in all 14 games, starting 12, and tied for second on the team with seven pass breakups, also making 33 tackles (26 solo) with one interception. As a true freshman in 2013, Moxey appeared in 12 games with one start and was credited with 12 tackles and one pass breakup.

Backing up Moxey will be 5-10 183 junior Raymond Ford (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Ford has played in five of six games and contributed just five tackles and two pass breakups. Prior to Ford joining the Broncos for the 2015 season, Ford spent two seasons at Riverside Community College (CA.) where as a sophomore in 2014, Ford played in 12 games, ranking third on the team with 59 tackles (40 solo), including three tackles for loss, intercepting a team high six passes and ranking second with nine pass breakups. As a true freshman in 2013, Ford had a successful debut season, as he played in eight games, recording 34 tackles (26 solo), ranking tied for second on the team with four interceptions, returning one for a touchdown and also breaking up four passes and recovering one fumble. 

SAFETY

Missing from the lineup the passed few weeks and missing once again for the game at Utah State is 6-1 201 sophomore Dylan Sumner-Gardner (Scout 4*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Sumner-Gardner had started in all four games prior to his injury and had totaled 14 tackles, one tackle for loss and one pass breakup. As a true freshman in 2014, the highly rated Sumner-Gardner played fairly well as he appeared in 13 games making 19 tackles (nine solo) with two pass breakups. As a high school senior in 2013, Sumner-Gardner played in the 2014 Under Armour All-American Game getting national recognition while racking up 141 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and three interceptions, while being named to the Texas Associated Press Sports Editors Class 4A All-State Second Team, All-Area by the Dallas Morning News and District 10-4A First Team both his junior and senior seasons.  

The surefire starter at one safety spot is 6-2 212 senior Darian Thompson (Scout 2*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Thompson has started all six games that he has played and is currently second on the team in tackles with 30, along with 1.5 tackles for loss, a team leading four interceptions, tying for third on the team with three pass breakups and one forced fumble. As a junior in 2014, Thompson had a stellar season, as he was named to the CBSSports.com All-American Second Team and to the All-Mountain West First Team, after starting 13 games, hauling in seven interceptions which tied for third in the nation and tied atop the Mountain West (with Utah States Frankie Sutera), finishing second on the team and leading the Bronco secondary with 71 tackles (50 solo), returning one of his interceptions 36 yards for a touchdown and making five tackles for loss. Thompson first joined the Boise starting lineup at the backend of the backend of his true freshman season and he became a mainstay there, starting 19 straight games prior to the 2014, season totaling 106 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, four pass breakups and seven interceptions in two seasons.

Faced with the incredible task of backing up Thompson is 5-10 187 sophomore Cameron Hartsfield (Scout 2*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Hartsfield has played in five of six games and been credited with two tackles, one tackle for loss and one pass breakup. As a redshirt freshman in 2014, Hartsfield appeared in all 14 games, making nine tackles (five solo). In 2013, Hartsfield spent his first season in Boise as a redshirt. Prior to redshirting in 2013 for the Broncos, as a high school senior in 2012, Hartsfield recorded 100 tackles and 6 punt blocks in his final prep campaign, helping Allen HS (TX.) to the 5A Texas State Championship, while also garnering first-team All-District 10-5A at defensive back.

Starting at the safety spot opposite Thompson and replacing the injured Dylan Sumner-Gardner is 6-1 215 sophomore Kameron Miles (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Miles has started the last two games, played in all six, and has been credited with eight tackles, two pass breakups and one forced fumble. Prior to joining the Broncos for the 2014 season, Miles spent his redshirt freshman season at Butler Community College (KS.)and recorded 50 tackles (27 solo) with two pass breakups and 4.5 tackles-for-loss. and was a member of Scout.com's Juco Top 100 (No. 63) coming out of junior college. Miles originally signed with Texas A&M out of high school spending the 2013 season as a redshirt in College Station.

After being elevated to the second team defense, the backup to Miles will be 6-1 192 redshirt freshman Skyler Seibold (Scout NR). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Seibold has played in all six games and recorded just three tackles. In 2014, Seibold spent his first season in Boise as a redshirt. As a high school senior at Chaparral HS (CA.) in 2013, Seibold was named to the Second-Team All-Southwestern League on offense rushing 85 times for 571 yards and seven touchdowns and also recording 34 tackles on defense.

SPECIAL TEAMS

PUNTER

Punting for the Broncos once again this season is 6-2 185 junior Sean Wale (Scout 2*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Wale has punted 31 times for 1,126 yards for an average of 40.8 yards per punt with a long of 55 yards, including three touchbacks, nine punts fair caught, 12 punts inside the 20, six punts of 50+ yards and one blocked punt. As a sophomore in 2014, Wale punted 66 times for an average of 42.0 yards and a long of 63 yards, with 20 of those downed inside the 20-yard-line. Originally recruited as a kicker, Wale began his punting career for Boise State in 2013 following redshirting the 2012 season, as he saw action in 10 games booting 21 punts for a 41.5 yard per punt average, with three punts fair caught, eight punts downed inside the 20 and six 50+ yards punts. 

KICKER

Coming in as the starting placekicker for the first time in his career is 5-9 183 junior Tyler Rausa (Scout *). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Rausa has connected on 11 of 13 field goal tries with a long make of 51 yards and has hit 29 of 30 PAT attempts. As a sophomore in 2014, Rausa attempted and made his only PAT try of the season. In 2013, Rausa spent his first season in Boise as a redshirt after transferring to the Broncos from Riverside Community College (CA.). As a true freshman in 2012 at Riverside, Rausa converted 15 of 20 field goals with a long of 48 yards, and was 52 of 53 on PATs and earned all-conference honors. 

PUNT RETURN

The first man up at punt return is starting cornerback 5-9 152 senior Donte Deayon (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Deayon has returned 13 punts for 50 yards for an average of 3.8 yards per return with a long return of 16 yards. As a junior in 2014, Deayon returned nine punts for 92 yards for an average of 10.2 yards per punt return and returned one kick 75 yards for a touchdown. As a sophomore in 2013 Deayon returned 5 punts for 107 yards for a 21.4 yards per return average.

Backing up Deayon will be starting WR 5-6 173 senior Shane Williams-Rhodes (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Williams-Rhodes has fielded only one punt, returning it just 13 yards. As a junior in 2014, Williams-Rhodes returned 18 punts for 153 yards, which was good for an 8.5 yards per return average. Williams-Rhodes burst onto the scene as sophomore in 2013, as he earned an All-Mountain West Conference Honorable Mention nod as a return specialist by returning 16 punts for 233 yards for a 14.6 yards per return average.

KICK RETURN

The leading return man for the Broncos is 5-9 205 starting WR sophomore Jeremy McNichols (Scout 3*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and McNichols has returned five kicks for 89 yards for a 17.8 yards per return average. As a true freshman in 2014, McNichols averaged 20.7 yards per return over 19 kickoff returns. Also getting a look as a return man is backup RB 5-10 198 graduate transfer senior Kelsey Young (Scout 4*). At the mid-way point of the 2015 season, the Broncos sit at 5-1, and Young has returned two kicks for 39 yards for an average of 19.5 yards per return. Prior to the 2015 season, Young hadn't consistently returned kickoffs since his sophomore season of 2012 at Stanford, where Young averaged 22.2 yards per kickoff return.


Brian Phillips - Football Insider for UstateAggies.com

                                 OFFENSE

UTAH STATE           TEAM STATISTICS                            BOISE STATE

26.4                           Points Per Game                                40.7

91                              First Downs                                        145

39                              Rushing First Downs                          59

42 `                            Passing First Downs                          78

839                            Rushing Yardage                               1,162

185                            Rushing Attempts                               276

4.5                             Average Yards Per Carry                   4.2

167.8                         Average Yards Per Game                  193.7

10                              Rushing Touchdowns                         18

955                            Passing Yardage                                1,732

86-149-5                   Comp-Att-Int                                        133-197-5

6.4                            Average Yards Per Pass                      8.8

191.0                        Average Yards Per Game                    288.7

4                               Passing Touchdowns                           10

1,794                        Total Offense                                        2,894

334                           Total Plays                                            473

5.4                            Average Yards Per Play                       6.1

358.8                        Average Yards Per Game                    482.3

5-14                          Interception Returns: #Yards               13-127

6-2                            Fumbles - Fumbles Lost                       5-1

41-393                      Penalties -Yards Lost                           41-337

78.6                          Average Yards Per Game                    56.2

29:51                        Time Of Possession                             32:15

24/71                        3rd Down Conversions                         32/89

34%                          3rd Down Percentage                          36%

7/13                          4th Down Conversions                         6/11

54%                          4th Down Percentage                          55%

14-69                        Sacks - Yardage Lost                          15-101

(13-15) 87%              Red Zone Scores                                (27-31) 87%

(8-15) 53%                Red Zone Touchdowns                       (19-31) 61%

 

 DEFENSE

USU OPPONENT         TEAM STATISTICS            BOISE STATE OPPONENT

19.2                               Points Per Game                     12.0

84                                  First Downs                              82

29                                  Rushing First Downs                24

47                                  Passing First Downs                47

511                                Rushing Yardage                     364

181                                Rushing Attempts                    183

2.8                                 Average Yards Per Carry         2.0

102.2                             Average Yards Per Game        60.7

6                                    Rushing Touchdowns               2

976                                Passing Yardage                      1,193

88-154-6                        Comp-Att-Int                             108-224-13

6.3                                 Average Yards Per Pass          5.3

195.2                             Average Yards Per Game        198.8

6                                    Passing Touchdowns                5

1,487                             Total Offense                            1,157

335                                Total Plays                                407

4.4                                 Average Yards Per Play           3.8

297.4                             Average Yards Per Game        259.5

5-96                               Interception Returns: #Yards    9-132

10-5                               Fumbles -Fumbles Lost            9-3

37-306                           Penalties-Yards Lost                42-362

61.2                               Average Yards Per Game        60.3

30:09                             Time Of Possession                 27:45

22/75                             3rd Down Conversions             35/103

29%                               3rd Down Percentage              34%

7/13                               4th Down Conversions             4/11

54%                               4th Down Percentage               36%

6-38                               Sacks - Yardage Lost               14-87

(10-12) 83%                  Red Zone Scores                      (5-8) 63%

(10-11) 91%                  Red Zone Touchdowns             (3-8) 38%


Brian Phillips - Football Insider for UstateAggies.com

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