How do you beat Boise State's football team? Start with a high NFL Draft pick on offense

By Brian Murphy

The NFL Draft begins Thursday evening and it could be a big year for Boise State prospects. While the Broncos are unlikely to have a first-round selection, wide receiver Titus Young could go in the second round. Several other former Broncos expect to hear their names called before the draft wraps up Saturday.

We will have plenty of content about the former Broncos headed to the NFL.

This post however, is about Boise State’s opponents, specifically the few foes that have managed to beat the Broncos in recent years.

Washington quarterback Jake Locker, TCU quarterback Andy Dalton and Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick are all expected to be drafted in the first two rounds of this week’s NFL Draft.

They have another thing in common: Each led a team to victory against Boise State in the Chris Petersen era.

Considering the Broncos are 61-5 under Petersen, I found this nugget interesting. So I did a little digging — and a little analysis about what it could mean for the Broncos in 2011.

Here is the big picture review:

In Boise State’s last six losses — dating back to the 2005 bowl loss against Boston College in Dan Hawkins' final game as coach — the opposing team had at least one first- or second-round NFL Draft pick or a Heisman Trophy finalist on offense. In five of the losses that player was a quarterback. In the other instance, a running back.

(Note: This assumes that Kaepernick, Locker and Dalton will be selected in the first or second round, which seems pretty safe at this point.)

The teams that defeated Boise State since 2005 also had at least one other high NFL pick (defined for this exercise as a first-, second- or third-rounder) on the team, usually on defense.

Some of the teams, notably Boston College in 2005 and TCU in 2009, were stocked with NFL picks.

A closer look

Dec. 28, 2005: Boston College 27, Boise State 21 (MPC Computers Bowl in Boise)

In Hawkins’ final game — Petersen was the offensive coordinator and had been named head coach, but Hawkins coached the game before leaving for Colorado — Boise State faced a team of loaded with future NFL Draft prospects.

Offensive star: Quarterback Matt Ryan — who went 19-of-36 for 256 yards and three touchdowns in the bowl game — was the No. 3 pick overall by the Atlanta Falcons in 2008 and has blossomed into an above average NFL quarterback. Atlanta was the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs in 2010.

Other high picks: Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka was selected with the last pick of the first round (No. 32 overall) by the New York Giants in 2006. Offensive lineman Jeremy Trueblood went in the second round (59th overall) and cornerback Will Blackmon was picked in the fourth round (No. 115 overall) that year.

In 2007, Boston College produced two more mid-round NFL draftees. In 2008, offensive lineman Gosder Cherilus was selected in the first round (No. 17 overall). In 2009, defensive tackle B.J. Raji was a first-round pick (No. 9 overall) to the Green Bay Packers.

All told, the Eagles had four first-round picks and a second-round selection on the team.

Sept. 8, 2007: Washington 24, Boise State 10 (in Seattle)

Offensive star: Redshirt freshman quarterback Jake Locker completed 13 of 25 passes for 193 yards and one touchdown and one interception. Locker also had a rushing touchdown in the game. Now Locker — who had an uneven career at Washington — is a potential first-round draft pick.

Other high picks: In 2009, Linebacker Donald Butler (third round, 79th overall) and defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim (third round, 86th overall) were selected.

Nov. 23, 2007: Hawaii 39, Boise State 27 (in Honolulu)

Offensive star: Senior quarterback Colt Brennan, who was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2007, completed 40-of-53 passes for 495 yards and five touchdowns. He was picked in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins.

Other high pick: Defensive end David Veikune was picked in the second round (No. 52) overall in the 2008 draft.

Of note: Wide receiver Davone Bess had 14 catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Bess went undrafted in 2008, but has become a key contributor for the Miami Dolphins.

Dec. 23, 2007: East Carolina 41, Boise State 38 (Hawaii Bowl)

Offensive star: Running back Chris Johnson had 408 all-purpose yards, including 223 yards rushing and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in the win. In 2008, he was selected in the first round (No. 24 overall) by the Tennessee Titans and became just the sixth NFL rusher to amass more than 2,000 yards in a single-season in 2009. He was the NFL Offensive Player of the Year that season, when he broke the league’s record for all-purpose yards.

Other high picks: Defensive tackle Linval Joseph (second round, 46th overall) and tight end Davon Drew (fifth round) also were drafted.

Dec. 23, 2008: TCU 17, Boise State 16 (Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego)

Offensive star: Quarterback Andy Dalton completed 22-of-35 passes for 197 yards and one interception. He could be a first- or second-round selection this year.

Other high picks: The true star of that TCU game was the defense. Defensive end Jerry Hughes, who had one sack, was selected in the first round (31st overall) by the Indianapolis Colts in 2009. In 2010, linebacker Daryl Washington (second round, 47th overall).

Of note: In addition, the Horned Frogs had five other players — three defensive — selected in final three rounds of the 2009 draft and one more in 2010.

Nov. 26, 2010: Nevada 34, Boise State 31 OT (in Reno)

Offensive star: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick completed 19-of-35 passes for 259 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for 45 yards and a key touchdown in the Wolf Pack’s comeback victory.

Other high pick: Defensive end Dontay Moch is projected as a mid-second round selection.

Of note: Wide receiver Rishard Matthews, who had a monster game against Boise State, could eventually be a NFL Draft prospect.


It usually takes superior offensive talent to beat the Broncos. Ryan, Brennan, Johnson and Kaepernick had stellar performances in their victories.

I have been asked several times lately what Boise State’s record will be in 2011. Like most observers, I point to the Georgia and TCU games as the biggest stumbling blocks to an undefeated season. The upper- and mid-tier Mountain West Conference teams should also provide tougher challenges week in and week out than the Broncos have faced in recent years, perhaps increasing the chances of an “unexpected” loss.

Perhaps we should also be consulting the NFL Draft prospects of opponents’ key offensive player, especially their quarterbacks.

Among 2011 opponents, Georgia’s Aaron Murray stands out as a potential NFL prospect. Fresno State’s Derek Carr, a redshirt sophomore without a career start, certainly has the size and bloodlines to be considered a potential NFL Draft pick.

But sometimes it’s hard to know. Before this season, few would have considered Dalton and Kaepernick likely high NFL picks.

Other notes

The 2005 Georgia team, which defeated Boise State in the season opener, had 11 players drafted in the next two years. Cornerback Tim Jennings was the highest pick — second round, No. 62 overall in 2006.

The 2006 Oklahoma team, which Boise State beat in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, 12 players drafted in the next three years and kicker Garrett Hartley, who was undrafted, has become a solid NFL player. The highest pick was running back Adrian Peterson (first round, No. 7 overall in 2007). The Sooners also had two second-round selections in the 2008 draft.

The 2008 Oregon team, which Boise State defeated in Eugene, had nine players drafted the next two years, a figure that does not include running back LeGarrette Blount, who made it to an NFL roster as undrafted free agent. The highest selection was safety Patrick Chung (second round, No. 34 overall in 2009). The Ducks had three second-round selections in 2009 and another in 2010.

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1303833187 How do you beat Boise State's football team? Start with a high NFL Draft pick on offense Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Few can beat BSU

Excellent analysis. Indeed, few teams have been able to beat BSU in recent years. Bronco victims include several premiere teams. That's why anyone who can beat BSU must be darn good which is what your analysis proves. Only teams with superstar talent have been able to do so. But none stand out more than Kaepernick. In 4 games against the Broncos, Kaepernick put up 168 points. By himself, he rushed for 391 yards and 3 TDs. He passed for 884 yards and 10 TDs while amassing 1,999 yards of total offense vs. BSU. But as astonishing as those stats are, they pale in comparison to these: he is the only QB in NCAA history to have passed for over 10,000 yards while rushing for over 4,000. He beat that record by some 1,500 passing yards. He is the only player in NCAA history to have passed for over 2,000 yards and rushed for over 1,000 yards in three seasons and tied the all time NCAA record for rushing TDs by at QB at 59. To put that last stat in perspective, Tebow had 56. Indeed, it has taken an offensive superstar to beat BSU and Kaepernick certainly fits that bill. But your analysis fails to consider what Nevada's defense did, all but shutting down BSUs offense in the second half. Moch was all over Kellen Moore for much of that half. In fact, that pattern was evident in all four games against Nevada since 2007 as Nevada outscored BSU in the second half in every game and from the second quarter on in 2009.

You dont disappoint Ski/jocdoc

In those 4 games you mentioned, how many times did UNR beat the Broncos? Once. On a missed 20 yard FG. Those stats you spout mean zero.

Kaepernick is a poor mans Vince Young. How is that NFL gig working out for VY? Hes an athlete, a good one, who throws the ball 200mph and has zero touch. Hes fast, right? You think hes going to rush for touchdowns in the NFL? How many rushing TD's does Tebow (your comp, not mine) have in the National Fooball League? Denard Robinson, right now, on a mediocre football team, is setting marks Kapernick can only dream of. 1500 yards passing 1500 yards running and doing it in games where he has 200 of each. Never remember Kap doing that.

See, stats are pointless. Winning is all that matters. 1-3 is something to be proud of. Theres got to be a trophy nowadays for that.

You know what I think SkiDoc should be proud of?

Here's something to be proud of: arguing that Boise State was inferior to their rivals, but still opening it with the statement "few teams have been able to beat BSU in recent years."

It's a lot more fulfilling for a UNR fan to say 'Boise State is great, and Nevada is even better.' As opposed to your argument, which is 'Boise State can beat Nevada because Nevada is crap.'


Its not about Nevada for this guy. Its about Kaepernick. Hes been trying to convince this board for a few years how awesome his gazelle is. He takes every opportunity. No worries, in a few days its all over. He will get drafted, get cut or be a backup for awhile and then do something else. Hes a GREAT ATHLETE who cant throw for accuracy. Is Tom Brady considered a great athlete? Peyton Manning? Drew Brees? Matt Ryan? Joe Flacco? No, but they are accurate. Michael Vick is the only one I can think of that can be accurate and is also super athletic. ski/jocdoc will leave these boards in the next few weeks. He went missing when UNR lost to Hawaii and reappeared around Thanksgiving. And when the Broncos lay a beat down on Reno this Fall, he will still stay in hiding.

sports science test

guess you missed the sports science test results. he threw with 90% accuracy. but then nothing he does would ever convince you. btw...i havent disappeared and i never will. the statesman is not the pnly blog i write. i wouldn't be so sure about this fall either nevada has a lot of talent. soon you will be choking on the name tyler lantrip.

Sports Science?

Youve got to be kidding me? That ESPN show with the little weasel? Anybody who drafts Kaepernick is throwing away a draft pick. I feel the same way about Ryan Mallet.

You are a little more confident than Ault is about this Fall. He chocked on his peppers when his AD scheduled a game here.


Was that you on KTIK today?

You'd better go see the middle school Utah boy on You Tube.

And claim your hobbled early retirement benefits.


You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

AP top 25

Somehow I wouldn't refer to any team in the top 25 as crap.

Okay. Highly overrated, soon to be crap. Way it works.


You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!


Read Landon's post again and tell me where you come up with him saying Nevada is crap. He didn't say anything about the team, he specifically mentioned Kaepernick's abilities and the win-loss record against Boise State - and that's it. Reading comprehension failed you in this case.

That would be called either schizoid, or sucking up.


You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

we shall see

Draft is Thursday and we shall see if the NFL agrees with you. I presume you wont be buying a 49er jersey with Kaepernick on the back will you?

Like Kap as well

but in 4 games against BSU he completed only 45% of his pa$$es (even Enderle had a higher %)

Your defensive analysis is a little skewed. In those 4 years Nevada gave up more points (and I'm not including the OT points) to BSU than Hawaii and San Jose St. (not exactly defensive juggernauts). And last year was the only year BSU did not go into half-time with a two touchdown lead.

Kap was great and Nevada always figured out how to make a game of it with BSU.

I'm hoping Oakland takes him, I think he would fit well there and it would be cool seeing him run around in silver and black.

Yah right.....When you play

Yah right.....When you play a schedule like BSU does every year that isn't saying much...or anything at all. When you guys play more than one decent team a year maybe you can will have a reason to be arrogant but until then you haven't proven anything other than you can run the score up on very weak schools which are basically high schools.

Tim. i am not refering to you by tim

anymore. We all know it isnt your name. So we will call you who you are 41.
OK 41, The funny thing about winning at a high percentage is that your competition seems weak in comparison. BSU has one of the highest win percentages in the nation in recent history, in comparison if BSU played say inthe pac 10 and ran up the same wins (which they would) you could say that the competion is weak. How about the spurs and the Bulls they sure played weak competition this year.....
I'm sure you understand that whatever pathetic institution graduated you BSU could beat the snot out of them in football, that must kill you living here.

Tim - Or whoever you are

I contacted this RBC office in Atlanta, yesterday:

They said they have never heard of you. I explained why I was calling and was transferrred to somebody in (I think), their Internal Affairs/Fraud office. After explaining the nature of my phone call they wanted tho get the two LinkedIn pages about you. I emailed lnks to them. I was told (later on a second call I made to them to confirm their receipt of my e-mail), they had no record of you as one of their employees. I got the impression they did not like you representing yourself as one of their Top Management employees and would do something about it.

I believe you might be receiving visitor(s) knocking on your real door (wherever that is) in time, as it is very easy to trace originating addresses of computers, these days, especially with a Court Order. I think you will get the opportunity to meet real RBC people, before it is over.

But, by all means keep on posting on this board. You are always welcome here.

ouch murph!

You got torched on OBNUG... any response?

Funny stuff ...

... always entertaining read on that blog. Like Mr. Fiskers.

Never said teams with a high draft pick (or Heisman finalist) always beat Boise State (see Oregon, Oklahoma). Just said if you don't have that, you really don't have a chance (at least recently).

-- murph

thanks for the response Murph....

we may question your mental capacity sometimes but you can at least laugh at yourself sometimes. You do a good job on IST when you are on. Of course anyone would.

One thing about Locker

The game against BSU was his first game he played in at Washington. BSU had no film on him to prepare. Yes I know, this is a whine on my part. But every other team Locker faced had film on him to prepare for his style of play.

Not exactly true JIB ...

... Washington played Syracuse the week before it played Boise State in 2007. Washington won 42-12 in Locker's debut. The Huskies finished the year 4-9, easily the most baffling loss of the Petersen era, though Taylor Tharp was making his first career road start.

-- murph

Murphy - Why are you baffled by the loss?

The loss to Washington was mostly because the BSU Defesive Secondary sucked and was very porous, at that time (and for most of the 2007 season - Hawaii loss and ECU losses - same thing); especially crossing routes. The BSU D-backs seemed like they would always get confused and could just not make the adjsutments and didn't have the speed to regain position once they had given it up. I remember that 2007 season as the "Season of the Sucky Secondary".

Nothing baffling about it at all.

Also, the Bronco O-receivers dropped a high percentage of 'catchable' balls that day in Seattle.

Actually, Tharp is NOT the reason BSU lost that game. Same as Brotzman is not the reason BSU lost to Nevada.

I guess when a team, collectively plays poorly, there is always gotta be the tenancy by some, for one poor sap to get blamed and roasted as THE reason.


Didn't blame loss on Tharp ...

... just pointed out it was his first career road start. Tharp was 29 of 47 for 285 yards and three interceptions. Allowing 24 points is not a ton, especially for Boise State's offense to overcome. The secondary certainly had its issues (also with injuries) that year, notably in the loss to Hawaii.

It is "baffling" in that it is the only loss to a non-winning team in Petersen's tenure. Other losses:

at Hawaii (undefeated regular season, Sugar Bowl)
vs. East Carolina (bowl game, super-talented RB, motivation issues for Hawaii Bowl)
vs. TCU (one-loss team, in bowl game, tough game)
at Nevada (one-loss team, on the road, against opponent that had circled BSU all year)

Pretty sure all of those teams won at least 10 games.

-- murph

I disagree

I was at the UW game and Tharp was terrible. Poor sap, sure. The Bronco D held UW scoreless in the 2nd half while the Bronco O for the game outgained the Huskies but came up empty inside the Red Zone all afternoon. A lot were poor throws and INTs by Mr. Tharp. I remember very few dropped balls in Seattle.

I remember a young Jason Robinson geting beat on a trick play and the linebackers starting slow in containing a very fast Locker. And a very poor performance by TT.


I remember watching the failures in the Red Zone, too. It seemed like we could have our way outside the twenty, but once in the Red Zone there was some sort of mental block thingie going on. It was like you could feel it 600 miles away from the game, through the TV vibes.

I do agree with the failure to execute in the Red Zone part being baffling.

VNDL.....You are right about the defense too...

It was from this season, the staff,I believe, realized we needed to be better defensively. Because of that season, we went and got faster more athletic linebackers and created that hybrid position. Locker beat us on key 3rd downs, the Hawaii WR's ran all over us and Chris Johnson looked like Superman in the bowl game. We needed speed on that side of the ball and I think it was a big emphasis in recruiting etc...

Yep - 2007 was a turning point

In retrospect, we needed the 2007 season (bitter pill analogy) to get us to where we are now. Just like from the 2005 beatdwon by Georgia, we learned we needed much bigger and faster linesmen on both sides of the ball, and started recruiting to get the Hogmollies. I remember my wife commenting during that game that the GA linesmen looked huge, had massive upper body muscles and no bellies, and looked like a rock wall compared to the smaller Bronco linesmen, some of which had pretty big guts.

Well, we got 'em now. Compare the current Bronco and Dawg rosters and they are about Even Steven height and weight wise. No fatties on the Broncos anymore.

Lots of learning lessons from 2007 season.

The thing I like about BSU's coaches is the ability to learn from mistakes, make adjustments, and constantly improve basics and quality of player personnel.

The 2005 or 2007 version of the Broncos is not even close to the 2011 version (position by position wise). Nothing against the 2005 or the 2007 Bronco Team - but, they are just different types of players with different skill sets and abilities and levels of conditioning.

I read an interesting thread on BroncoCountry over the weekend. One post had a little blurb about Korey Hall being asked what he thought about BSU's Spring Ball that just finished up. Korey said he wouldn't be able to make the Bronco team this year, if he were back at BSU. Quite a compliment coming from Korey.


Not hugely revealing

As a stat wonk, I love the research from this article, but I have to say that it doesn't really say much about Boise State or the teams who beat them for that matter.

There are over 200 players on any given week who will be "first or second round draft picks"- making a big deal of that only amplifies the fact that Boise State plays a disproportionate number of nobodies. Imagine if Ole Miss or Minnesota made the statement that "sure, we've lost 40 games in five years, but almost every team we played had a top draft pick or Hiesman candidate." Could very well be true.


What I remember most about that game was that Locker was spectacular. It looked like he was going to be a world beater. Of the games since then, he never came close to that kind of performance.


Locker was 13-of-25 for 193 yards, one TD and one interception. He also threw another pass right to Bronco LB David Shields that Shields dropped, allowing Washington to score on their opening drive. Locker gained 84 yards on 16 carries and had several impressive runs. He was solid, but far from spectacular.

file this under "stupidity."


Make that 'Double Stupidity' for Houston - it wasn't his first time:

Maybe that is why he declared for the NFL Draft early. Maybe Richt gave him a little 'push' out of the door?


A new standard is being set

Today, it seems younger players are influenced to a greater degree than ever, by their role models in sports.

The sad thing is the younger kids will now think it is okay to smoke pot, if, both of these guys get drafted and make the Big Bucks; and begin a 'training regimen' like their heroes to prepare for an NFL Draft in their lives too, someday.

I could see this concept being embraced by future Tackling Tots and Pop Warner players:



VNDL, I agree 100 percent. It is sad that so few people actually want to hold these guys to some sort of standard. You know my view on these athletes and what a privalage it is to even have the opportunity to do what they do. Then they go and screw it up by doing something undiciplined and stupid, then everybody apologizes for them and makes excuses for them. It appals me the state of youth and especially young men. We as a society place no demands on them, no expectations and no direction. Then we wonder, "where have all the honorable men gone?"


You and I are in lockstep agreement on this, 100%, totally.



you made an AA comment the other day. I was wondering if you just saw some addictive behavior on this thread.......
"I can quit at any time..."

P2 - yep, lolol

Actually, being real serious for a moment - It is easy to see on these boards most days, by lots of posters.

But, Fugly cracks me up - one day he is gonna split (quit - remorse) and come back in the Fall; and a few days latter he is back in all his splendor and glory (needs his fix - relapse). Classical signs of Puter Addiction and Keyboard Dependency.


Jay Clocker

May be a high draft pick based on potential, but he was at best a mediocre college QB. Really mediocre is probably too much praise - he had a lot of really terrible games (giggle). He kinda blows up Murph's theory as far as I'm concerned.

In looking at two Washington QBs it is funny how the NFL works. A pretty poor college QB will get drafted pretty high and make a lot of money based on project potential, while an oustanding college QB (Moore) will be lucky to get drafted because nobody things he has the arm needed for the NFL (this may be true - I don't really watch enough NFL ball to have a thought on that).

Jake locker

and ryan leaf.... nough said.

The answer is:

Texas Hold 'Em


You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

Mr fiskers takes it to Murph