Missed deep balls, poor run game sink Boise State football team's offense

By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Here are some additional notes from Boise State's 17-13 loss to Michigan State on Friday night. At the bottom, I have links to our stories that were in the newspaper today.


The Broncos threw three consecutive deep balls down the right sideline on their last possession of the game. Junior Aaron Burks drew pass interference on the first, senior Chris Potter was unable to get back to an underthrown pass on the second and the third fell just out of the reach of diving senior Mitch Burroughs.

“We had the matchups we wanted,” Petersen said. “The ball’s got to be thrown maybe a little tighter and the receivers have got to come up and make the play. Somebody’s got to make something happen.”

The last two incompletions led to the fourth-and-2 play that ended the Broncos’ chances. Still, junior quarterback Joe Southwick said the lower-percentage passes were worth the risk.

“We’ve got to be explosive,” said Southwick, who connected with sophomore Matt Miller for a 40-yard gain earlier in the game. “We can’t just try to get our way down there by making 5-yard gains all the time. We’re going to have to take shots.”


True freshman tailback Jack Fields only received one carry in his first college game. He gained 2 yards.

Petersen was pleased with the way senior starter D.J. Harper played, but wants to see more of Fields.

“We need to get him the ball,” Petersen said.


Sophomore cornerback Bryan Douglas, the No. 3 cornerback, and redshirt freshman Darian Thompson, the No. 3 safety, played extensively in the opener.

Douglas started in place of senior Jerrell Gavins, who has been limited at times as he recovers from last year’s knee injury. They split time during the game.
Douglas made five tackles and forced a fumble. Gavins made eight tackles.

Thompson made six tackles and recovered a fumble.

“(Thompson) had a great spring, he had an excellent offseason program workout and he continued that into the fall,” defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake said. “He deserved a chance tonight.”


Boise State’s experienced offensive line was unable to handle Michigan State’s talent-rich defensive front in the run game. The Broncos rushed 24 times for 37 yards but didn’t allow a sack.

The Broncos were quick to credit the Spartans — senior guard Joe Kellogg said it’s probably the best front seven he’s faced in 23 starts — but expected more from a line that included two seniors and three juniors.

“We could have executed better, but they just kind of outplayed us tonight,” Kellogg said. “… When half your offense isn’t clicking, you’re going to have issues.”


Today's stories: game story, column, notes, turnovers, Kellen Moore. Plus, here's our photo gallery.

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the writing is on the wall

- Southwick is the worst QB that the broncos have unleashed in at least 25 years. He has no control. He doesn't anticipate or think well and he is awful under pressure. All MSU did was shut down DJ and forced JS to pass and the game was in check.

The good news for BSU is MSU is not that sharp at QB either, albeit I would rather have Maxwell, he looks like he can be taught. Joe picked up zero from Kellen and after three years that is a crying shame. BSU is going to be in a dog fight for any of their games.

The Bronco defense should be really really good by mid-season, but a 6 and 6 season for the Broncos is not unrealistic. If BSU is going to be successful they have to burn Patti's red-shirt and not for back up duty!


Its one game. One bad offensive outing against a Top 5 defense on the ROAD against a B1G team.

Relax. Its not all doom and gloom. The Broncos have two weeks to fix some of the weaknesses and almost 3 weeks until they play another legit team.

Im not a fan of JS, but Im not sure any QB on the roster can step in and do better. Patti was very raw and the offense very simple for him during scrimmages. Lets have some patience before we run around crying the sky is falling. Every game cant be won, every year. This is still a very good team and 10 wins is still a strong reasonable goal.

"a strong, REASONABLE goal..."


Im fine with that



is like "Groundhog Day" for us at least until next year. Hope TCU takes the Big 12! When they lost their ace QB they found another one. We didn't.


I hated it but it's just one game. The absolute LAST thing needed right now is to burn Pattis red shirt. He's not even close to ready right now but give him another year and he should be.

Another legit team?

Where? On the Cupcake State schedule? LOL! Now that the "meat" of Cupcake State's schedule is behind them after one game they can get back to business as usual - baking cupcakes and playing powder puffs week in and week out on the smurf turf. Boo hoo nobody will play us because they are scared.

Good point JL

I thought it was pretty cool for Michigan State to participate in our 2nd scrimmage of the Fall. Not sure who lined that up, but props. Yes, I agree it was a bad offensive outing. Truth be told, it wasn't all that much different than the first fall scrimmage. What's crazy is that none of our other QB's or RB's got to play in the scrimmage. Well, Fields got one carry, but still. I would have thought that it would have been a good idea to test more of our depth chart against a Big Ten team, yanno, just to see how they'd do in a game situation. I think that what impressed me the most about that scrimmage was how many people showed up to watch it. Man, those Big Ten fans are something, huh? Pretty cool of espn to have televised it so us Bronco fans could watch it.

My perspective on the scrimmage is that BSU has a lot of issues on offense, but we already knew that from the first fall scrimmage. This second fall scrimmage did nothing but highlight how bad our offense actually is. I sure do hope we get things fixed before he season opener.

Wait.... what???? THAT was the season opener??? Are you serious? Oh sheit! We're screeewed!

Φ Kinda like

that post.

The lack of imagination or attempt to show some versatility was shocking.

Who was calling the "scrimmage" on offense? Running up the gut or off tackle against a stacked defense? Repeatedly?

Among many other things, as we discussed earlier today.

Guess we'll just have to let some things slide ... 2 yards short.


Congratulations! This may be the dumbest post I've ever seen on here, and that's no small effort. By the way, did you see Patti's performance in the Fall scrimmage? He's nowhere near ready to play yet.


Patti has tremendous upside, and I doubt if Southwick does after three years in the program. He may settle down a bit, but that's about all we can hope for.

i agree

southwick had the "deer in the headlights" look last night. the last time i saw that look was in GA. and we all know how that turned out. patti is a sure bet for the starting position if the broncos want to win. that was one of the poorest excuses of a starting qb i have seen in some time. it was said that joe is "cool under pressure". i say he is downright fridgid because he resembled a frozen ice pop. i'm sure he was a great practice qb but i really don't think he is ready for big time football. if it wasn't for the defense, the score would have been embarassing. coach pete, i think you need to seriously look at your options (patti). after all, he couldn't do any worse.

Did anyone else notice KTVB

Did anyone else notice KTVB mysteriously had "technical difficulties " when it came time to recap the game?

Why does this sound familiar?

Oh, that's right, you sound exactly like the Lions fans screaming for Kellen to be axed after his first pre season game. Yeah, we lost by a few points against a top program so we are definitely doomed. Cogent analysis.

And you can't read

To say the things you say after one game when we were outclassed by a better MSU team is a travesty! I don't know what game you watched but it certainly wasn't the same game I watched. Grow up and stop crying in your beer!

Come on guys

This is a young team. The program under coach Pete has been in this situation before, they will be fine. You can't win them all. They can still avoid the implosion that happened in 2005 by learning from their mistakes and move on.


actually, this program, under coach pete, has never been in this situation before. However, the "program", as a whole, has been, but it was 15 years ago. That's the last time a BSU's offense was denied a trip into the endzone. Houston Nutt was the coach. BSU finished 5-6.
That same year (1997) We lost to Wisconsin by, get this ....FOUR points! Crazy, huh?

O-line woes

What looked like one our stronger units turned out to be a dud. MSU lost their best DT to the NFL, and still manhandled us at the LOS. Not sure I'd call their DL talent-rich until they go up against better O-lines. Would like to see some of our younger linemen like Travis Averill given a chance.

Somethings aren't meant to be

I know it's one game and yes I bleed blue but I honestly expected more out of Southwick given the fact he has had the benefit of playing in the BSU system for 3 years. Not one offensive TD! We could have started Nick Patti and gotten that lack of output but at least we would have had an excuse for poor QB play. I agree totally that Patti has tremendous upside. I have to get used to seeing coach Pete coach up the QB on the sideline during the game. Haven't seen that in a long time.

A lot of football widows

having the same problem.

Rip it! And now the big,

Rip it!

And now the big, bulging, national chumps,BSU Broncos have the same record as the northland Vandals. So things are the same in fairy land.!!!!!!!

Come on Chadd, poor coaching is what sunk BSU's offense

You wrote that Petersen was pleased with the way senior starter D.J. Harper played, but wants to see more of Fields. “We need to get him the ball,” Petersen said.

Hmmmm, too bad there's not a way for a head coach to somehow figure out a way to get a particular player into the game a little more. Seriously, it must have been pretty rough on him to have to stand there all night on the sidelines and not have any control of who plays and who doesn't.

Nice fluff piece, Chadd! I think it's safe to say that your Bronco press credentials are good for another week or two. Keep up the good work.

Hey Chadd, Sorry for that last crack. I bet it was that wild and crazy Murph. He probably hacked into your account and did it, man ... what a character. Nice one Brian, pretty funny stuff.

The amount of idiocy in this comment section is unreal.

You can critique the game all you want, and make stupid observations on Coach Petersen's one-line quotes.

But are you are honestly going after Cripe's work in the comment section for the world to see? This is how the man makes a living, and you are going to call out Murphy and Cripe on simple observations from a football game? If you have such a problem with the man's work, close the browser, shutdown the computer, and go cancel your subscription to the Idaho Statesman. That will actually hurt the man. Don't bother attempting to hurt the man's pride with your critical remarks.

Also, do not waste your time replying to this message. Anything you have to add or any attempt to justify yourself is not worth my time in reading.


a comment section is called a comment section for a reason.

some unreal comments

i can't believe some ot the comments after ONE game. Some of these people must be fans of some teams that never beat BSU or else they have no life and like the attention they get when they make some or their dumb statements.

No team can always go 12-0 or 11-1 again I say no team can do that all the time-in any league. Every MSU fan I talked to after the game was impressed with the way we could play after losing 17 or our 22 starters.

Lighten-up people and you others try getting a real life.

Good comment

from someone who was at the game. We've been spoiled, losing is part of football--for the team and for the fans. Now, if Coach Pete can just get our offense going...

The Game

could ve went either way. One long ball catch. Sheesh some of the fans I just dont understand. I thought JS did well with the offense for his first time. He couldve fell apart like Z at Georgia after his two blocked pa sses but he just kept coming and held his own. With that said there is alot to work on with the O. I have faith in Petersen to clean it up and win the rest of their games with JS as QB.

What fans

It's really easy to say that a red shirter is what the team needs because you can't be proved wrong. I have as much confidence as anyone that Patti is going to be one of our heroes one day. But I have just as much confidence in my opinion that none of you have expertise that even registers on any scale that measures Petersen's judgement. Have fun with the powerlessness of your armchair, coaches.

That headline

could be taken out of context.

The bottom line....

is that Southwick played like an idiot. He couldn't get the ball to three WRs that had beaten their coverage CBs. He forgot where the First Down marker was and slid two yards early. He throws the ball away at the slightest sign of pressure.

It's like Southwick is too afraid of getting hit that he's willing to sacrifice the offensive drive for his own safety. As pointed out earlier, these are things we saw in the Fall Scrimmage.

I agree that Southwick learned nothing under Kellen Moore. THAT is a shame.

RMS....The bottom line is more like if....

BSU does not get their running game to well over 60 yards, then any qb that they have will have troubles....

the running game compliments the pa$$ing game....

and vice versa, the pa$$ing game compliments the running....

when one is weak, so is the other....

the whole thing boils down to...

the coaching staff had preached "don't throw a pick and don't take the sack". That's what he did. He was reined in so tight that his instincts couldn't save him. Now that there is a game behind him (and Coach Prince) they'll begin to open up and things will be much better. By the BYU game it won't even look like the same team. We'll be fine if no one panics. RD's first game looked very similar and he did "OK" throughout his career, to the point that we didn't know how we would replace him!
We are spoiled by having had a long line of QB's that were all better than the previous one. That can not continue indefinitely. Once you have a Heisman candidate set the NCAA record for career wins, you can pretty much count on a decline. Hopefully, it won't be as big a step back as it appeared to have been. I, for one won't panic with Coach Pete on our side.
Trust in the system.

Hindsight is 20/20, but...

Here are things I knew the week before the game:

MSU QB Maxwell wasn't very good. We did well against him.
MSU TE Sims was their primary receiver. Why didn't our DBs and LBs cover him better?
MSU RB Bell was a steam engine. Not sure what could have been done to stop him.

Things we did wrong:
Not used our TEs for short pa-sses in the middle.
Not used Fields more. Harper got dropped as soon as he was hit. Fields, on his ONLY carry, hit a wall, ans his churning legs got him an extra 2 yds.
Southwick was horrible in our last offensive series. He needs to stop worrying about getting hurt and play the game to win.

More like hindend

Figure it out RM


love your screen name.

82nd or SF or a RGR Batt or the Herd?


PS - 2nd RGR Batt and SF here.

More of the same...

...is on the way...losses to BYU and Nevada fo sho!!

Real programs reload, they dont pee down their leg. They're lucky to have lost by 4. no running game, no passing game, no offensive TD's and cant stop the run...


yeh, that's right!

Just look at the long string of Rose Bowl wins that Oregon has put together, right Duck?

Poor bcluck

You know bcluck, I remember the Ducks opener in 2009 where they had no running game, no pa$$ing game, only 6 first downs, and only had the ball for 17 minutes. And they were able to bounce back and finish the season ranked 11th..........