By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
The final installment of a 12-year series between the Boise State and Fresno State football teams could be one of the best.
The Broncos (4-1) and Bulldogs (4-2) are two of the top three candidates to win the Mountain West — Nevada (5-1) is the other — and they’re the top two teams in the country in turnovers forced.
“This is one of those games that’s going to be a slugfest,” Boise State coach Chris Petersen said Monday. “You’re not going to get a bunch of easy plays on these guys.”
Fresno State’s 3-4 defense ranks 31st in yards allowed (338.5), 21st in pass-efficiency defense (107.19) and ninth in sacks (20).
The Bulldogs rank 14th in the nation in passing yards (315.5 per game) with the new no-huddle, spread attack. Tailback Robbie Rouse ranks 14th in rushing at 118.5 yards per game.
First-year coach Tim DeRuyter has sparked a team that had gone flat under longtime coach Pat Hill.
“This is, by far, the best combination of quarterback and receivers (we’ve faced),” Petersen said. “The Miami of Ohio guy was a good thrower but he didn’t have the surrounding talent that these guys have, so that changes things tremendously.
“… I’m not sure if they knew what they were getting, the new staff, when they came there, but the style they implemented definitely complemented their talent level.”
Here is audio of Petersen's press conference.
Senior wide receiver Mitch Burroughs will be “out for a while,” Petersen said. He injured his wrist competing for a ball against Southern Miss. Burroughs had not met with the doctor yet, so Petersen didn’t have a timeline for his recovery.
Burroughs is third on the team with 12 catches for 124 yards. He also is the co-punt returner and co-kickoff returner. He was the Mountain West preseason special teams player of the year.
“We just miss him as an all-around player,” Petersen said. “… A senior who is all about the team, who does everything right on and off the field, who just wants to play and do whatever he can do and you really trust him because he knows our stuff inside and out.”
Senior wide receiver Chris Potter is listed as the starter at Burroughs’ position this week. Potter also will handle the majority of punt returns. Sophomore Dallas Burroughs and junior Geraldo Boldewijn also will help fill the void in the pass game. Dallas Burroughs is listed as the co-kickoff returner.
Petersen on Fresno State’s defense: “This is one of the better defenses I’ve seen, certainly that we’ve studied this year. They’re very, very aggressive. Really, really well-coached. That jumps out at you from a million miles away. They know exactly what they’re doing. They blitz a lot. And when they’re blitzing, the other guys aren’t just covering grass. They cover guys.”
Petersen on the Southern Miss game: “I’m really proud of our team from last game. I think our guys played well, they played hard, they made progress, and I’m proud of them. And hopefully we can keep making strides. … We’re still not as consistent as we need to be, without question, but we’re making progress.”
Petersen on Joe Southwick’s interception, and his ability to bounce back: “That was good to see. That one, we could have a really big play on our end of things, but he kind of short-armed it. He didn’t finish the throw, so it didn’t go where it needed to go. … After that, he kind of settled in and he made some good plays, he really did. He’s gaining confidence. He knows what’s going on out there, he really does. He sees things. We’re definitely headed in the right direction.”