All great things must come to an end.
Following Boise State’s 17-13 loss to No. 13 Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing, MI., the anxiety of a spoiled fanbase could be felt all around Bronco Nation.
The Broncos were handed their first opening day loss since 2005, when they were completely dismantled by the Georgia Bulldogs.
Boise State finished with a 21-17 loss to Boston College that season, but Friday’s matchup was a completely different situation. Against the Bulldogs, it was clear the Broncos weren’t ready for a top-tier SEC opponent and major flaws were palpable from the first snap of
Without Kellen Moore—the winningest quarterback in college football history—it was clear the Broncos would have to go with a new look this season. Redshirt junior Joe Southwick entered his first appearance as the starting quarterback with noticeable jitters against the top-notch Spartans.
The Broncos had no consistent running game to assist their young quarterback, making the absence of current Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting running back Doug Martin as substantial as any other player. It was clear Boise State lost to a much more talented and experienced Michigan State team, but that game is finished, so forget about it.
On the horizon are two home games that feature Miami (OH) and a strong BYU team out of Provo, UT. The following nine games are filled with lackluster Mountain West Conference matchups, ending with newly-appointed rival Nevada in Reno.
The major question facing Petersen and the Broncos moving forward is what didn’t go wrong against the Spartans. Southwick connected with receivers 15 out of 31 times, but failed to deliver many crisp passes. Wideouts were under thrown, over thrown and completely missed throughout the game. On three consecutive plays in the fourth quarter, Southwick attempted to connect deep with receivers, but failed to deliver the arm strength necessary to lead them away from the defenders. In the back field, six year senior D.J. Harper was unable to assist in anyway, rushing 15 times for a grand total of eight yards. Southwick also led the team in rushing (18).
So, what’s next? The Broncos still have an inexperienced defense that was completely immortalized by the Spartans Le’Veon Bell (44 carries, 210 yards), and a quarterback that struggles to make decisions under pressure; that won’t change. Boise State will most likely find themselves in a MACCOesque bowl once again come January.
With the loss in East Lansing, no documentaries will be made chronicling the cinderella team’s rise to glory, no parades will be held in downtown Boise and no member of the Broncos will be receiving the key to the city.
This is a transition period, and a turbulent one at that. But with Petersen shouting plays from the sideline, one thing is always certain: there is a brighter future ahead. All great things have to start somewhere.