While the Broncos came away with a clean 39-12 win against Miami of Ohio last Saturday, the opponent that’s heading to Bronco Stadium this Thursday will prove to be a bit tougher. Despite losing to Utah 24-21 in a thriller to go unranked, the BYU Cougars are going to bring everything they have to The Blue even with the short turnaround. A seasoned quarterback in Riley Nelson and tough-nosed defense will keep the Broncos on their toes the entire game. Here are a few Broncos that need to step up in order for a Boise State win:
The entire Bronco offensive line
It’s not to say that the o-line has been causing many problems in the past two games. In fact, line has not allowed redshirt junior quarterback Joe Southwick to be sacked at all against Michigan State and Miami. However, that trend might come to a halt against the stout Cougar line. BYU has 13 sacks on the season and ranks 20th in the nation for points allowed (14.3). A notable stand out is linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who was recently named College Football Performance Awards National Linebacker of the Week, and has 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles on the season. If Southwick has any chance of boosting his on the field confidence, the o-line needs to be his wall.
Redshirt junior wide receiver Aaron Burks
There was some excitement in the offseason for Burks to provide a deep threat for Southwick, who has more arm power than former standout Kellen Moore, and add another element to the passing game. It seems as if some of the hype has deflated, with Burks only recording three receptions for 67 yards this season. Granted, Burks caught a brilliant 53 yard pass from Southwick against the RedHawks last Saturday, if only that happened more frequently. Burks needs to take advantage of the BYU secondary with his size (6-foot-3 200 pounds) and speed (4.36 unofficial 40 time in spring) to really get a spark on the offense.
Redshirt junior defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe
Tjong-A-Tjoe did not look bad in the Michigan State game, recording six tackles and attempting to stop the tank that is Le’Veon Bell. Tjong-A-Tjoe did not record a single tackle, or take part of a single snap because he was suspended for violating team rules. Now, Tjong-A-Tjoe has the presence to help aid the Bronco’s run defense, if he can get his head straight. His frame is not easily taken down and can be a potent threat. The junior will have the ability to redeem himself this Thursday.