With 36 total touchdowns in his career, 12 of which come from his 2012 season, senior running back DJ Harper has shown his undoubted capability to get the ball to the end zone. After playing 51 games in a total of six years, waiting for two ACL injuries to heal and playing back up to Doug Martin, Harper has finally had the opportunity to branch out into the seasoned running back that he is today.
The only Ram that comes anywhere close to amounting to as many carries as Harper’s 178 is junior Chris Nwoke with 95. But Nwoke has only one touchdown this season compared to Harper’s 12. His experience as a six year senior gives him and the Mountain West Conference 3rd place Broncos a clear advantage over the 6th place Colorado State defense. What could be more fitting for the seasoned senior than to defeat the Rams and end on such a positive note on senior night?
Making his way onto the Lombardi and Outland Trophy watch lists, senior lineman Joe Kellogg has, without question, left his mark on this Bronco program. Regarded as one of the top 40 offensive guards in the nation, Kellogg has the credentials and ability to be yet another Boise State Bronco taken in next year’s draft to the NFL. Along with a great supporting cast around him, Kellogg and the Bronco offensive line proved they are a force to be reckoned with for opposing defenses.
Once again, as it has been for the last two seasons, the Bronco O-line, anchored by Kellogg, ranks among the top ten in the nation at number eight for sacks allowed, with a 0.52 average. With the Rams having an undersized defensive line and running a 3-4 scheme, Kellogg and the rest of the line will have to open things up for afore mentioned DJ Harper as well as continuing to provide the protection for Joe Southwick to break things open through the air.
With the likes of senior linebacker Tommy Smith anchoring the line backing crew for Boise State, the Broncos should create a tough game for the Rams of Colorado State, who have been struggling on the offensive side of the ball. Smith, having played in 36 Bronco games and breaking out as a starter this year, is one of the unsung leaders for Boise State. Smith’s on field numbers correspond with his off field numbers, being a three time all-academic conference member, showing us that he brings a well prepared mindset to the game.
Smith’s work ethic and hard-nosed style of play is what allows him to excel. He may not be out on the field making game changing sacks or intercepting passes, but he will most definitely be doing what it takes for the Bronco defense to get the job done. Behind every great defense is the guy who takes on the double teams, takes out pulling lineman and contains outside leverage in order for the other linemen to make the tackle. Smith is one of these guys. Notice, while others make the tackle, Smith makes the plays.
Freshman Tyler Schilhabel also contributed to this piece.