Only one player on the Boise State team-sixth-year senior tailback D.J. Harper-has lost a game before November in his Broncos career.
So it's an unfamiliar situation for the 0-1 Broncos, who play their home opener Saturday against Miami (Ohio).
Boise State lost its season opener 17-13 at Michigan State-failing to score an offensive touchdown and getting humbled by the impressive outing of Spartans tailback Le'Veon Bell.
"It's only one game and we can't let that define our season," Bronco wide receiver Mitch Burroughs said. "We've got to bounce back and really be mature about it and be hungry and learn from our mistakes and come out and put together an awesome season.
"… It would be a long year if we let that put a damper on our season. Everyone knows that and everyone is taking that approach. There's a lot of good things from that game-obviously, a lot of bad things, too-but if we put that together it can be something special."
The Broncos have endured a long wait to get back on the field and redeem themselves.
"I wish we were playing this weekend to get back out there," coach Chris Petersen said. "… Once you start playing, you want to go. You gear up all camp to play one game and then you have to wait again. That's not ideal."
• The Broncos have beaten a MAC team each of the past four years.
• Senior cornerback Jerrell Gavins split time in the opener as he continues to recover from last year's knee injury. "He's gaining confidence every single day," defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake said. "I see the same Jerrell that I saw last year in terms of how he breaks on the football."
• Boise State remained 26th in voting for The Associated Press Top 25.
Series History: Boise State leads 1-0 (last meeting, 2009, 48-0 Boise State)
Scouting The Offense: The Broncos lacked a running game (37 yards), the big play (only one longer than 23 yards) and the touchdown (zero) in the opener. They also committed two sloppy turnovers-a bad decision by quarterback Joe Southwick and a dropped lateral. The run game was the biggest disappointment because the line featured two seniors and three juniors, all with starting experience, and senior tailback D.J. Harper. On the plus side, the offense didn't allow a sack.
Scouting The Defense: New defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake emphasized scoring and getting the ball back throughout spring ball and fall camp. And what do you know, his crew collected four turnovers and scored a touchdown in the opener-three interceptions and a fumble involving five different defensive backs. Still, it wasn't all rosy in the opener. The defensive line got pressure on the quarterback but was unable to consistently stop Michigan State tailback Le'Veon Bell. Plus, the tackling was sloppy.
Quote To Note: "It was a rough loss. It was. But we're bouncing back. We're not focused on that game anymore. We're focused on our future. We have Miami of Ohio coming up and that's where everybody's head is. … We all want to get back on the field and get a 'W,' but you have to use the bye week to get better-and that's what we're doing."-Redshirt freshman safety Darian Thompson
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
This Week 'S GAME: Miami (Ohio) at Boise State, Sept. 15-The Broncos open newly expanded, 37,000-seat Bronco Stadium against the RedHawks. This is Miami's second trip to Boise in four seasons without getting a return game because of a series of MAC scheduling issues.
Keys To The Game: Boise State needs to find some rhythm on offense-a productive run game certainly would help-and build the confidence of new starting quarterback Joe Southwick. On defense, the Broncos must tackle better than they did in the opener.
Players To Watch:
LB Tommy Smith-He made 12 tackles at middle linebacker against Michigan State and has emerged as a key leader on the defense.
DE Demarcus Lawrence-The sophomore transfer made nine tackles in his first major college game. He should get better each week as he gets more comfortable with this level of play.
WR Kirby Moore-Kellen's younger brother is expected to make a big impact as the slot receiver this season, and it showed against Michigan State. He made six catches for 52 yards. The rest of the team made nine catches.
• RB Jay Ajayi returns from a one-game suspension for the Miami game. The redshirt freshman arrived with quite a bit of recruiting hype and fans are eager to see what he can provide.
• S Darian Thompson played half the opener because of an illness that struck starter Jeremy Ioane. He played well and could earn some playing time on a weekly basis.