2022 Boise St. Broncos Preview

by Matt Fargo

Boise St. Broncos

2021-22 Season Record 7-5 (5-3 MWC Mountain) - 7-5-0 ATS - 3-9-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 8
Defense - 9

Overview

Saying last season was a disappointment for Boise St. would be an understatement. The Broncos five losses were the most since 2013 and tied for third most in the history of the program while the seven victories were the fewest since 1998, not counting the reduced schedule in 2020 because of COVID. It was the first season for head coach Andy Avalos and while he is not on the hot seat quite yet, a team that returned 17 starters in 2021 definitely underachieved even though both offense and defense improved from the 5-2 2020 season. Boise St. again returns 17 starters, one fewer on offense and one more on defense from the previous campaign so expectations are high once again. The Broncos did not go bowling last season which was due to COVID but they will be back in the postseason barring something inexplicable as they are the favorites to win the MWC.

Offense

The offense starts with quarterback Hank Bachmeier who is in his third season as the full time starter and he has been above average but not spectacular and this is the year for a breakout. That obviously not only helps the passing attack but opens up the running game which averaged only 124.2 ypg, which was No. 110 in the country, on a dismal 3.3 ypc. Leading rusher George Holani gained only 569 yards and scored just one touchdown but he did so on a solid 4.8 ypc so he needs more opportunities and a better performance from the offensive line that had a really down year. Bachmeier will need to find a new go to receiver as Khalil Shakir and his 1,117 receiving yards has moved on to the NFL and in total, of the eight players that had at least 100 receiving yards, only three are back with the leading returner being Stefan Cobbs and his 421 yards so there is work to be done.

Defense

The defensive numbers were close to identical to those in 2020 and neither were great. The Broncos finished No. 45 in total defense which is respectable but they need to get better and with nine starters back, that should happen. The strength is in the secondary where all four starters are back and the 13 interceptions was tied for No. 33 in the nation and while that is an arbitrary number to predict going forward, the back four should be even better. The front seven is formidable but Boise St. did lose linebacker Riley Whimpey who was second on the team in tackles yet almost everyone else is back with 10 of the top 12 tacklers returning. The rushing defense was below average as they allowed 157.5 ypg which was No. 75 so that needs to improve as does getting to the quarterback as Boise St. registered 29 sacks which was outside the top 50 in the country.

2022 Season Outlook

For a program that has one of the best winning percentages over the past two decades, another season similar to 2021 will not go over well. The pressure is on Avalos even though last year he can be given a mulligan in his first season as a head coach at this level and this will be his sixth season within the program with a year at Oregon as defensive coordinator mixed in. The Broncos were good at some intangibles last season including red zone offense and defense, penalty differential and turnover margin and if both units perform up to their capabilities, those should remain stable. The schedule is in their favor which helps as three of the four toughest conference games are at home and the only non-conference test is also at home. The O/U win total is 9.5 which seems high but with so much coming back, a 10-win season is a likely outcome if they can avoid any bad hiccups. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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