Boise State is coming off its lowest win total (seven) in a full season since the program won six in 1998. However, a quick rebound should be in order this fall for second-year coach Andy Avalos. The Broncos return one of the Mountain West's top defenses, and quarterback Hank Bachmeier is back to direct the offense. Boise State needs better play out of its offense - especially on the ground and along the line - to reach its potential this year. However, the pieces are there for improvement. Also, the Broncos host Utah State and Fresno State in key games that could decide first place in the Mountain Division.
Previewing Boise State's Offense for 2022
Senior quarterback Hank Bachmeier has weathered a lot of hits in his 25 starts, and he has yet to fully live up to his considerable recruiting hype. He's focused on a quicker release, and, for the first time, he has the same offensive coordinator in consecutive seasons.
Adding to the challenge is the loss of Khalil Shakir, the Broncos' do-it-all receiver, but a likely breakout star awaits in senior Stefan Cobbs. In nine games, he had five TD catches and an 81-yard punt return TD. The rest of the returning receiving corps combined for 30 catches last season. Three returning tight ends combined for 23.
The offensive line is experienced but remains a question mark after allowing 27 sacks and far too many hits on Bachmeier. Washington State transfer Cade Beresford (eight starts in 2021) adds a needed big, experienced body.
Junior running back George Holani had three 100-yard games in November, but durability has been an issue: He has missed six games the last two seasons. Keep an eye on true freshman Ashton Jeanty, an agile early enrollee who should help a team that has only three rushes of more than 30 yards since Thanksgiving 2019.
Previewing Boise State's Defense for 2022
Head coach Andy Avalos' defensive background showed up immediately as the Broncos allowed 19.0 ppg, the fewest in nine seasons. And the 2022 defense should be just as good, if not better, with a ton of returning experience.
All four Broncos who had at least three sacks return, including defensive tackle Scott Matlock (seven) and edge rusher Isaiah Bagnah (six). The depth at defensive end took a hit in June when Shane Irwin opted to retire. Weber State transfer George Tarlas had 17 sacks in 45 games with the Wildcats.
A lack of athleticism at linebacker was addressed with the addition of highly touted freshmen Dishawn Misa and Jayden Virgin.
The Broncos were one of 13 teams in 2021 to have more interceptions (13) than passing TDs allowed (12). The defensive backfield is loaded, with seven returnees who made at least three starts last season. Senior safety JL Skinner could be a fast-rising 2023 NFL Draft pick.
Previewing Boise State's Specialists for 2022
Junior kicker Jonah Dalmas is well on his way to being the best Boise State has ever had, hitting 33-of-36 career field goals, including a school-record 26 last season. Punting duties are up for grabs, with Aussie James Ferguson-Reynolds an early enrollee. Cobbs could be an electric returner, too.
The Broncos must find the offensive spark that has been missing in recent years if they want to win an improved Mountain Division. If the offense's veteran playmakers stay healthy, points should be more plentiful than 2021. The experienced defense likely will be one of the nation's best.
Boise State doesn't stay down long, and with a home schedule that sees Fresno State, San Diego State, Utah State and BYU visit, the Broncos should again contend for double-digit wins.
National Ranking: 34
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