Fiesta Bowl Breakdown: Boise State’s Offense


The Mountain West Conference and Pac-12 play similar styles of football, but it’s hard to tell how big the separation is between the two. This gives us a lot to talk about before the Fiesta Bowl matchup between #10 Arizona and #20 Boise State.

We’ll start, by breaking down Boise State’s offense.

Grant Hendrick, standing in at 6-foot, 198 pounds, leads the Boise State offense. The senior quarterback ranks 14th in the nation in passing yards, throwing just over 3,300 yards for 22 touchdowns on 13 interceptions.

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Their running game is led by Jay Ajayi, accumulating over 1,600 yards on the ground to go along with 25 touchdowns. Ajayi rushed for over 150 yards in six games this season and over 200 yards in two games. Coming out of the backfield, Ajayi was the teams third leading receiver with 536 yards, just under 150 yards away from the leading receiver.

The Broncos have two fairly decent targets in Thomas Sperbeck and Shane Williams-Rhodes. At 5-foot-6 158 pounds, Williams-Rhodes leads the team with seven touchdown receptions. Sperbeck did not record any statistics through the first four games, finishing with over 100 yards in two of nine games played.

Boise State’s offense is fast, but not faster than anything Arizona see’s daily in practice or in Pac-12 play. With 78.5 plays called per game, Boise State ranks 23rd in the nation. Six of Arizona’s opponents finished in the top 28 in plays per game this season.

Washington State finished second in the nation with 87.5 plays, Colorado ran 84.9 plays, good for 4th best and California follows right behind with 84.2 plays. Arizona’s offense ran just over 80 plays, ranking 11th in the nation. The speed of Boise State’s offense should not give any the defense any problems, but the pounding of Ajayi missed with the arm strength of Hedrick.

Arizona’s defense has seen much improvement over the course of this season. The defensive line gets solid pressure, the linebackers move well, whether it’s a blitz or in coverage and the secondary has improved in tackling and coverage downfield. Boise State doesn’t have a lot of flash in their offense, which should allow Arizona to key in on exploiting the weaknesses of Boise State’s offense.