Kellen Moore wasn’t the only freshman who enjoyed a memorable debut for Boise State in the Broncos’ season-opening winSaturday night.
Moore was certainly impressive in his first college game, going 14-for-19 for 274 yards with no interceptions and two touchdown passes in Boise State’s 49-7 victory over in-state rival Idaho State.
But linebacker Aaron Tevis was equally spectacular for the Broncos’ defense especially in the game’s opening minutes.On Idaho State’s first possession, Tevis, a redshirt freshman from Tucson, Ariz., playing in his first game, batted down a pass by ISU quarterback Russel Hill. On the ensuing play, Tevis sacked Hill for a 12-yard loss, forcing the first of nine Bengal punts.
On Idaho State’s next possession, Tevis recovered a fumble by Hill at the BSU 33. He finished the night with eight tackles, including another 12-yard sack of Hill in the fourth quarter. (If Hill has had any nightmares since Saturday, BSU’s number 36 is probably one of the monsters chasing him.)
With senior linebackers Kyle Gingg and Dallas Dobbs out of Saturday’s lineup with injuries, Tevis was just one of four young linebackers who saw extra playing time against Idaho State. Was he nervous?
“I was just excited to come out and play,” he said following the game. “I thought I would be, but I wasn’t nervous at all before the game. I just went out there and concentrated on what I could do to help [the team] and focused on that.”
Based on Saturday’s performance, it seems the Broncos will have a wealth of talent at linebacker when Gingg and Dobbs return. Sophomore Derrrell Acrey led the BSU defense with 14 tackles against Idaho State and freshmen Hunter White (three tackles and half a sack) and Dan Paul (two tackles and half a sack) were among several underclassmen who saw considerable playing time on defense in the opener. In fact, at one point in the fourth quarter, the entire defensive squad was manned by freshmen.
“That felt good knowing we’re all up and rising,” Tevis said. “It’s exciting to know that in a couple of years we’re going to get even better.”
Throughout fall camp, head coach Chris Petersen has downplayed the Broncos’ overall youth and inexperience. It was a theme he continued following Saturday’s game.
“We can’t think of it as if a guy is freshman or not,” he said. “We go with what we’ve got, and it just needsto be good enough for us to get the job done. That’s really how we think about it. Once those guys step out there, the class thing is out the window.”
Petersen said he expects to continue to use multiple linebackers, due in part to attrition.
“We’re going to need a lot of guys [at linebacker],” he said. “The most physical position on offense is our running back position; on defense it’s the linebackers. And it’s hard for those guys to last the whole year. And so we got to rotate guys in there.”
The Broncos have next weekend off before hosting Bowling Green on Sept. 13, which should help the linebacking corps field its full complement of players.
“We’ll get some guys healthy like Kyle and Dallas, who are still nicked up and just need some time [to heal],” Petersen said. “When you look at our schedule originally you’re kind of [thinking] this isn’t the best time for a bye, but with where our team is, we’ll use it to our advantage and get some of our guys back.”
Add senior starter Tim Brady to the mix, and you got a bunch of linebackers anxious to take on Bowling Green, which upset No. 25 Pittsburgh on opening weekend. It’s a good problem to have.