BOISE STATE-TCU BOWL PREVIEW SERIES:
SKILL PLAYERS ABOUND...BUT WILL THEY BE PLAYMAKERS
In the second of the series of Poinsettia Bowl previews, broncosports.com breaks down the key head-to-head matchups at the wide receiver and secondary spots. Two defensive secondary’s that have lockdown ability. Explosive offensive players that will strive to get in open space. Which offense is able to dent the defensive unit and gain an advantage. Questions that will be answered based on the match-ups below.
TCU enters the Poinsettia Bowl after setting a single season school record for points scored (420) and touchdowns (54). A balanced attack that is averaging nearly 215 yards per game with the ultimate in a run-by-committee approach, and just over 200 yards per game through the air. Boise State, on the other hand, maintained a powerful offensive attack, largely because of a deep and productive receiving corp.
The strength of the Bronco defense much of the season has been found in a secondary that brings experience and youthful talent. The starting four of corners Kyle Wilson and Brandyn Thompson and safeties Jeron Johnson and George Iloka have picked off 15 passes with 27 pass breakups. The Horned Frogs counter with an opportunistic defensive backfield group that includes three all-conference players, holding down the last line of a defense that is one of the stingiest in the country. Both teams have allowed just eight passing touchdowns the entire season, a remarkable achievement considering the offensive talent seen during the year.
TCU Wide Receiver Jimmy Young vs. BSU Cornerback Kyle Wilson:
Young is TCU’s playmaker, leading the team in receptions (54), yards (926), yards per catch (17.1) and touchdown receptions (5). Wilson is arguably (and a pretty convincing argument) Boise State’s most talented overall player. He is a first team All-WAC cornerback with 10 pass breakups and a league high five interceptions. This is one of those games within the game that will be a great deal of fun to watch.
BSU Wide Receiver Jeremy Childs vs. TCU Cornerback Rafael Priest:
Childs is Boise State’s go to guy in the receiving game, hauling in 65 passes this season and 147 passes the past two years. He is a precision route runner and has a nose for the first down marker to keep drives alive. Priest, just a junior, is a second team All-Mountain West pick with a team high 11 pass breakups. He has started every game since his freshman year, with 29 career pass breakups and will be called upon to shadow Childs.
BSU Safety Jeron Johnson vs. TCU Wide Receiver Jeremy Kerley:
One of the hardest hitting safeties in college football, Johnson will need to bring that physical presence to TCU’s receivers who go deep or over the middle. Kerley is a multiple threat athlete for TCU, with 155 yards rushing to go along with 11 catches during the season. He also lined up at quarterback during the course of the regular season.
TCU Safety Steven Coleman vs. BSU Wide Receiver Vinny Perretta:
Coleman is a big presence at safety at 6-3 and 204 pounds. He led the Horned Frogs with three interceptions in earning second team All-Mountain West honors. Similar in size to George Iloka of the Broncos, Coleman controls the middle and will draw the assignment of trying to determine where Boise State’s trickery originates. Much of that motion and mis-direction has to do with senior wide receiver Vinny Perretta. More of a slash player, Perretta has 34 receptions to go along with 17 rushing attempts and a passing touchdown as well. One of just two players in Bronco history with a receiving touchdown, rushing touchdown and passing touchdown in the same game, Perretta is asked to make things happen whenever the ball is in his hands.
BSU Wide Receiver Austin Pettis vs. TCU Secondary:
Pettis has come up big late in the season for the Broncos, making huge third down catches and using his big 6-3 frame to win the jump ball battles in the end zone. He had six touchdown receptions over the last half of the season, as he proved to be the perfect compliment for Jeremy Childs. Boise State will use his size and uncanny timing for the jump ball to create mismatch situations with a variety of TCU corners and safeties.
Coming tomorrow in the next installment of the Boise State-TCU preview series will be the offensive backfield and linebacker matchups. Tuesday morning look for a complete game overview from broncosports.com.