No. 5 Boise State Broncos


Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore returns for his junior season after throwing 39 touchdowns and only three interceptions in 2009. (AP photo)

Published: Monday, June 21, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, June 20, 2010 at 5:37 p.m.

Gatorsports counts down our Top 25 Preseason teams heading into the 2010 college football season.

No. 5 BOISE STATE BRONCOS

2009 record: 14-0 overall; 8-0 in WAC, defeated TCU 17-10 in Fiesta Bowl

Returning starters: 11 offense; 10 defense

Strengths: Offense and defense. The Broncos return all but one starter from last year's undefeated team (Cornerback Kyle Wilson, a first-round pick by the New York Jets), and expectations are higher than ever for Coach Chris Petersen's squad in Boise. The targets on the Broncos' backs have never been bigger with a high preseason ranking in their final season in the WAC. QB Kellen Moore leads an offense that was ranked No. 1 in scoring offense (42.2 points per game) in 2009. Running back Jeremy Avery ran for 1,150 yards and six scores, and wide receiver Titus Young caught 79 balls for 1,041 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Moore's other favorite target, Austin Pettis had 63 catches for 855 yards and 14 scores. Defensively, the Broncos are no slouches either, ranking 14th in the nation in total defense and scoring defense (300.2 yards and 17.1 points per game). With another year of experience and only one player gone, those numbers could improve in 2010.

Weakness: Defensive line/schedule strength. Based on numbers, even this is a stretch. If anything, this is more of a "needs improvement" category. Boise State ranked 72nd in the nation with only 25 sacks, so getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks would help improve the Broncos' defense. One perennial weakness for the program is schedule strength. Boise State's impressive numbers are always inflated by the teams they play. This year's schedule is slightly tougher with games against Virginia Tech and Oregon State, and the Broncos will be playing better teams on a regular basis after their move to the Mountain West in 2011.

Biggest star: QB Kellen Moore. The Boise State junior signal-caller had an impressive season, throwing for 39 touchdowns with only three interceptions and trailing only Florida quarterback Tim Tebow as the most efficient quarterback in the country. With all of his favorite targets back and an offensive line that ranked first in sacks allowed, expect even more from Moore.

Rising star: CB Jerrell Gavins. The Broncos' only non-returning defensive starter, Gavins actually started the Fiesta Bowl and played well. He will compete with Jamar Taylor for the starting role vacated by Kyle Wilson's departure to the NFL.

Toughest game: vs. Virginia Tech, Sept. 6 at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. For the second straight season, the Broncos will open with their toughest opponent. Last year, Boise State carried momentum from a 19-8 victory over Oregon to an undefeated season and its second BCS bowl game victory. This year, the Broncos will play a neutral-site game against the Hokies that could make or break their season. Other than a Sept. 25 visit by Oregon State, Boise State will enjoy its final season playing against a WAC schedule the rest of the way. If Boise State emerges undefeated out of the month of September, look for the highly ranked Broncos to have their best shot at a possible national title berth.

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