Boise St.-Oregon St. Preview
Boise State’s historical success led them to hiring Bryan Harsin
However, neither Harsin nor quarterback Joe Southwick will at
the Hawaii Bowl.
While Harsin focuses on next season, Southwick has been
dismissed from the team as Boise State goes for a team-record fifth
straight postseason win Tuesday night when it faces struggling
Oregon State in Honolulu.
The Broncos (8-4) have reached a 12th straight bowl, but this
one will be different. For the first time in that stretch, Chris
Petersen won’t be on the sideline after he was hired by
Harsin was the offensive coordinator under Petersen for the
Broncos’ undefeated 2006 season, which ended with a BCS bowl win.
He starred as their quarterback from 1995-99.
“A millisecond,” Harsin said of making the decision after
guiding Arkansas State to a 7-5 record in his first season as
“This program personally has changed my life,” he said. “It’s
made me who I am today. It’s made my family and our relationships
where they are today. So as far as the dream of this; all I wanted
to do is get back here and do for this program what it’s done for
me. I’m proud to be in that position, and come in after guys who
have been successful.”
While Harsin was eager to replace Petersen, assistant Bob
Gregory will be in charge in Hawaii.
Gregory dismissed Southwick from the team on Friday and sent him
home after he was accused of urinating from a hotel balcony in
Hawaii. Southwick, who finished the season with a 72.6 completion
rate for 1,654 yards and 12 TDs and five picks, took a polygraph
test after arriving in Boise in his bid to prove his innocence.
Grant Hedrick is expected to get the start in the bowl but the
offense shouldn’t suffer. In 12 games this season, he completed 135
of 198 passes for 1,443 yards and 15 touchdowns.
He’ll be joined on offense by playmakers Jay Ajayi and Matt
Ajayi finished second in the Mountain West Conference with 1,328
rushing yards while averaging 5.9 per carry with 18 touchdowns –
one receiving. The sophomore running back was superb in every facet
of Boise State’s 45-17 season-ending win over New Mexico on Nov.
30, racing for 147 yards and a TD on 22 carries, while grabbing
four passes for a career-high 105 with another score.
Miller had career highs of 77 catches, 934 yards and 11
touchdowns, and the junior wide receiver scored nine of those over
the last four games.
The passing game may be in for a test since Oregon State (6-6)
allows an average of 235.0 yards through the air, while ranking
second in the Pac-12 with 19 INTs. Cornerbacks Steven Nelson and
Rashaad Reynolds has six each to tie Arizona State’s Robert Nelson
for the league lead.
The Beavers weren’t nearly as impressive against the run,
surrendering an average of 193.2 yards, only better than Colorado’s
The defense was an issue in the regular-season finale, giving up
568 total yards, including 12 on a touchdown with 29 seconds left
in regulation to fall 36-35 to then-No. 12 Oregon on Nov. 29.
Oregon State will likely rely heavily on the passing combination
of Sean Mannion to Brandin Cooks, the Biletnikoff Award winner.
Cooks set a Pac-12 record with 120 catches, while his 1,670
yards are just 51 shy of the conference mark set last season by
Southern California’s Marqise Lee. He also led the conference with
15 receiving touchdowns, while rushing for two more.
The junior set a team record with 14 receptions in a win at San
Diego State on Sept. 21.
Mannion, though, hasn’t come close to being that prolific,
throwing 11 interceptions compared to seven touchdowns over the
last five games – a stretch that drew Oregon State’s bowl status
into question. He tossed 29 touchdowns and three picks through the
first seven contests, as the Beavers nearly cracked the Top 25 with
Coach Mike Riley, though, is looking forward to visiting
“I am thrilled that our football team has an opportunity to play
another game at an exciting destination against an outstanding
opponent in Boise State,” Riley said.
Oregon State leads the series 4-3, but the Broncos won the last
meeting at home in 2010.