Arizona has shown itself to be a top team in one of the toughest conference divisions in college football, the Pac 12 South. In the last two years, the Wildcats have bested national powerhouse, Oregon, twice in three contests.
Aside from taking out the Ducks on the road, Arizona has shown itself to be a consistently strong team. Much of this season’s success can be attributed to the play of their freshman quarterback, Anu Solomon.
To be quite frank, Solomon has played some pretty damn good football for a freshman in the Pac-12 South.
Solomon has completed 58% of his passes and earned himself a 132.5 rating for the 2014 season. The young QB has thrown for four or more touchdowns four times this season. In those four games, Solomon threw a total of 18 touchdowns and two interceptions.
However, while the young QB has been quite successful in his first year, he has also had some drawbacks, most notably against AP ranked teams.
While Solomon has been impressive many times this season, his stats become a little less impressive when looking only at his numbers against AP teams.
Against AP opponents, Solomon has completed just over half of his passes at 51.9%. While still an impressive showing, it does hint at some vulnerability against better competition with stronger defenses.
Enter the Bronco Defense.
Since Coach Marcel Yates and Boise State have reunited, the Bronco’s defense has looked entirely different when compared to last season. Bronco Nation has been enjoying some hard-hitting defensive backs and hole-plugging, sack-happy linebackers.
According to ESPN, the Broncos are tied at 9th in the nation for sacks recorded this season with a total of 39. With Arizona’s offensive line having problems protecting Solomon, this could prove to be an issue. The Wildcats offensive line has allowed 30 sacks this year with 15 of those sacks coming against AP teams.
We’ve seen what the Broncos can do against teams with weak offensive lines. Just take a look back to the UCONN game in which Boise State recorded 8 sacks against a weak Husky offensive line.
Interceptions haven’t been too much of an issue for Solomon this season, but that won’t change the Bronco’s addiction to them. This season, Boise State’s defense has picked off opposing quarterbacks 20 times.
The Broncos are currently ranked 5th in the nation in interceptions behind Ohio State, TCU, Louisville, and Louisiana Tech. Boise State is ranked 3rd in the nation in interceptions returned for touchdowns with 4 this season.
The Bronco’s defense has been anything but a slouch this season. They’ve shown consistency and are far more complete than they were a year ago.
Tomorrow, on News Years Eve, Boise State has the potential to make history by nabbing a third Fiesta Bowl victory. Do you think their defense will lead the Broncos to victory? Let us know in the comments section below, Bronco Nation.