Photo Green: Loren Orr/Getty Images – OBNUG
While quarterback Brett Rypien is the designated starter for the Boise State Broncos (1-0) on Saturday in Pullman, Wash., his back-up Montell Cozart has proven to be a dynamic dual threat quarterback that adds another dimension to their offense. He”y be a dynamic problem for No. 20 Washington State (1-0)
In the Broncos’ season opening 24-13 win over Troy Cozart played the vast majority of the fourth quarter BSU was trying salt away the game. The transfer quarterback used his legs to escape the pocket and extend plays where the offensive line collapsed — which happened often on Saturday. Bose State’s decision to bring Cozart into the game was a difference maker for Boise State’s offense, he picked up 36 yards on eight carries while completing six of nine passes for 50 yards and one touchdown.
Boise State needed Cozart’s ability to extend the play as the offensive line was an absolute mess against the Trojans from Troy. Watch in the below .GIF as the offensive line absolutely disintegrates at the point of contact, before the blitzers get involved.
Washington State has far better athletes in its front seven than Troy has (like Hercules Mata’afa and Petyon Pelluer), so don’t be surprised if the Cougars are constantly in BSU’s backfield; which will force Rypien to get rid of the ball quickly. If the Cougars are constantly pressuring Rypien and Boise State’s offense stalls out, the Broncos will probably put Cozart in the game to stretch the Speed D horizontally.
Watch in the below .gif on how the pocket collapses in the face of the extra blitzer (five men) and how Cozart calmly scrambles out of the pocket once he realizes the play, as called, is dead.
Alex Grinch’s defense’s have struggled with being stretched horizontally, by the quarterback, and that’s exactly what the senior transfer is able to do. Rypien can throw the ball, Cozart can run the ball (and kinda throw it)…it’s a tall order for the Speed D.
For the Cougars to contain Cozart, they’re going to have to to stay in their gaps and not over pursue. If they give him a seam, the senior transfer has the speed to hit it and explode through the defense for large chunks of yardage. Washington State’s secondary is also going to have to be disciplined against him as he isn’t a one dimensional quarterback and can hit most of the routes he’s going to tasked with passing the rock too.
Another player that’s probably keeping Grinch up at nights is running back Alexander Mattison. While he’s no Jeremy NcNichols (who is in the NFL now, thankfully), Mattison has speed and can take advantage of a defense that will over leave him a hole to hit; in the win over Troy he averaged 6.3 yards per carry and scored one touchdown.
Offensively, quarterback Luke Falk is going to need to hit be willing to take the deep shots in a manner that he wasn’t willing to take against an overmatched Montana State squad. Boise State has way better athletes and the checkdowns are not going to lead to eight yards with each completion…which means that he’s going to have to hit Tavares Martin Jr. on the deep routes like he did last season in Boise, especially if the offense is going to be able to score points quickly and not fall behind.
Falk comes out of the gate and starts taking shots down field, stretching the Broncos defense and getting the Air Raid back into its groove. Boise State struggles to handle the vertical passing attack, while the Cougar running backs chew up their front seven. Washington State scores on four of its first five possession to put all of the pressure on the Broncos offense and Rypien.
While Rypien’s passes look crisp, and are out of his hands quickly, the offensive line doesn’t buy him a ton of time in the pocket and he’s constantly forced to hit his dump off routes instead of working his way through his reads. So the Bronco’s coaching staff send in Cozart to try through some wrinkles into their offense and through the Speed D off guard…it works. Now we have a shootout on our hands.
Whoever scores last is going to win this ball game, and thanks to the home field advantage it’s going to be the Cougs.
Boise State Broncos 35
No. 20 Washington State Cougars 38
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Proud alum of Washington State University, crazy sports nut, and drinker of beer.