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Tuls | Five takeaways from scouting Boise State vs #19 San Diego State

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Scouting Notes

Tuls | Five takeaways from scouting Boise State vs #19 San Diego State

Boise State Broncos vs #19 San Diego State Aztecs

10/14/2017

SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, CA

Score:  Boise State (31), #19 San Diego State (14)

1. Rashaad Penny shut down, draft stock halts with mediocre performance.

As many of you know, I am a big Rashaad Penny fan. Everybody is looking for that next Kareem Hunt or Jordan Howard, or in other words, a mid-round, three-down back early in his NFL career. Penny fits that mold the most for me, but I would be lying if I said he did not struggle against Boise State Saturday night. It was undoubtedly a rough night for the talented running back prospect, rushing for 53 yards on 21 carries.

Brace yourselves: that is a 2.5 yards per carry average against a so-so defense. He wasn’t able to explode through the hole like in previous games, and he looked like a dependent runner in this outing. As a result, his draft climb halts, and he is now in desperate need of a bounce-back performance.

2. San Diego State beat themselves with costly errors.

This is not necessarily a scouting observation on a specific player, but I am going to acknowledge my disappointment in how the 19th-ranked San Diego State Aztecs blew this game. It is disappointing because they did it to themselves. Special teams killed them all night long, specifically Boise State’s Avery Williams. He had a 43-yard kick return and a 53-yard punt return touchdown.

In addition to special teams woes, Boise State recovered a fumble and returned it 34 yards to the house. Two of the four Boise State touchdowns were because of San Diego State’s miscues.

3. The quarterback play was abysmal, to put it kindly.

I don’t know any other way to put this, but both of these quarterbacks did not play well. There was some early summer hype on Brett Rypien from a few draft analysts, but he looked like a lesser version of Cody Kessler, relying on check downs to keep drives alive. His yards-per-completion average was 3.8 yards. Yep, not kidding. In fact, I thought the Kansas transfer, Montell Cozart, has looked much better all season and it showed on Saturday.

For San Diego State, it does not get much better. Christian Chapman went 12 for 27, 24o yards and a touchdown. He took his shots and played better than Rypien, but he missed some easy throws that would have extended the Aztecs’ drives. An 89-yard bomb to Fred Travillion was a nice touch, but throwing short and intermediate routes into the dirt was not fun to watch at all. Just a mediocre performance overall.

4. Boise State’s Alexander Mattison looked like the best running back on the field. 

With his his short dreadlocks and explosiveness both before and after contact, Boise State running back Alexander Mattison looked like a certain Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back on Saturday night. The Broncos established a lead early on due to San Diego State’s miscues, but that was when Mattison took over. Boise State put the game away because of how well they ran the ball and controlled the clock. A lot of this was due to Mattison churning out yards and keeping the chains moving.

5. Cedrick Wilson needs more hype as a legitimate wide receiver prospect

With two catches for 60 yards, Wilson proved once again that he is a dangerous vertical threat, but his work over the middle is still in development. His ability to win over the top is not by pure speed, but in that he knows how to beat coverage, whether against man or zone. This is similar to how Juju Smith-Schuster won his battles at USC over the last couple of years. Wilson also has reliable hands at the catch point, as well as deceiving eyes and feet while running routes. He is not going to be a flashy player at the next level, but he is very crafty in how he wins.

Jonah Tuls

Tuls is one of the lead NFL Draft analysts for Draftbreakdown.com and has been a key contributor to several other NFL Draft sites in recent years. At Draftbreakdown, Tuls provides macro-oriented NFL Draft coverage, including comprehensive player rankings, mock drafts and big boards for the site. Tuls has worked with some of the NDT Scouting staff previously before; he worked with National Scout Jon Ledyard to form the core of USA Today’s Draft Wire site for the 2016 NFL Draft season. His work there was centered around draft reports, with additional analysis and breaking news efforts as well.

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