BOISE — For the second week in a row, Boise State’s offense has lost a veteran target for an extended period of time.
Senior receiver Mitch Burroughs, who injured his wrist as he tried to make a touchdown catch in the Broncos’ 40-14 win at Southern Miss on Saturday, is expected to miss multiple games, coach Chris Petersen said Monday.
“He’s going to be out for a while, for sure,” Petersen said.
Last Monday, Petersen announced that junior tight end Gabe Linehan will be out for a month with a hamstring injury.
Burroughs had 12 catches for 124 yards before the injury. He was third on the team last season with 49 catches for 500 yards. He also is a key player for his versatility — he has rushed 22 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns in his career and was the Mountain West preseason special teams player of the year as a punt returner.
“You feel really bad, especially when it’s a senior that’s going to miss an extended period of time,” Petersen said. “He’s just an awesome kid. He does whatever he can do … exactly what you want in a senior that’s all about the team, does everything right on and off the field.”
Fellow senior Chris Potter is listed as the starter in Burroughs’ “Z” receiver spot, with his younger brother, sophomore Dallas Burroughs, the backup. Potter will be the team’s main punt returner, while Dallas Burroughs is slated to be alongside D.J. Harper on kickoff returns. As of Monday afternoon, Burroughs had not been fully apprised of his prognosis, with Petersen hopeful he could return later this season or for a bowl game.
“We’ll just miss him, as an all-around player, because he can do so many different things — ‘well, who can do this?’ ‘well, Mitch can do this,’” Petersen said.
Turnovers: two of the best
A pair of defenses that have caused major headaches for opponents will meet Saturday at Bronco Stadium. The Broncos are tied for No. 2 nationally with 17 takeaways (though the other two teams with that many, Oregon and UCLA, have played six games). Fresno State is No. 1 with 18.
“I think that’s the reason both teams are playing well this year,” said Fresno State safety Phillip Thomas, No. 1 in the country with six interceptions. “You get momentum taking it away, then give the offense a short field and it’s easier for them to put points on the scoreboard.”
Broncos rise up after Southern Miss
Away from home, the Broncos lost in their season opener, and saw New Mexico come back from a 25-0 halftime deficit to a 32-29 close win.
At Southern Miss, Boise State had a 23-0 lead and finished well, winning by 26.
Boise State is in the top 10 nationally in takeaways (second), turnover margin (fifth), pass defense (sixth), sacks allowed (seventh), kickoff returns (eighth) and pass efficiency defense (ninth).
“I think our guys played well, they played hard, they made progress, and I’m proud of them,” Petersen said. “Hopefully we can keep making strides.”
DeRuyter making instant impact
Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter is in his first head coaching job after serving as a defensive coordinator at Air Force and Texas A&M, but he’s quickly shown why the Bulldogs hired him.
The Bulldogs implemented entirely new systems on both sides of the ball — a no-huddle, shotgun-based offense and an attacking, three-man front defense. They are throwing for 316 yards per game and are ninth in sacks, along with their penchant for creating turnovers.
“It reflects on the quality of coaches we have that they only had the spring and August to really work with us on all these changes,” Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr said. “It starts with them, and it says a lot about our team that we could handle it and thrive in a short time.”