BOISE — Only two teams in college football have fumbled the ball more times than the Boise State football team has through two games this season.
The Broncos have coughed it up eight times already through two games, though they’ve been able to recover five of them. The three lost fumbles still ranks 106th in the country.
“We’re not disciplined enough with the football, and that’s concerning,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said Monday. “We have signs in here that say, ‘it’s all about the ball,’ and that’s not what we’re doing. Those don’t mean anything right now until we start doing it.”
Boise State fumbled 16 times all of last season on offense, and only lost five of them. At their current pace, they’ll pass those numbers in two weeks.
The Broncos are tied for 126th in the country with eight fumbles. Only Georgia State and Kent State have put the ball on the ground more.
“That’s upsetting,” Harsin said. “You put the ball on the ground that many times … it’s guys taking care of it. Stretching the ball out and putting it in harm’s way. If we hold onto it like we’re supposed to, we have a better chance to not put the ball on the ground. We’re putting the ball in harm’s way is what we’re doing, and that’s just undisciplined football in my opinion.”
Harsin noted that the Broncos almost had another fumble in a key spot when quarterback Hank Bachmeier lost the ball and it was recovered by a Marshall player in the fourth quarter. The play was ruled an incomplete pass, but would have given Marshall the ball with a chance to tie the game had it been called a fumble.
“They could have called that both ways,” Harsin said.
Bachmeier has fumbled three times already and the Broncos have lost two of them. Andrew Van Buren has fumbled twice on just 10 carries, while George Holani and Akilian Butler both have fumbled. The team also was credited with a fumble on a bad snap.
To compare, the Broncos fumbled 27 times in 27 games the last two years and lost 11 of them. Their current pace through two games is roughly four times that.
“We’ve done well in the past and we’ve kind of used a formula to take care of the football and I believe in what we’ve done, but at the same time if it’s not working right now, we need to change it,” Harsin said. “We’re not going to sit there and say,’well it’s supposed to work like this.’ We’ll go figure out a better way to do it.”
BRONCOS, VIKINGS HAVE PLENTY OF CONNECTIONS
Both Portland State and Boise State have connections to the other side of Saturday’s matchup. Davis Koetter, the son of former Boise State coach and current Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator, Dirk Koetter, is a wide receiver at Portland State, while Vikings’ defensive tackle, Kenton Bartlett, played at Centennial High School in Boise.
Boise State wide receivers coach Eric Kiesau graduated from Portland State with a communications degree and was the starting quarterback for the Vikings in 1995. Offensive analyst Juston Wood, also was the starting quarterback at Portland State in 2001 and 2002.
“We’re monitoring their phone calls and making sure we know where they are at at all times, and they understand that,” Harsin joked.
HARSIN GIVES HIMSELF A PUNISHMENT FOR PERSONAL FOUL
Boise State coach Bryan Harsin punished himself for receiving an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Marshall for appearing to bump an official while arguing a call.
Harsin declined to specify the penalty because he, ‘wouldn’t tell you what I did with a player,’ for punishment, but said, ‘I thought the punishment hit the crime. That’s been handled We’re good there. We’re moving on.’
Bumping a referee in basketball or an umpire in baseball likely would get a coach ejected from the game, so Harsin may have been lucky to only be penalized 15 yards.
It’s unclear if he received a fine or reprimand from the Mountain West. A spokesman told the Idaho Press only, “The Mountain West reviewed the penalty and has no further comment.”
SEASON TICKETS DROP TO LOWEST TOTAL IN 16 YEARS
Boise State’s season ticket sales hit a 16-year low this fall. The Broncos sold 16,580 season tickets as of Sunday, which is the lowest for the program since 2003. Last year, the Broncos had 17,998 season tickets.
It’s a drop of more than 30 percent since the program record of 24,109 in 2012, the year after Kellen Moore left with a 50-3 record. It’s been a steady decline ever since, as the Broncos have seen season ticket numbers decline from the previous year in five of the last seven years.
Friday’s game against Marshall had an announced crowd of 31,951, which was the second lowest crowd for a home opener in 10 years.
BRONCOS MOVE UP IN BOTH POLLS
Boise State moved up two spots to No. 22 in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls following the win against Marshall. The Broncos started the year unranked but were No. 24 in both polls last week after the win at Florida State.
The Broncos got as high as No. 17 last season.
UCF, Boise State’s main competition for the Group of Five spot in the Cotton Bowl, is ranked No. 17 this week. The Knights (2-0) host Stanford at 1:30 p.m. MDT Saturday on ESPN.
BOISE STATE GETS COMMITMENT FROM OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
The Broncos received a verbal commitment over the weekend from Nathan Cardona, a 3-star offensive lineman from Yorba Linda, California. Cardona took an official visit to Boise for the Marshall game.
The 6-foot-3, 275-pound Cardona had offers from nearly every Mountain West school including San Diego State, Fresno State, Utah State, Colorado State, Air Force, Hawaii, UNLV, San Jose State and New Mexico. He also had offers from Army and Illinois, according to 247Sports.
Boise State now has six commitments for the 2020 class, and five of the six are three-star prospects.