Pirates getting ready for some trickery

Published 6:59 pm Friday, December 21, 2007

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Trying to follow the Boise State offense is like trying to find the hidden ball under the cup trick.
The No. 24 Broncos will use multiple looks and various personnel when they play East Carolina in Sunday’s Sheraton Hawaii Bowl at Aloha Stadium.
The Broncos will be moving right up to the snap from center.
It’s worked so far for Boise State (10-2), which is averaging 42.8 points per game. The Broncos average 475.7 yards of offense per game — 283.5 through the air and 192.2 on the ground.
Because of that versatility, the Pirates (7-5) won’t be able to focus on stopping one aspect of the Boise State attack. To add even more to the mix, the Broncos are known for their trick plays, including a Statue-of-Liberty gem that they used to win the Fiesta Bowl over Oklahoma last year.
Quarterback Taylor Tharp and running back Ian Johnson, whose 2-point conversion run gave the Broncos the win over Oklahoma last year, spearhead the Boise State offensive attack.
Tharp, an All-Western Athletic Conference Second Teamer, has completed 259 of 379 passes (68.3 percent) for 3,070 yards. He’s thrown 28 touchdown passes and nine interceptions.
Johnson, an All-WAC First Team running back, has rushed for 1,030 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Jeremy Avery has 603 yards rushing and eight scores on the ground. D.J. Harper has added 373 yards rushing and five touchdowns.
Jeremy Childs has been Tharp’s favorite target, hauling in 82 passes for 1,045 yards and nine touchdowns.
Childs won’t play in the game after getting suspended earlier this year.
Titus Young and Austin Pettis each have 37 catches. Young’s receptions have been good for 592 yards and five scores, while Pettis has accumulated 376 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
Johnson has 25 catches for 312 yards and a touchdown out of the backfield.