Sports

After rocky start, Boise State defense showing signs of improvement as Nevada showdown looms

  • Utah State's Joey DeMartino (28) gets tackled by Boise State's Ben Weaver (51) and Nick Patti (8) during their game, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Logan, Utah. (AP Photo/Herald Journal, John Zsiray)

    Utah State's Joey DeMartino (28) gets tackled by Boise State's Ben Weaver (51) and Nick Patti (8) during their game, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Logan, Utah. (AP Photo/Herald Journal, John Zsiray)  (The Associated Press)

  • Utah State's Nevin Lawson (1) breaks free from Boise State's Geraldo Boldewijn (17) after Lawson intercepted a pass intended for Boldewijn during their game, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Logan, Utah. (AP Photo/Herald Journal, John Zsiray)

    Utah State's Nevin Lawson (1) breaks free from Boise State's Geraldo Boldewijn (17) after Lawson intercepted a pass intended for Boldewijn during their game, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Logan, Utah. (AP Photo/Herald Journal, John Zsiray)  (The Associated Press)

  • Utah State's Brandon Swindall leaps for a pass in the end zone as Boise State's Bryan Douglas (1) breaks up the play during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Logan, Utah. (AP Photo/Herald Journal, John Zsiray)

    Utah State's Brandon Swindall leaps for a pass in the end zone as Boise State's Bryan Douglas (1) breaks up the play during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Logan, Utah. (AP Photo/Herald Journal, John Zsiray)  (The Associated Press)

Even though it's taken two months and some forgettable performances along the way, Boise State's young defense is showing signs of improvement.

In the past two games, the Broncos' defense has more sacks, allowed fewer points and forced more turnovers than the first four games.

A tougher defense has also been critical to winning the past two games, allowing Boise State to improve to 4-2 and pull within a half-game of first-place Wyoming in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference.

There are some caveats. The past two wins have come against struggling teams — Southern Mississippi and a Utah State team without top quarterback Chuckie Keeton.

Still, coach Chris Petersen says improvement is evident — and comes just in time for the Broncos matchup with rival Nevada on Saturday.