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Last week, the Boise State defense saved the Boise State offense. This week, it saved itself. After watching its 25-point halftime lead drip down to three thanks to the increasingly effective New Mexico option and some poorly-timed turnovers, the Broncos stood strong on the Lobos' final, potentially game-winning drive to come away with the 32-29 win in Albuquerque.
The Broncos piled up 514 yards of total offense, including 216 on the ground from D.J. Harper and Jay Ajayi. Joe Southwick threw for 311 yards and three scores. Was it enough to satisfy hard-to-please Bronco fans? Doubtful, but at least now they're not sure who to blame.
Share your thoughts on the game in the comments. More analysis to come.
It was over when ...
The Broncos held New Mexico to six yards on the first three plays of the Lobos' final drive (three plays that took a minute and 13 seconds and included huddling - yes huddling), capped by a tackle-for-loss by Tommy Smith on third and three. It was over for good when Smith batted down B.R. Holbrook's fourth down pass one play later.
At first glance
Boise State got away with one here. After leading 25-0 at the end of the first half, the Broncos did not have the same intensity, focus, or desire after the break and very nearly got upset.
At second glance
A series of unfortunate events - Dallas Burroughs' second half kickoff fumble, Shane Williams-Rhodes' fumble returned to the Boise State one-yard line - gave the Lobos short fields and momentum, and UNM made adjustments to the Bronco defense and found what worked. Many triple option offenses get better as the game goes on because the offense is able to identify what the defense is doing and adjust to take advantage. And it's not like the Broncos had the option figured out in the first half either. Three UNM fumbles killed drives and contributed mightily to the goose egg on the board.
At third glance
The Boise State offense looked much better than it did a week before. It's not firing on all cylinders, but it's doing more than firing on no cylinders as was the case last week. Southwick made some good throws, Harper and Ajayi ran fast and hard, and Matt Miller continues to be the go-to man in the passing game.
The Bronco defense? Don't get too concerned. There are no more triple option offenses on the schedule (no Air Force, thank heavens).
(If you want to worry about something, worry about that Nevada game.)
(If you want to be a healthy person, wait to worry about that Nevada game for another month or so.)