Final Score: Boise State 38, UCONN 21
It wasn't the prettiest of wins, but the Boise Stat Broncos made the cross country trek and defeated the University of Connecticut Huskies, 38-21. With the win, Boise State improves to 2-1 (1-0 MWC) on the season.
The Broncos rolled out of bed, ate a delightful continental breakfast, and donned the ghost unis for the early morning tilt against the Huskies. All looked as planned early on when Armand Nance penetrated into the backfield on UCONN's first drive and blew up the ball carrier, forcing a fumble which was returned for a touchdown by Tanner Vallejo.
Again, all seemed right in the world. Boise State had the early lead and UCONN couldn't muster much against the stout Bronco D. It wasn't until the 6:46 mark in the first quarter when the Boise State offense took the field when it became apparent this game will not go as planned.
Boise State's first two offensive drives ended in 3-and-outs and the first quarter ended with one of the most lopsided time of possession statistics I've ever seen: Boise State - 2:18, UCONN - 12:42. Early in the second quarter, UCONN QB Chandler Whitmer would find TE Alec Bloom in the back of then endzone to give the Huskies the 10-7 lead.The play was very reminiscent of plays in the first two games of the season where the tight end or slot receiver would shoot up the seam and leak behind the covering linebacker for the score.
After another 3-and-out by the Broncos, something seemed to get lit under the offense's derrière. After hitting Matt MIller on a route over the middle, Offensive Coordinator Mike Sanford followed with a play-action sluggo (slant and go) double move that allowed Grant Hedrick to find a wide open Miller in the end zone to move the Broncos ahead 14-10. On the ensuing Bronco possession, Hedrick would find TEs Holden Huff and Jake Roh (YAY for Tight Ends!) to set up the Broncos at the UCONN 8 yard line. After an unsuccessful Jay Ajayi rush, a common theme throughout the day, the Broncos reverted back to classic Boise State football with a double reverse wide receiver pass where Matt Miller delivered a lollipop to a wide open Grant Hedrick in the end zone.
Going into halftime up 21-10 seemed pretty alright given the circumstances. Through two quarters, while it was a bit of a struggle, Boise State seemed to have overcome the slow start to take control of the game. As the second half started, more offensive ineptitude reared its ugly head. After trading a couple of field goals, UCONN would cut the lead to 24-21 with a back shoulder throw to Geremy Davis in which Jonathan Moxey looked completely overmatched—lost, really.
As the 4th quarter began, all of Bronco Nation was probably thinking the same thing. This is a close 4th quarter game and Boise State has been outscored 42-7 in the final quarter through the first two games of the season. In his post-game press conference, Coach Byran Harsin said he asked the team bluntly, "Can we finish out the game?" Finish out the game they did.
While looking porous throughout most of the game, it was the defensive secondary who stepped up in the closing minutes to secure a Bronco victory. Jonathan Moxey made a decent read on a ball that wasn't particularly well thrown to snag the first interception of his career. That would leave the Broncos with a short field and the Grant Hedrick-Matt MIller combination would strike again.
Hedrick-to-Miller; Miller-to-Hedrick; Hedrick-to-Miller; Finkel is Einhorn; Einhorn is Finkel!
With a little over nine minutes left in the game, there was still a long way to go. The way the Broncos had played, nothing was a certainty. That was until Donte Deayon wrestled away an "interception" from Davis to extend the lead to 38-21.
Not the prettiest of games for the Broncos. The secondary has a lot of work to do, but the defensive line continues to look impressive. On offense, Ajayi was held in check all game. To his credit, UCONN sold out on the run, stacking the box play after play. It took a little bit for the passing games to exploit the mismatches.
The good news? It didn't seem like there were any injury issues.
Boise State - 52 yards rushing, 240 yards passing, 292 total yards
UCONN - 48 yards rushing, 242 yards passing, 290 total yards
Hedrick - 19 for 27, 233 yds, 2 TDs, 1 reception!!! for 7yds and 1 Rec TD
Ajayi - 18 rushes for 39 yds, 2 rec for 13 yds
Miller - 5 rec for 74 yds, 1 pass! for 7 yds and 1 TD
SWR - 6 rec for 67 yds, 2 rushes for 11 yds
Renaud - 9 tackles, 2.5 TFLs
Nance - 4 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, 1 forced fumble
Boesen - 2 sacks
- I'm glad we don't play on grass again this year. I know the field was a mess, but the Boise State players didn't adjust whatsoever
- The tight end passing game is a huge advantage for the Broncos and has yet to be fully exploited
- Punting needs a bit of a boost to help win the field position battle
- Terrell Johnson has an arm—should have had a sweet back shoulder touchdown catch if Thomas Sperbeck hadn't slipped