Coming off the heels of an embarrassing loss to Utah State, the Broncos had to have a week of "redemption." A week of putting behind them memories of a game where nothing went right, and the quicksand would keep aggressively pulling them under. A cleansing of the palate as it were. How they responded in the Wyoming game was imperative for the rest of the season. Especially given the new breath of life San Diego State gave the Broncos by delivering a beatdown of Utah State (SDSU won 48-14 on a dominating run game).
So how the Broncos decided to start the game was paramount.
The Broncos wanted to establish the run game early. Harsin and company gave McNichols every opportunity to amass his yards often. The first drive saw the Broncos pick up five first downs, Rypien hit 5-5 and 59 yards, McNichols return to form with 21 yards on seven rushes, and a touchdown for Sperbeck.
The Wyoming Cowboys, however, did not start on such a quick note. The first Cowboys snap ended in a Darian Thompson six-yard sack of Coffman. The drive proceeded to go nowhere and the Cowboys punted.
After a Bronco drive that ended in a Rausa kick, to put the Broncos up 10-0, Coffman made a terribly ill-advised throw to Tyler Horn. Horn's had taken the interception 45 yards for what was initially ruled a touchdown. But after a review of the play, the touchdown was overturned with a quickness. In all of five second of game time consumed, McNichols punched in his first touchdown of the game. After the Rausa extra point, the Broncos led the Cowboys 17-0.
After another fruitless drive by Wyoming, the Broncos went on a 65 yard, 15 play drive. Rypien found McNichols, this time, in the end zone for a four yard touchdown pass.
All was not negative for Wyoming, though, as Hill hit the rushing milestone of 1,000 in the shortest time in Cowboy history in just eight games. But for all of Hills hard work Maulhardt was the lone Cowboy with a touchdown before the half ended. Hill had ended the half with 42 yards on 12 attempts, 3.5 yard average. Coffman was 6-9, 60 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
Rypien had ended the half 13-17, 102 yards, and two touchdowns, and no interceptions. McNichols 72 yards rushing on 20 attempts, one rushing touchdown, and a passing touchdown. Sperbeck had 43 yards on four catches and a touchdown.
The second half saw Wyoming open with two straight three and out drives.
Boise State scored a touchdown from Rypien to Sperbeck. A 36-yard pass from Rypien to Sperbeck. The throw itself was a lame duck, however Sperbeck made a great adjustment to the ball and was able to bring it down for the score. Adding another Rausa field goal on a series that had followed a Boise State fumble in the endzone, Broncos led 34-0.
McNichols, however, did eventually find his stride in the third quarter. McNichols was able to peel off two rushes for over thirty yards. Before the end of the third quarter, McNichols had 152 yards on 28 attempts.
With a twenty point lead in the fourth quarter, and the refs slowing the game to a grinding halt, the Broncos had taken to keeping the clock moving with runs. They had thrown it all of four times in the fourth quarter.
What felt like a "bland" win, the Broncos were able to do enough to stay in front of the Cowboys without ever seeming like taking full control of the game. However the outcome was never in doubt. A cruising, rebounding, win to keep the Broncos's MWC championship hopes alive.
What Did We Learn?
- The rushing game is still struggling despite McNichols's return. It is not as glaring when he is in, but it is there. The Broncos had 25 rushing attempts in the first half and did not even crack 100 yards (94). The Broncos averaged just 3.8 in the first half. The Cowboys? 3.1. But McNichols will not be stopped. Great vision and the ability to just not go down if not tackled properly. He makes opponents suffer.
- Rypien takes his time, and he will get sacked. Kudos to him for standing tall in the pocket and not being scared to take a hit. But It is costing him. He is getting hit far too often. Most likely due to freshman-gaffes which will be corrected with time and experience. He did tack a sack against Wyoming, but he, and the Broncos, were bailed out with a facemasking penalty. Those will not always happen.
- Sperbeck is a man. His one-handed athletic catch was AWESOME! Watch him do Sperbeck things with Sperbeck-attitude!
- Injuries are really piling up. Yakoo was out to start, Vallejo was gone, and not to mention the other guys out. Odhiambo was helped off the field, favoring his left leg. The bye week can NOT come soon enough. Unfortunately the Broncos still have one more game October 31 against UNLV.