Final score: Fresno State 28, Broncos 17
Starting off the 1st round, de facto, double elimination series between Boise State and Fresno State, the Broncos continued their frustrating trend of defensive slow starts. On the opening drive, The Bulldogs were able to plink their way 74 yards down the field for a relatively ‘easy’ score on 11 plays.
Luckily, the Broncos were able to answer in very short order with their own 75 yard drive. The drive only took six plays and was jumpstarted by a flea flicker from Mahone to Rypien that then went 45 yards downfield to Wilson. Cozart was able to secure six points three plays later to a wide open Richardson.
The Broncos had a chance to take the lead after a decent drive, late in the first quarter, but a 37 yard field goal attempt from Hoggarth hooked to the left and was no good.
They had another chance to get more points, early in the second quarter, but came up just short on a fourth-and-1 attempt.
Ultimately, after exchanging possessions several times, and Boise State crossing midfield on every one of their drives, it was the Bulldogs that would ultimately add points before halftime. With five seconds left in the half, Camacho’s kick was good from the 22 for Fresno State.
A re-enactment of Boise State’s first half offense, ever time it crossed midfield
The Broncos got the ball to start the second half, and weren’t able to get a first down before punting to the Bulldogs. Unfortunately, Fresno was able to make the most of their possession, and after 7 plays and 67 yards, they finally ran it in from the 1. The Bulldogs mishandled the snap on the extra point and essentially attempted a two point conversion. It failed.
The Broncos got the ball back, and put together a drive, but ultimately had to settle for 3 points off the right foot of Hoggarth after yet again struggling in Fresno territory.
The Bulldogs took their ensuing possession 52 yards, but the Bronco defense stiffened after midfield and forced a 41-yard field goal.
Boise State’s offense finally seemed to find their rhythm on their next drive. Once they got into Fresno territory, instead of stalling, they were able to continue forward and put six points on the board with a 1 yard run from Mattison. At that point in the game, both Mattison and Wilson had broken the thousand-yard mark for the season; Mattison rushing, and Wilson receiving.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs’ deep passing game was still as potent as it had been all game once they got the ball back. A McMariyon connection for 81 yards, to Johnson, resulted in a Fresno touchdown. The drive took one play.
After several exchanged possessions, the Bulldogs were able to get on the board one more time as Rypien was taken down in the BSU end zone for a safety.
28-17, Bulldogs. Final Score.
The Broncos started the game slow, and despite showing signs of life at times, they ultimately just didn’t match the energy or timely playcalling of the Bulldogs. Fresno State and Boise State finished the regular season with identical conference and overall records. 9-3, and 7-1, respectively.
The announcement won’t be official until tomorrow, but the expectation is that, based on computer rankings, Boise State will host the Mountain West championship game.
Today’s result was an unfortunate end to a resurgent second half of the season, but the Broncos have a chance for near-immediate revenge in a much higher stakes game next week. This time they’ll do so with extensive knowledge of their opponent. Hopefully the result will be more satisfying. In the meantime...