Final: Boise State 44, Washington State (#20) 47
We don’t always get what we want...and sometimes we don’t even get what we deserve. After controlling most of the game behind a stellar defensive effort, a few late mistakes doomed the Broncos as they fell to Pac-12 foe Washington State (#20) last night in Pullman. We said all week that the matchup would be the first real test for this young defense and that we’d know exactly where we stood with that unit by the end of the night. Frankly, I think the defense answered the bell (and more), but it was some sloppy play, poor ball-security, and let’s be honest...a little bit of bad luck that doomed the Broncos in regulation and the third OT.
Boise State played WSU to a 10-10 tie at halftime and failed to yield an offensive touchdown in the first half. Brett Rypien got the start and was playing well (7-8), but took a vicious hit on a blown block and was replaced before halftime by Montell Cozart. Cozart played well in relief and threw a second-half score as well as rushing for one and a Curtis Weaver pick six swelled the Bronco lead to 31-10 in the 4th quarter. It was then that the wheels, in effect, came off. After giving up their first offensive touchdown of the night, the Broncos needed to run the ball and kill some clock...that’s when Cozart, trying to escape from pressure, threw an ill-advised pitch in the direction of Alec Dhaenens that was picked off for a score by Cougar LB Peyton Pelluer. Suddenly, the three score lead was down to just a TD with around five minutes of gametime remaining. The Broncos next drive didn’t really go anywhere, but did kill a little more clock and the defense held on the ensuing Cougar possession, but the Cougar punt on 4th and 20 hit the Broncos’ blocker, Reid Harrison-Ducros, in the helmet...giving the Cougars the ball again in the redzone. They scored soon after.
In overtime, the Broncos got the first possession and were held to a field goal and the Cougars then failed to score from the Bronco 1-yard line on their opportunity and had to settle for their own kick. Both teams scored in the 2nd OT—Cozart hit Cedrick Wilson for the score to knot it up again and after the 3rd OT resulted in another Bronco field goal, WSU answered with a diving TD by Jamal Morrow—one that was reviewed for several minutes—to ultimately ice the game 47-44.
It was a tough loss...and one that probably shouldn’t have been a loss, but consider that before the game nearly everyone expected a loss from the Broncos and they had WSU on the ropes for 3 1⁄2 quarters of play. Luke Falk was held to his lowest output as a starter ever before being knocked out of the game...the Broncos sacked the Cougar QBs 5 times (now have 9 in two games)...caused 3 Cougar turnovers and lose virtually no one in ‘18 off this D. It’s hard to find silver linings in tough losses, but there you go.
BTW, here’s ESPN’s win probability chart of the game...which as you can see trended heavily Bronco after halftime until the Cozart “pitch-six”. Crap happens.