Final Score: Broncos 28, Lobos 14
Boise State kicked the ball to start the game in front of a sparse crowd of 28,385 and Brett Rypien on the bench with an undisclosed injury (it’s a concussion though—let’s be honest). Two plays into the contest, New Mexico gave us a reminder of just how much and why we hate the gimmicky nonsense that is the triple-option offense by breaking off a 24 yard run. Luckily the suddenly-adept-at-creating-turnovers Bronco defense stiffened up before Vander Esch forced a fumble. Nawahine had the recovery, and could have taken it to the house, if not for a shoestring tackle. It didn’t make too much of a difference though because it took a Cozart-led drive all of two minutes to find paydirt. Cozart kept it for a QB draw to score from 28 yards out. Just one chunk of a 79 yard rushing night for him.
The Broncos and Lobos traded possessions before New Mexico capitalized on great field position following a terrible Bronco punt. After a drive of 10 plays, Tyrone Owns ran it in from 5 to get New Mexico on the board
The Broncos decided to start fast in their attempt to answer. On the second play of the drive Cozart connected with Wilson for a 47-yard completion. Six short plays later, Cozart dropped an easy TD into Jake Roh’s capable paws to regain the Bronco lead.
The Lobos got the ball back, but their drive stalled after consecutive tackles for a loss. The first was for -4 yards and came compliments of Gabe Perez. The second resulted in a loss of 16 on a sack from Jabril Frazier. This brought up a 3rd and 30 that the Lobos just weren’t able to convert. Apparently that’s a hard down and distance to convert or something? Particularly when your offense is basically only capable of running the ball.
The half ended with Chase Hatada leaving the game on a targeting call and a 53 yard Lobo FG attempt that went wide left.
Halftime highlight: I got out of the media box and secured possession of the last brownie from the media buffet before any of those Statesman or KTVB yahoos could get to it. I’ll be expecting a gameball from Damien this week for my fleet-footed face-filling.
The third quarter basically didn’t happen. There were no big plays by either team and both offenses were seemingly stuck in purgatory because they went nowhere. But...another great quarter for the Bronco defense!
The 4th quarter began by trying to make up for the monotony of the 3rd. After the defense nearly came away with a safety (twice), Avery Williams returned a Lobo punt 29 yards and put the Broncos in position to score 3 plays later. The TD came on a—get this—direct snap and run by TE, Jake Roh. Strange play...but it worked!
After several changes of possession, including the squandering of a beautiful Vander Esch interception, the Broncos were finally able to score one more time on a short pass for yet ANOTHER Jake Roh touchdown. That made it two through the air and one on the ground from the large man with soft hands.
With 1:11 to go in the game, the Lobos were able to take advantage of relaxed coverage to dink and dunk their way down the field for a garbage-time TD. So, like, moral victory for them? I guess?
The Broncos got the ball one, last time and it was victory formation until the clock read 00:00.
The win was a nice bounceback effort from the Heartbreak on the Palouse that we all experienced last week. Most importantly this game was against a division opponent, so it actually counted toward the team’s ultimate goal of winning a conference championship.
On that note, this team is already displaying signs of a championship defense. Kekoa Nawahine is a ballhawking safety, to go along with the equally-sticky-handed Tyler Horton at corner. DeAndre Pierce is making timely adjustments and big hits from the other safety spot. Leighton Vander Esch is already halfway done etching himself into Boise State record books from the outside linebacker position. Maeva looks like a vet. Miles, Frazier, and Weaver are all pass-rushing terrors. I could go on and on but the point is, this defense is young, but they are GOOD.
On the flipside, Boise State has yet to really find their stride on offense. The team that’s had a 1,000 yard running back in every season (but one) since 2006 is having trouble with their run game. Add to that the fact that the offensive line is extremely young and clearly hasn’t gelled. The result of all this is that the Broncos just aren’t moving the ball like they usually do, and quarterbacks that can’t run like the wind * cough * Montell! * cough * keep getting hit. Namely, Brett Rypien got hit. Super hard. A lot of times. Because of this, he’s missed 1.75 games now.
It will be interesting to see if and how the offense can get things sorted out, going forward. Regardless, this defense is playing well enough right now to keep BSU in any game. In the meantime, the boys get an extra rest day before they’re back on The Blue on Friday, the 22nd, to face off against the Virginia Cavaliers.
See you there!