The beginning of the football year is always a nervous one. Expectations and conjecture are at an all-time high right before the start of the season. Will the team be “better” than last year? Worse? Somewhere in the middle?
The Broncos netted a worthwhile opponent for the season opener in Troy University who went 10-3 the year prior. One of the most experienced teams in the Trojans will certainly be a test for the very young Broncos.
After a very quick three and out by Troy, the Broncos’ special teams were the highlight of the early part of the game. Avery Williams received the punt from Troy and proceeded to house it on his first touch as a Bronco.
Troy would start their next series grinding the ball for small yardage. On a 3 and 3, the Broncos gifted Troy a first down with a pass interference call against Tyler Horton. Troy’s next play was a 26 yard completion against Reid Harrison-Ducros for the first. Troy did not do much after that, but they did walk away with three points from a field goal.
Cedrick Wilson took the ensuing kickoff and I am reminded just how electric he can be. He took the ball from the endzone to the Troy 45.
Once the offense took the field, the Broncos stuttered. After an early gain of six from Wolpin the Broncos only achieved one first down, a pass from Brett Rypien to AJ Richardson. The Broncos did manage a 4th and 2 situation but, unfortunately, got stuff and gave the ball up. This was a bit of a theme for the offense.
The first quarter for the Bronco offense was... not good. Rypien had been sack twice, losing the ball on a hit. The Boise State offense line was getting pushed around by the Troy defensive line. No openings and not much time for Rypien to go through his reads.
The second quarter started with a decent enough movement from the Broncos. But the same frustrating themes from last year cropped up: a stymied rushing effort followed up by heroics from Cedrick Wilson. It’s exciting and fun to watch, I guess?! The offensive line was playing like they couldn’t get much of a push.
By the last few minutes of the second quarter, Montell Cozart saw some significant time. Coming in for two series. Cozart is every bit of mobile, and fast, as was advertised. Not sure if this is great, but he was in the only series that produced an offensive TD. Alex Mattison lumbered for 49-yards and the score. The Broncos would lead 14-3
Rypien came back to some momentum that carried over from the Cozart series. After a great catch, Rypien threw an ill-advised pick-6 to the Trojans. With all the work the Broncos defense had put together, the only touchdown of the first half for Troy was the pick-6. Broncos 14-10.
Rypien would get another chance to bounce back from that mistake. He helped guide the offense close enough to get some points on the board in the way of a Haden Hogarth field goal. 17-10 Broncos.
The end of the first half, statistically, wasn’t so bad. Broncos had 223 total yards compared to Troy’s 95. Troy only had 4 first downs. Broncos 10.
Boise State offense was averaging a decent 5.7 yards per play in the first half. But it did not FEEL that way. During the game, it smelled of two yard rushes then Cedrick Wilson or AJ Richardson across the middle for the first down. As good as that is, it is certainly unsustainable.
The second half did not produce much in the way of scoring. At least, not for Boise State. The offense of both teams would sputter. To the Broncos defensive credit: they only had allowed six points going into the fourth. They did “allow” a FG to get Troy close 17-13.
The Broncos made a change at QB that actually sparked the offense. Brett Rypien was benched in favor of Cozart and the offense. Montell Cozart’s mobility helped take the pressure off the o-line. He even was able to throw a great-looking pass to Jake Roh (YEAH, A TIGHT END, I KNOW) for the Broncos’ only passing touchdown. Broncos up 24-13.
On the next Troy possession, with roughly two minutes in the fourth left, the Trojans were in hurry-up mode. Only to fumble the ball, forced by Sam Whitney and recovered by Sonatane Lui. Three listless rushes later sealed the game for the Broncos.
A lot went on in the game that surprised many folks. Avery Williams a special teams wonder. Montell Cozart sparking the offense. The defense coming up strong where it mattered. Broncos have a lot to fix for their trip to Pullman, WA against the Washington State Cougars, but a win is a win.