Boise State 48, Air Force 38/Final
Boise State traveled to Colorado Springs today to take on the Air Force Academy at a place where they have surprisingly failed to secure a win in either of their two visits. It’s no strange thing to struggle against the triple-option offense that Air Force runs, but the Broncos also had a loss in Boise in that ill-fated 2015 season, so they went into this game with a very rare series split at 3-3. With an exceptionally tough Mountain West this year, and already carrying one conference loss, it was critical that the Broncos leave Falcon Stadium with a win. They did just that, AND took the lead, all-time vs the Falcons, with a 4-3 mark.
Boise State started out the game exactly like they needed to, receiving the opening kick and jumping out to an early 7-0 lead on a 44 yard TD pass from Rypien to Richardson, following a 5 play, 75 yard drive.
Boise State 7, Air Force Academy 0
Unfortunately, Air Force decided to return the favor by suckering the Broncos with an early, long pass to get inside the red zone and then punched it in shortly after on a Cole Fagan rush from the 8.
Boise State 7, Air Force Academy 7
On the ensuing possession, the Broncos had little trouble moving down the field and only briefly bogged down after a Rypien fumble that he was able to fall on. Two plays later, Rypien was able to find John Hightower again for an 18 yard score. With 5:56 left in the first quarter, Hightower had 89 yards and 2 TDs and Rypien only had one incomplete pass!
Boise State 14, Air Force Academy 7
Air Force, continuing to operate their triple option offense straight from the depths of hell was able to traipse down the field again to answer, capping an 11-play, 75 yard drive with another sneaky pass; this time a 20 yarder to Marcus Bennett.
Boise State 14, Air Force Academy 14
In a game that displayed very minimal defense, the Broncos were able to come right back in 8 plays that spanned 79 yards, capped by a 21 yard score to A.J. Richardson.
2Q, 11:38; 20-14 | TOUCHDOWN BRONCOS!!! A.J. Richardson with his team-high seventh TD catch of the season, hauling in the 21-yard pass from Brett Rypien! Broncos back in front!#BleedBlue pic.twitter.com/cGv3CqVi3C— Boise State Football (@BroncoSportsFB) October 27, 2018
Boise State 21, Air Force Academy 14
The Falcons decided to maintain the theme of a shootout in the making the next time they got the ball. After 5 plays and 75 yards, Air Force was back in the end zone on a 5 yard QB run from Isaiah Sanders (who might someday literally be a colonel...imagine the possibilities).
Boise State 21, Air Force Academy 21
After finally exchanging a few 3 and outs, the Falcons eventually got their first (and only) lead on a 60 yard drive that took all of 4 plays. The scoring play was yet another (usually rare) pass for the Falcons; this one a 32 strike from Sanders to Andrew Smith.
Boise State 21, Air Force Academy 28
Just before the half, the Broncos were faced with a 4th and 10 at the AF 35, and staring down the prospects of having to give Air Force the ball to start the third quarter. They were also down several several starters on defense with Tyreque Jones, Tyson Maeva, and Durrant Miles all having left the field. So they gambled and went for it. Mr. 4th Down himself, CT Thomas, reeled in the bomb with 5 seconds left in the half to tie it up.
Boise State 28, Air Force Academy 28
Boise State was actually able to start the half in the most ideal way possible by forcing a quick 3-and-out from the pesky Falcons offense. They were then able to reclaim the lead after a 67 yard drive, off the foot of Haden Hoggarth, who was good from 30 yards out.
Boise State 31, Air Force Academy 28
After another great defensive series by the Broncos, the Falcons were forced to punt. On the return, Avery Williams took the ball all the way back to the Air Force 5. Two plays later, Alexander Mattison powered into the endzone for six, and it started to feel like the Broncos were taking control after a wild first half.
The quasi-rivals spent their next two possessions trading field goals, and with 12:14 left in the 4th quarter, the Broncos regained a ten-point lead from another Hoggarth field goal. This time a career high for him of 47 yards. Incidentally, he would end up having a perfect night, making every single one of his kicking attempts.
Boise State 41, Air Force Academy 31
After getting the ball back, the scrappy Falcons took advantage of a gassed Bronco defense to drive 75 yards down the field and put another 7 on the board with a short pass to Kaden Remsburg.
Boise State 41, Air Force Academy 38
When Boise State got the ball back, they initially came out with a couple of runs and got a first down. Then, on a 2nd and 9, Zak Hill must have gotten tired of dinking around and dialed up a long one to...guess who. I’ll give you a hint: The pattern must have been full because Air Force was unable to buzz the Hightower (yes, I’m aware they’re not the Navy like Maverick was). His 61 yard touchdown would put an exclamation point on his 3 TD, 182 yard day and seal the win for the Broncos.
Boise State 48, Air Force Academy 38
That would end up being the final score as the Bronco defense came up with another big stop on 4th down and Boise State was able to kneel it out the rest of the way. The game allowed the Broncos to return from Colorado Springs as the victors for the first time ever, and it felt pretty good! Here’s to making that a habit...
Rypien had a highly impressive game, throwing for one yard shy of 400, to go along with 5 passing touchdowns. John Hightower had a career game, but Sean Modster also went over the century mark in receiving yards. Mattison was even finally gifted enough push from the o-line to maximize his exceptional talents, to the tune of 6 yards per carry for 136 yards and a TD. It was an incredible day from the offense.
The defense, despite losing bodies left and right, did just enough in the second half to come away with a huge, conference win on the road, and Boise State will be back in action this weekend against BYU. See you there!