In front of Troy’s first sellout crowd and a revamped stadium, the Boise State Broncos took on the University of Troy Trojans in the heart of Alabama...and drenched in its humidity.
I did a pregame show from Alabama. pic.twitter.com/udUqOIxEMR— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) September 1, 2018
The Broncos came into the game with some small question marks on offense, and one giant one on defense. After one quarter, some answers were provided for both. The defense forced a quick three and out, and the person tasked with the monumental responsibility of replacing NFL 1st round pick, Leighton Vander Esch—Riley Whimpey—was consistently among the first defenders to the ball. The offense started out allowing a sack, but then Rypien went on to complete 4 of 4 passes and finished his opening drive with one of the most perfectly thrown balls he's ever had as a Bronco for a TD to Sean Modster. Speaking of Modster, remember when he used to have a bad case of the drops? Me either. Incidentally the score came on a play that was almost perfectly defended. It didn’t matter. The throw and the catch were both THAT good.
Further into the quarter, the Trojans were able to leverage a fumbled punt into a short field and a score. To answer, the opening period ended with new weakside linebacker, Whimpey, leading a swarm to a tackle for a loss on a 4th down attempt. Almost immediately after, CT Thomas did his best Titus Young impression and took the top off the defense with a long, 53 yard touchdown, on another perfectly placed ball from Rypien.
Former Vandal, Tony Lashley, contributed on the ensuing defensive possession with one of the more unique interceptions we’ll probably see all year, giving the ball back to the Bronco offense. CT Thomas continued his coming-out party, converting for a first on another big catch. Two plays later, Alexander Mattison plowed into the end zone for another six points.
After ending the hopes and dreams of another Troy offensive possession, the Broncos got the ball back and the only, current NCAA quarterback with over 10,000 career passing yards again expertly guided the Broncos down the field, with ease. The new method of spreading the ball around without an established superstar continued with AJ Richardson making a big catch. Eventually, though, it was Akilian Butler that finally caught the ball on a dart into the far, front side of the end zone for 6 more points. It was a very cool comeback for a guy that’s had his terrible luck with injuries, but that was once considered good enough to burn his redshirt year. What I'm saying is, I'm still trying to make 'AK-81' happen!
The Trojans did get the ball again before halftime, but the results were non-existent for their offense. Getting sacked on back-to-back plays by Durrant Miles and then a Rufai/Watson sandwich will do that. Alternatively, the Broncos were able to take their possession and turn it into another Modster TD; this time on a 54 yard bomb.
The Broncos were finally forced to punt early in the 3rd quarter, and Troy started to put a drive together, but then Kekoa Nawahine happened. He came into a collision with some pop and jarred the ball from a Trojan ballcarrier's grip. Tyler Horton was IMMEDIATELY there to scoop it up, break a few tackles, and weave his way back 55 yards for a defensive TD; the third of his career (at the time...FORESHADOWING)
The Trojans did show a little bit of life in the 3rd quarter, and actually put a drive together against a Boise State defense that was liberally subbing in younger players to get them some game experience. They made the Trojans fight for it, but Troy was finally able to cap the drive off with a short, TD run.
More backups were getting playing time, and ultimately the Bronco defense allowed another passing TD on a 4th and 3 'spray and pray'. Troy attempted a 2-pt conversion, but it was unsuccessful.
The Bronco defense allowed a few more yards than was optimal for the game, but Tyler Horton came to play! With 8:40 left in the 4th quarter, he recovered another fumble, and returned it for another defensive touchdown; this one from 11 yards out.
Once the backups parade was in full swing, Chase Cord got a chance to get in the game with about about 5 minutes left. He just went ahead and used his first, live snap as a college player to tuck the ball and rip off a 44 yard run for a TD. Just for fun. Should be a killer battle for the starting spot after Rypien graduates between him and incoming 4-star, Hank Bachmeier (and potentially Smith/Henderson).
The Broncos answered the call out of the gate. They overcame Alabama’s late summer humidity, a lack of a clear number 1 receiver (maybe it’s Modster now), and most importantly the defending Sun Belt champions—on the road. The initiated will know that’s not a small feat, as the Trojans have put together back-to-back 10+ win seasons; 11 last year.
Now that Troy is out of the way, we get to root for them to yet again tear through their schedule and hopefully repeat as Sun Belt Champions. It can only help our NY6 or even (longshot) CFP chances if they do. Maybe they’ll even do us a massive favor and pull off an upset at Nebraska later this year like they did at LSU last year. At any rate, Boise State is now 8-0 all-time against Sun Belt teams, and is 1-0 in 2018!
-- The special teams struggled a little bit and unfortunately, Avery Williams went down with an arm injury, the severity of which is unknown. He had a decent game on defense, but despite some shiftiness on a couple of punt returns, he muffed and lost one other punt, and nearly lost a second. Hoggarth also missed a sub-50 yard FG attempt.
--The Boise State run game seemed to be fairly contained, but it was also minimally used. To be fair, they were running into a very stout, experienced, and decorated front seven. The run game was also largely ignored because...
--The passing game was ON FIRE. Rypien was nearly flawless. He lightly underthrew a couple to Hightower, but in the first half he had 4 TDs, only 3 incompletions, and 0 turnovers. The TEs were also minimally used as pass catchers, but on the plus side, it looks like BSU is going to be just fine in the post-Cedrick Wilson era. Keep in mind that this was also without an injured Octavius Evans, who is widely expected to have a breakout second year. Sean Modster looked especially unstoppable, totaling 7 catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns.
--We got to see the unveiling of college football’s best turnover swag/schtick/gimmick: The throne for the Kings of Chaos. Yes, it already went viral.
The Kings of Chaos reigned at Troy Saturday and the seat of the Turnover Throne never went cold, as the Broncos forced 4️⃣ turnovers including two @OohHorton fumble return TDs!#BleedBlue— Boise State Football (@BroncoSportsFB) September 2, 2018
Recap, stats, notes from Boise State’s 56-20 win at Troy
Welcome to the first week of college football, everyone. We made it! See you all next week for the home opener against UConn.