Boise State 52, San Jose State, 42
In front of an audience comprised of...well, the subject of many a JFK assassination conspiracy theory—a grassy knoll—Boise State took on the San Jose State Spartans on Saturday night with the Raiders GM looking on.
Raiders GM Mike Mayock paying close attention to Boise State’s linebackers...wonder why pic.twitter.com/JIkjwPJ3Nv— Dave Southorn (@davesouthorn) November 3, 2019
Coming off a loss and a bye, Boise State needed to start quickly with a defensive stop. They didn’t. Absent a key starter on defense with Nawahine still out, the Broncos allowed the Spartans to march straight down the field. After completing a 36 yard bomb on the drive, San Jose State got on the board first with a 1 yard TD run by Dejon Packer.
The Broncos were unable to capitalize on their first offensive possession, but the Spartans were able to capitalize on their second. After a 15 play, 75 yard drive, QB Josh Love ran into the end zone himself to put SJSU up two scores.
Presumably frustrated with the offense’s inability to get the ball moving and probably more than a little miffed about surrendering the aforementioned 36 yard pass, Avery Williams fielded a punt, stiff-armed a would-be tackler to the ground, and proceeded to run 66 yards for a score. Octavius Evans also had a crushing block on the run that was...well, it was awesome.
The Broncos kept getting torched on back shoulder throws on the ensuing Spartan drive—some of Boise State defensive back just aren’t quite tall enough to cover that high—but they stiffened up in the red zone. San Jose State was forced to settle for three points.
The Broncos very nearly lost a fumble on the kick return, but Matt Locher was able to recover his own muffed catch. Bachmeier also nearly had a pick on the drive. He threw a ball that went right into the outstretched hand of a Spartan defender, but after a ricochet off of his palm, it fell into the hands of one John Hightower for a 41 yard completion. Further bye week rust surfaced on the drive as a Bachmeier-to-Holani exchange ended up on the ground before Holani scooped it up and was able to advance it slightly. After a run up the middle by Hank, the Broncos faced a 4th and goal from the 1 yard line. Harsin gambled and went for it. His faith was rewarded by George Holani shortly thereafter.
Boise State had a decent drive going on halfway through quarter 2, but then Bachmeier was flushed out of the pocket and threw a pass on the run to a double-covered CT Thomas that was picked off. Credit to the defender; it was a very impressive ball to come down with. Unfortunately, San Jose State was able to take advantage of the turnover and worked their height advantage with their receivers, all 83 yards down the field. A sixteen yard pass into the end zone made it...
Boise State was able make it back down the field just before the half to cut the deficit to 7 on a 30 yard kick from Eric Sachse.
The game resumed after the half with Boise State struggling on offense. After they punted, San Jose benefited from a couple pass interference calls on Bronco DBs to extend their drive and came away with another three points after a 35 yard kick.
Midway through the third quarter, the Broncos were finally able to put together a short but balanced drive after a long kick return into Spartan territory by Akilian Butler. Despite the efforts of a now thrice ejected San Jose State linebacker (just this season) to knock George Holani out of the game with a textbook targeting call, the Broncos capped a 45 yard drive with him plunging six yards into the end zone.
The Broncos started to get the run game going in the third quarter and marched down the field after forcing another Spartan punt. A 63 yard drive that featured several scrambles forward by Bachmeier was punctuated by an 8 yard run into the end zone from Chase Cord. Hank came off the field before Cord went in after taking multiple, big shots on two scrambles (one of which was for a TD that was called back).
The Spartans answered the Broncos’ taking of the lead by reclaiming it after a 75 yard drive where they thoroughly exploited the Bronco secondary. Again.
After taking a few plays off to get checked out in the locker room, Bachmeier got back on the field and promptly led the Broncos down to the SJSU red zone. A very shifty Holani finished off the drive for six from six yards out.
The Broncos run game found another gear in the fourth quarter. Holani had some great runs, but then he fumbled the ball (Collingham recovered) and Andrew Van Buren came into the game. He had a couple of nice, physical runs before finally taking off for a 32 yard score.
The Broncos regrettably allowed the Spartans to get back within one possession by a whole lot more back shoulder throws to the sidelines, all the way down the field. They capped off a 75 yard drive with a TD and a successful two point conversion.
Boise State was able to get on the board one more time after an ill-advised, early onside kick from San Jose State when they still had timeouts. The Spartans failed to recover and Boise State converted the field position into another six points on Holani’s fourth touchdown in the game, after a 39 yard drive.
FINAL SCORE: Broncos 52, Spartans 42
This was a stressful matchup. It shouldn’t have been, but it was. However, despite the frustration of being unable to to stop Josh Love and his taller receivers, and taking three quarters for the running game to catch fire, the Broncos came out on top. They will be back in action at home this Saturday to take on the Cowboys of Wyoming. Hope to see you all there!
Anything else you’d like to discuss? Please do so in the comments. In the meantime, and always,