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Holy Holani: Broncos clinch Mountain division with masterful game in Logan

NCAA Football: Boise State at Utah State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

FINAL: Boise State 56, Utah State 21

First Half

The Broncos opening drive mastery continued as they took the opening series down the field for a quick score behind some snazzy running from George Holani and John Hightower. 7-0 Broncos before our couch seats were even warm. A dud of an opening series by the Aggies and a (somewhat predictable) weak second series for the Broncos kept things the same as USU got their second shot at paydirt. Paydirt is what they got after a 47-yard grab and a 3rd down one-hander of a TD by Caleb Repp. This is a ballgame, folks.

Broncos failed to do much with their next possession, which apparently didn’t sit well with Jalen Walker as he pick-sixed Jordan Love on the first play of the next Aggie series. 14-7 Broncos. We’ll take that.

The Aggies had a chance to keep pace on their next drive when they faced a 3rd and manageable after starting out with a 1st-and-20. Thankfully, Chase Hatada put an end to that foolishness with a clutch sack of Jordan Love. Broncos get their fourth offensive series of the first quarter. Listen...George Holani is going OFF in the first quarter. A 36-yard run by Holani and a TD run on the STATUE OF LIBERTY (Z style) made it 21-7 Broncos. Feed that man.

3 and out, Aggies...and Broncos be RUNNIN’. Holani punches it in AGAIN after (get this) an Ezra Cleveland rush put the ball on the Aggie 1. Seriously.

28-7 Broncos and Aggies starting to sweat a little, I’d wager. Tell me if you’ve heard this one...Aggie three and out and a Bronco score set up by a 23 yard Henderson run. This one punched in by Robert Mahone and the Broncos are COOKING. Think they want to clinch the division tonight? It’s 35-7 before halftime.

Aggies got one more shot before half and were knocking on the door after a long pass completion, but the defense bowed up and held on 3rd AND 4th and long. The Broncos looked like they’d been held on the ensuing drive and it would’ve gifted the Aggies great field position before halftime, but an unsportsmanlike penalty by USU’s DJ Williams gave the Broncos new life. Did the Broncos take advantage? Of course they did...42-7 Broncos and Williams managed to get a SECOND unsportsmanlike penalty on the drive. He gone. Anyone that had the Broncos up 35 at half, congrats...the line had dropped to FOUR before kickoff. AT THE HALF George Holani has 149 rushing yards. Just FYI. On to the second half...

Second Half

Second verse same as the first. Aggies exit the field quickly and the Broncos capitalize—this time with a 76-yard punt return TD by none other than Avery Williams. Bloodbath time?

Next drive...nada for Aggies, another score for the Broncos—12 plays, 83 yards and a 15-yard pass to CT Thomas. It’s 56-7 Broncos and we’re not yet in the 4th quarter. Sometimes the Broncos will put together a perfect game and it looks like tonight is one of those nights.

At the end of the 3rd, the Broncos literally pulled their starters and let the backups give it a go. Not as successful, but they need those reps. 56-14 Aggies at the beginning of the 4th.

From here on out, the Broncos went ultra-conservative on offense (as one would imagine) and kept their garbage-timers in on defense. Didn’t matter. Evan Tyler comes up with a redzone pick and stopped the Aggies (for the moment) from making this one look more competitive than it was. Can we end the play-by-play at this point since the Broncos have effectively “shut it down”?

Q4, 1:40 56-21 (still Broncos, obvs)

That’ll do it.

Final stats and thoughts

Wow. Perfect games come from time to time but the Broncos picked a really good night to find theirs. George Holani ran for 178 yards on just 16 carries (team went for 309 with sack adjustment), Jaylon Henderson won his second career start after going 16 for 28 for 187 yards and 3 scores. We had a punt return TD AND a pick-six. The Broncos needed to show out to clinch their 3rd-straight home title game appearance and they did that in SPADES. Amazing performances all around. Next week is just a formality as they take on Colorado State. Since we now know our fate...get those tickets for December’s a day game (oh, and against Hawaii...look at that)!