If you’re paying attention, yes, I missed the What We Learned last week. My apologies to anybody affected by my failure. But we’re back this week!
After splattering New Mexico, Utah State looked to pose a significant road challenge to the Broncos this week. Lots of us remember that dark day in 2015 where nothing went right, and while Utah State’s record didn’t exactly instill fear, they have the capability to play up with the best in the Mountain West.
Let’s take a look back at what we learned:
Jaylon Henderson, First String Starting QB
If you ask Bryan Harsin, Jaylon Henderson could just as easily have been the first string starter instead of the third string at the beginning of the year, but clearly he’s The Guy now. While Harsin insists that Chase Cord and Hank Bachmeier are available to play and do not have “season ending” injuries, Jaylon keeps getting the starting nod. As wild as it is to be on the third starting QB in one season, there hasn’t been a drop off in performance. Henderson made smart reads, good runs when necessary, and took better care of the ball in his second outing as the starter.
George Holani Runs to 1k
A few weeks back, it looked like Boise State might not actually get a 1000 yard rusher this year, breaking a streak that goes back quite a while. George Holani took that challenge personally, and ran roughshod over the Utah State defense to the tune of over 100 yards in the first quarter.
George Holani has 870 yards rushing this season, the most by a true freshman in the FBS this season.— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) November 24, 2019
Also, he leads #BoiseState and ranks 5th in the @MountainWest with 1,019 yards from scrimmage.#TuSTATS pic.twitter.com/hNQvrNqVmf
Barring horrible injury (knock on wood) Holani should easily eclipse 1k this week, maybe the MWC Championship game at worst. He’s got three games to get 130 yards, so maybe we should be looking for more like 1500.
The Mighty Mighty O-Line
A big piece of Jaylon and George’s success the past couple of weeks? A suddenly dominant offensive line. Oft-maligned this season, the big boys up front were opening holes so big even your mom could fit through. It may have taken a while to show up, but the line has things humming just in the nick of time for the championship and bowl season.
After getting picked apart by some elite passing and receiving on the Aggie’s first drive, the defense locked down and denied Utah State’s best efforts until garbage time. The Broncos defense recorded four sacks, eight tackles for loss, loads of pass breakups and third-down stops, and a pick six during their reign of terror.
Jalen Walker Island
While the whole defense came to play, Jalen Walker came to dominate. His pick-six set the tone for the night, and was followed up by some masterful pass breakups, including an amazing effort in the end zone to save a TD. While it may be a late blooming, Walker is gonna make the remaining quarterbacks on the schedule reconsider going to his side of the field.
The Avery Williams Show
Special teams had themselves a night as well, highlighted by yet another Avery Williams punt return for a TD. He’s making this a habit!
*Makes sweeping arm gesture to assorted gallery crowd*— Aaron Juarez (@ajuarezbsu) November 25, 2019
"And if you'll turn your attention to this collection we call, 'Opponents Watching Avery Williams House Punts.'" pic.twitter.com/MC8JCizBKJ
Don’t let the touchdown distract you from the fact that Kekaula Kaniho took out three dudes to spark the runback!
Here’s a closeup version of Kaniho’s block on 3 Utah State players during @big_ave21 punt return for a TD. pic.twitter.com/4qtTcm6iwx— John Patrick (@JPktik) November 24, 2019
So, what else did we learn this week? Grab your victory ice cream sandwich (it’s a Twitter tradition now) and hit the comments with your observations.