FINAL: Boise State 36, Florida State 31
Well, that got out of hand rather quickly. A very encouraging first offensive series for the Broncos ended with a Van Buren fumble, and then the Seminoles sprung Cam Akers for a long TD on 4th and short on the ensuing drive. After that, it was all rather downhill for the Broncos, who continued to move the ball ably behind some tough running from Robert Mahone, but just couldn’t find the end zone. They staved off the shut out with two Eric Sachse field goals, but poor tackling (I mean REALLY poor tackling) and some questionable coverage added some grease to this fire. On top of that, the solid run blocking by the Broncos did not translate to pass blocking and Hank Bachmeier was constantly harassed (at best) or just flat out crushed by the Seminole D. At this point, getting Hank out of the stadium in one piece seemed like a worthy goal. Kekaula Kaniho sacked James Blackman and David Moa scooped up a fumble to give the Broncos a bit of life toward the end of the half. Thankfully, they capitalized after the turnover with a nice series from true frosh George Holani and a end zone plunge by Rob Mahone. Yay, momentum! Oh, Florida State scored on the ensuing drive (quickly, I might add)? Nevermind. Rough half. No sugarcoating.
Okay, here’s a tiny bit of sugarcoating...Eric Sachse hit four field goals in the first half and Robert Mahone ran for almost 100. Gonna need some defense in the second half to overcome this 31-19 halftime deficit though.
Noles and Broncos played hot potato with momentum after halftime...both trading 3 and outs and when the Broncos finally got a little bit going offensively, Bachmeier got strip-sacked, so back to the Noles went the football...nah, potato is too hot—BACK to the Broncos with a fumble by Cam Akers. Anyone want to win this one?
Broncos got on the board with a beautiful endzone fade from Bachmeier to Shakir in the shadow of the fourth quarter to bring the Broncos as close as 26-31. We wanted a ballgame, and suddenly we had one. After holding the Noles again, the Broncos got the ball with the opportunity to take THE LEAD as the 4th quarter began. After driving into the red zone once again, the Broncos caught a huge break when a George Holani fumble was RE-fumbled by Florida State (HT: Garrett Collingham). Next thing we knew...the lead was theirs. Mahone again plunged into the end zone and it was 33-31 Boise State (always write epitaphs with erasable markers). Defense held again and the Broncos drove down inside the 10 on the ensuing drive...after a TD was overturned on a sketchy illegal blocking call, the Broncos settled for another Sachse FG; 36-31 Broncos. It all comes down to the Broncos defense holding with 2:25 left on the clock. The. Broncos. HOLD. Facing 4th and 14 from the Noles, the Broncos stopped Blackman short of the sticks AND got flagged for a procedural penalty. Broncos kneel it and WIN.
Hank Bachmeier had a gritty first start, being hit and harassed by the talented Florida State defense again and again, but finished with over 400 yards passing (407) and 1 TD (2 got called back). Rob Mahone had a monster game and looks like he can handle the RB1 load (24 carries, 142 yards, 2 TDs) but probably won’t have to shoulder it all with true frosh George Holani contributing over 100 all-purpose yards on the day. Bachmeier was sacked 6 times (bad) but the Broncos did drop Blackman 4 times themselves (good). Kekaula Kaniho also had a GREAT game and a ton of credit goes to the Bronco defense for shaking off a terrible first half and holding the Noles scoreless after the half. All told, the Bronco outgained the Seminoles 621-426 and had a 38-19 edge in first downs as well. In the end, it was the Seminoles that succumbed to the heat and not the Broncos. Full stat shot below.