WE DID IT, NUGGIES! Week one is in the books, with a venue change, QB debut, comeback victory, and accolades all around. Our Broncos went down to Tallahassee and took on the vaunted (maybe not anymore) Florida State University Seminoles in the season opener. What started as an embarrassment of a blowout ended up as another chapter in the long Bronco history of wins over Power 5.
So what did we learn this week?
BSU Found It’s QB & RB of the Future
Obviously the headline coming out of the weekend is Hank Bachmeier’s debut as the starting QB. His stellar play in the face of pressure turned heads across the country, and despite taking some serious hits, he delivered spot-on passes. Already sparking comparisons to unnamed Bronco quarterbacks of yore, Hank is the talk of Bronco Nation and beyond.
Hank Bachmeier of Boise State made his first start as a freshman on the road in a relocated hurricane game played against a Power 5 team in their own stadium in nasty heat and came back from being down 24-6 to win while throwing for 401 yards and a TD— BUM CHILLUPS (@edsbs) August 31, 2019
Almost lost in the shine of Hank’s coming-out party was Robert Mahone (Bob?) shouldering the load at RB. He found lanes behind the line, made cuts in the secondary, and stiff-armed more than one defender on his way to 142 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. Adding one catch for 27 yards, he showed enough versatility to soothe a fanbase worried by the departure of Alexander Mattison.
The Coaching Staff Can Adjust
A seemingly perennial complaint about Bryan Harsin’s staff has been the apparent lack of adjustment to opponents (at halftime or otherwise). While it can be important to stick to your game plan, great coaching staffs can adjust to what their opponent has been doing during the game.
Florida State seemed to execute at will on new coordinator Jeff Schmedding’s defense in the first half. A combination of too much cushion in coverage, a couple lost assignments, and God knows how many arm tackles came together to form a nightmare beginning to the game.
I've never seen such a lack of effort on D @BroncoSportsFB. Step it up!— Aaron Tevis (@AaronTevis) August 31, 2019
Whatever adjustments transpired at halftime (and that timely Aaron Tevis tweet) takes us to our next point
The Defense Will Be Fine
The second half of the game (and even a bit of the end of the first) was a different story. Boise’s defenders covered well, wrapped up, and executed to a T, ensuring Florida State never sniffed the end zone. The usual suspects wrangled Blackman in the backfield, and some solid contributions from all over the field kept the Seminoles in check.
Florida State went 1 for 12 on third down, a grand total of 51 yards in the second half, and had an absolutely abysmal second half drive chart: Punt, Punt, Punt, Fumble, Punt, Punt, Punt, Downs. The Bronco defense stepped up big when it counted with the second half shutout.
An unexpected surprise: Tyreque Jones
I love Tyreque Jones not being on the depth chart on Monday, then suddenly becoming George Illoka in the second half of that game.— Jeremy Kawika (@JeremyKawika) August 31, 2019
Special Teams Isn’t a Dumpster Fire
WE HAVE A KICKER. HE MADE 5 FIELD GOALS AND THREE EXTRA POINTS. NOTHING WAS BLOCKED.
Aside from a shanked punt, special teams actually had a pretty decent day, and considering recent history in that department, we’re counting that as a resounding win.
Harsin Finally Got a Signature Win
Talk show hosts and columnists loved to harp on Coach Harsin’s lack of a “signature” win of impact; explaining away his earlier victories with ‘just PAC-12’ or ‘bowl game anomalies’, they liked to point to a lack of recent success against Power 5 teams, and no shiny kickoff victories a la 2008 Oregon or 2010 Virginia Tech or 2011 Georgia. Detractors liked to say he couldn’t win the “big game”, a nebulously defined achievement.
With the resounding come-from-behind victory and coaching masterclass, Harsin has likely silenced his critics for now. Whatever they have been recently, Florida State is a big name, and the Broncos won in their house, on a weird travel week, with the nation watching. That’s a program-defining signature win if you ask us.
So what did we miss? Hit up the comment section with observations on what you learned about the Broncos this week.