Well, that was something. That was some hard-fought domination, which is about all you can say about a 14-7 victory in which the Broncos did all the things statistically but score. Total yards, time of possession, and first downs were decidedly in Boise State’s favor, and Marshall’s -10 yards of offense in the second half tell even more of that story.
All that said, it was still a one-score game at the end, so what did we learn this week?
Marshall Doesn’t Suck
Not pointing any fingers here, but that week 1 comeback sure had a lot of you thinking BSU would roll over an overmatched Wimpering Herd. Those first couple drives where Brenden Knox bowled through our defensive line like 2012 Le’Veon Bell were a bit of a wake-up call. If it weren’t for the defense stiffening up and making for some tough Schmedding for the Herd, it could have been a long night.
Which brings us to the second point...
This Defense is Scary Good
I was as distraught as anyone at the departure of Andy Avalos, and the first half of the Florida State game didn’t exactly endear Jeff Schmedding to my heart. Obviously the halftime adjustments in Game 1 got my warm fuzzies back, but then Marshall moved at will in the first quarter on Friday, and all the butterflies were back...briefly.
The second-half lockdown of the Thundering Herd offense was so utterly complete that I actually had to check if somehow my recording was looping. Our boys were chasing the QB around the backfield, hitting running backs before they got to the line, and breaking up or picking off anything heaved downfield. I think Jeff Schmedding’s defense is close to earning a nickname.
The Kids Are (Still) Alright
Hurricane Hank did Hurricane Hank things, obviously, and while he has some stuff to work on, it’s looking bright for the freshman QB. Less happy was the injury to Robert Mahone (GET WELL, BOB!); more happy was how George Holani filled in like a seasoned vet. Breaking a hundred yards on the ground, George gave us all a reminder of how nice it is to have the next man up behind your starter, and why maybe you shouldn’t just transfer to Reno the second you see a depth chart.
Elsewhere on the field, sophomore Khalil Shakir did stuff just about everywhere. While dangerous with his hands, opposing DB’s would be wise to look out for him the instant someone else starts running with the ball, as Shakir was laying the lumber on downfield blocks. Andrew Van Buren was also decking dudes, but doing his damage on pass blocking. It warms the cockles of my middle-aged heart to see even the new kids on the block getting into the action away from the ball.
The Offense Can Do Just About Everything But Finish
Let it be known that while the stats do not reflect it, Akilian Butler has two touchdowns AND NO ONE CAN TELL ME DIFFERENT. Unfortunately for Akilian and the fans, the Broncos could once again move the ball pretty effectively right up until the red zone or so, and then things went pear shaped. An early missed field goal, two failed fourth down conversions, a bad bad bad snap, and a couple untimely turnovers killed off some promising drives. That’s not even diving into the officiating crew that seemed to think of “pass interference” as more of a concept than an actual flagged penalty.
The good news: a lot of the issues look like what you’d expect from a new quarterback working the kinks out.
The bad news: Akilian Butler doesn’t get unofficial touchdowns.
Also: it’s beautiful when the offense actually does finish a drive. Oh, baby.
BOISE STATE TAKES THE LEAD! Hank Bachmeier with a strike to John Hightower, Hightower takes it 47 yards to the house! pic.twitter.com/dW4hitwjkl— #BOOMIN (@ftbeard_17) September 7, 2019
The Tight Ends Are Back!
I think we all are aware of the Boise State fandom’s love affair with the tight end position (somebody somewhere in the distance yells “SCHOOOOOOU”) and boy oh boy are they BACK. I was a little worried that the absolutely bonkers wide receiver corps would usurp the tight ends’ targets on passing downs, but John Bates and Garrett Collingham did grown man things to catch passes while stunting on the tiny Marshall DB’s.
I am very here for 6’-6” 255lb people going after jump balls against 5’-10” 195lb people, just saying.
So what did we miss? Hit up the comment section with observations on what you learned about the Broncos this week.