FINAL: Boise State 17, BYU 51
A nice drive by the Broncos stalled and they were forced to punt on their first possession. Gavin Wale pinned the Cougars deep but it didn’t matter much...after a nine yard pickup on first down, Cougar RB Tyler Allgeier broke a tackle and then broke ankles en route to an 86-yard TD. 7-0 Cougars and that wasn’t really too tough. On the subsequent Bronco drive, they again were moving the ball well before Jack Sears got dinged on a quarterback keeper—just like that the Broncos are playing their third string QB. Ain’t it grand? Cade Fennegan did relatively well and the Broncos settle for a 39-yard field goal. It’s 7-3 but definitely feels worse. WONDER WHY?!
Bronco defense held after another knife-through-butter drive by the Cougars and forced a field goal attempt to start the second quarter. 47 yard field goal is GOOD which is BAD—Cougars stretch their lead to 10-3 as we await Jack Sears emergence from ISMI. Oh look! He did! Oh, but he has no helmet and is probably done for the night. It’s Cade Fennegan’s team now is something I just said and then wiped a tear from my eye. Broncos do NOTHING on ensuing drive. This thing could get ugly, folks. A nothingburger of a drive by BYU set the Broncos up to do SOMETHING, and they did until an offensive PI call got them well behind the sticks—then Fennegan tossed an acrobatic interception on 3rd and 18. So BYU starts with excellent field position (Bronco 39) but end up going backwards as Zach Wilson is sacked on 4th and 3 by Scott Matlock. Nothingburger for the Broncos on another penalty-killed drive and BYU will just have to go 96 yards this time in about 2 minutes to score before halftime. Wouldn’t you know it? They did. HEAVILY helped by a roughing the passer penalty AND defensive PI. Matlock gets a hand on the PAT to make it 16-3 before Cade Fennegan fumbles the ball on the next drive to give BYU another chance to twist the knife. Matlock got his second sack of the night to put Wilson and the Cougs behind the sticks and time runs out without any further damage. Still...there’s plenty of damage.
It seems the problem here is clear. The Broncos can’t sustain a drive to put points on the board. Having our third string QB (fourth if you count Chase Cord) is certainly a big part of the problem, but Fennegan definitely doing some good as well. Still, a few bad penalties and 2 turnovers have this thing fairly lopsided at the half in terms of game control. Wilson with 123 yards at the half (1 rushing TD) while Fennegan has just 46 yards on 7-12 passing (Sears was 4-4 for 41 yards before exiting with what looked like a head injury). Gotta get turnovers and/or find some offense in a hurry in the second half.
BYU starts with the ball and immediately found themselves in trouble but on 3rd and 8, Zach Wilson threw a GEM to Dax Milne for a 38 yard first down conversion. He followed that up with ANOTHER 38-yard strike to Gunnar Romney and guess what? They scored. It’s 23-3 and the Broncos have no answers. None. With no offense and the defense starting to tire (they need breaks too)...BYU started to go for style points (remember, since we’re in a pandemic, they are getting CFP love...seriously). Broncos are injured, wounded, and have their 4th string guy in at QB. Cougars score. 31-3 Cougars. Somebody throw the towel. Here comes our savior though...true freshman walk-on Andy Peters. Seriously, this game is drunk and really running afoul of the Honor Code. Does it matter anymore...BYU is still scoring. Our defense is constantly on the field and are missing routine tackles because of it. It’s 38-3 and I’m not giving another update until we score.
We did it! We scored! Cade Fennegan to Khalil Shakir for a 52 yard score. Sure, BYU had tacked on another TD after a blocked punt, but the Broncos salvaged a little dignity with that one. Now going back to hating life. Oh wait! We recovered an onside kick (Shakir) and then immediately scored again (Shakir). Shakir is a captain for a reason. This man gives a damn, folks. 45-17 Cougs...at least Fennegan to Shakir (x2) erased the “laugher” tag. This still ain’t great, but we’ll take reasons to cheer.
I dunno, man...don’t lose your starting RB, first, second, and third string QB...your top pass rusher, play in an empty stadium, play BYU during a pandemic, turn the ball over twice, have a punt blocked. I mean...the lessons are plentiful here. Do the Broncos make this a game with Jack Sears not being knocked out in the first quarter...perhaps. It certainly wouldn’t have hurt. And the defense just got real tiered of bing on the field and it showed. A valiant effort from 4th string QB Cade Fennegan and a manly effort from Khalil Shakir, but just not nearly enough tonight. This is a good BYU team, don’t twist it...but also a perfect storm for them against the Broncos. The most lopsided home loss in 20 years will reverberate for a while, but will hopefully motivate this team to not let it happen for another two decades. Final stats, if you can stand them, are below