Boise State 31, Nevada 41
In front of an excited crowd of 37,426, Boise State took on the University of Nevada Reno and their highly touted quarterback, Carson Strong.
...it was a bad day at the office.
There was no shortage of fireworks in the opening segment as Carson Strong marched the Wolfpack down the field to draw first blood on an 11 play, 67 yard drive.
Boise State was able to answer back, albeit on a longer drive. It took Boise State 9 plays, 75 yards, and an absurd Khalil Shakir catch to get there, but the drive ended when Bachmeier found Stefan Cobbs in the end zone from 25 yards out.
Nevada’s response to the Boise State TD was points...but only of the “three” variety. The Wolfpack kicker split the uprights from 38 yards after a drive that spanned 54 yards and took 9 plays.
Boise State continued the theme of an explosive first quarter by moving 73 yards in 8 plays. The drive highlighted a reality that started to emerge in the first half: Boise State was starting to get yards on the ground. But not from wildcat formations or sweeps. It was actual running backs showing some shiftiness and physicality. The drive ended when Khalil Shakir went
Khalil Shakir has been a dude all season! Hand eye coordination & body control— Damian Parson (@DP_NFL) October 2, 2021
full OBJ and came down with a one handed TD from 23 yards out.
Not content to let the home team get cocky, UNR retook the lead early in the second quarter after they pushed 54 yards down the field in 9 plays and punched it in from the 2 to make it...
After trading punts, Khalil Shakir started off the next Boise State scoring drive by almost taking UNR’s to the house. As it was, however, he got the ball to the Nevada 40. Utilizing a short field, the drive only took three plays to be worthwhile. Stefan Cobbs had two catches on those three plays. One for a 33 yard gain, the other for a five yard touchdown.
Keeping things exciting, Nevada did manage to get another three points just before the first half. Boise State made them earn it though. It required 11 plays for them to traverse the 54 yards to get in range for a 37 yard kick.
The third quarter played out like...well, like is becoming typical of our third quarters. Boise State got the ball to begin the half, but Hank was strip-sacked on the very first play on offense. The Wolfpack was only temporarily delayed by 3 penalties in a row at the goal line before they turned the short field into 6 points. They then went for 2 more and got that as well.
Boise State’s opportunity to answer seemed unstoppable until it got into the red zone. The 59 yard drive stalled when the defense stiffened up in the shorter field. On the 9th play of the drive, Jonah Dalmas added three points for the Broncos from 31 yards out.
UNR answered with a field goal of their own after 6 plays and 59 yards.
Boise State was unable to get points their following drive. The Wolfpack, however, was able to add another six points after only three plays and 60 yards.
UNR capitalized on an abysmal second half for the Boise State offense, turning one of the Broncos’ THREE second half turnovers into another three points.
Boise State was able to add another touchdown to the board on a four yard catch from Octavius Evans. This capped a drive that spanned 80 yards, but unfortunately took 15 plays and bled an awful lot of the rapidly dwindling time off of the clock.
That would end up being the final score as the Wolfpack won against Boise State at home for the first time since the year Titanic was in theaters. Boise State’s offense looked absolutely unstoppable at times, but then they very much WERE stopped by three second half turnovers and two turnovers on downs (one that gave the ball back to Reno with less than 30 seconds on the clock).
Let’s recap some things in a mixed up Sergio Leone style. Starting with...
- Boise State hasn’t been 2-3 at this point in a season since...the Clinton administration. The same year that Titanic was in theaters, as previously mentioned. 1997, for those that aren’t big fans of James Cameron movies or politics.
- Boise State’s offensive line is becoming an absolute tragedy. They allowed six sacks and were pretty directly responsible for 89 yards lost from a combination of Hank getting murdered and/or bad snaps. The latter issue happened twice...on one drive.
- The run defense is still a big problem. Taua rushed for over 100 yards. That’s not so terrible, all things considered. What is terrible is that he also averaged over 10 yards per carry.
- Turnovers. You simply CANNOT commit three turnovers in a game, much less a half. One was due to the aforementioned abysmal pass protection for Hank. He was tomahawked from behind with no warning at all from his blindside. The other two, regrettably, came from a player that was arguably the biggest star for the Broncos in this one: Stefan Cobbs. I feel for the guy. He had a rough day. He coughed up one fumble and then tipped a pass straight into the hands of a Nevada defender so directly it looked like a handoff.
- Jay Norvell. He’s a weird looking guy. That’s all.
- As previously mentioned, the Broncos actually did manage to get the run going in this game, utilizing actual running backs to do so. CHL and AVB both averaged almost five yards per carry. Holani, before he seemed to leave the game in the first half, was averaging close to 7. The line may have voided Hank’s life insurance coverage, but they were actually getting some lanes open in the run game. It also helped that both Van Buren and Habibi-Likio demonstrated a little extra wiggle today.
- Khalil Shakir is already an absolute stud. He will 100% be a “plays on Sundays” guy. He had the most incredible one handed catch I’ve seen since...well, since his last one handed catch. This one was for a touchdown though. To match that, you have to go all the way back to Tommy Gallarda scoring on Virginia Tech in 2010. It was truly amazing. However, today, not one, but two other wide receivers had more yards than him. Octavius Evans continued to show out as the breakout candidate he’s been for what feels like ten seasons. Stefan Cobbs was the real star of the receiving corp today though. I won’t continue to punish him for the fumble and the tipped pass, but rather highlight that the dude broke out, finally, in a big way. He had big catches in big moments, 132 yards, and two touchdowns. If he can stay healthy, he and Shakir will be one of the best receiving tandems in the entire country.
- Boise State lost to a conference opponent two games in to conference play. That sucks. A lot. On the bright side, they still get a chance to beat a BYU team that could be ranked in the top 10 by next week. They also get to play a (presumably-still) ranked Fresno State team in November and a likely-ranked SDSU team as well. Conference championship is still very much on the table and nothing, literally nothing, would be better than avenging last year’s extraordinarily painful loss to BYU on The Blue.
That game was exhausting and more than a little disappointing, but—mercifully—it’s over now. On to next week.
Please sound off in the comments with your thoughts and please have a great rest of your weekend.
In the meantime, and always...