FINAL: Boise State 36, UCF 31
The first half started out shaky for the Broncos as they had a fairly short opening drive and then allowed the Knights to carve right through the defense and into the red zone. However, a MASSIVE 100 yard pick-six by Tyric LeBeauf changed the momentum in a hurry as the Broncos flip the script and were first on the board.
After the Bronco D settled in, it was the Bronco offense that also got rolling, with some nice drive-extending passes from Hank Bachmeier before Andrew Van Buren went nuts in the red zone to score the second TD of the game.
More D, more offense...this time with an incredible effort from Khalil Shakir to get in the endzone and extend the Bronco lead to 21-0. He’s good, folks.
As the 2nd quarter got underway, the UCF offense finally found some rhythm and a couple of chunk plays set up a nice 23-yard TD reception by Alec Holler. Becoming a game now.
The Broncos had a nice offensive drive going on the ensuing possession but stalled in the red zone after a dropped sure score from Riley Smith (in his defense, it was a tad high) and had to settle for a 31 yard field goal from Jonah Dalmas.
Here’s where things got a little hairy. The Broncos again got the Knights off the field sans points, but their next offensive possession as halftime loomed went less than nowhere and Avalos called a timeout when it looked like Malzahn might’ve been content to let the clock run out. A freaking beautiful 61-yard punt by Velazquez pinned the Knights in their own territory with under 2 minutes in the half, but then safety Tyreque Jones dropped a gift-wrapped interception and 2 plays later, the Knights got a big pickup to re-establish field position. After a couple of good scrambles and some short gains, the Knights were able to score on a “broken” play from Gabriel to Makiao-Atimalala to pull UCF within 10 as the teams headed to the locker room. Considering that the Knights were to receive the ball after halftime, that dropped INT loomed rather large. Hey, we’re still up.
24-14 Broncos at the half
Good news...we’re still up, but just. Momentum is a fickle thing and UCF seized all of it with that end-of-half sequence. One quick, 84-yard drive is all it took for UCF to find themselves within 3 after an 11-yard TD pass from Gabriel to Brandon Johnson, moments after a daggerish 47 yard reception by Jaylen Robinson. It’s. A. Game.
24-21 Broncos (barely)
Bad time for Bronco dropsies, but that’s exactly what happened as the Broncos fumbled (and recovered) on the ensuing and put themselves too far behind the sticks to do much. Another 3 and out for the Broncos and the Knights are cooking...well, until Isaiah Bagnah sacked Dillon Gabriel on 3rd and 4 to mercifully get the Broncos the ball back with 6:01 left in the 3rd...but alas—3 and out after a CT Thomas (highly uncharacteristic) drop. Costly, that drop. UCF kept riding transfer RB Isaiah Bowser and then got their fourth TD toss from Gabriel and just like that, the Bronco lead was gone.
Okay, onto the 4th and the Bronco offense is still...uh...uh...(pokes with a stick), then a bad snap on a punt from deep in our own territory gives the Knights a two-point safety. I think it’s safe to say the wheels are coming off, folks.
The Bronco offense (amazingly) did nothing on their next drive and were forced again to punt...a punt which led to a near-ejection on Brandon Hawkins (targeting call was overturned). The Knights started to march, but then another miracle for the Broncos as Tyric LeBeauf got his second pick of the night which led to an ALL SHAKIR drive that culminated with a 7 yard TD reception.
Welp...we got that targeting call we wanted...or they wanted. As UCF started their drive and got a nice gainer to star wideout Jaylen Robinson, he got LIT UP by Kekaula Kaniho and nailed with the targeting call (this one would not be overturned...he gone). That’s a HUGE loss for the Broncos and a big break for UCF as they get a tidy 35 yards on the play and penalty. That’s all the Knights needed—UCF scores on an Isaiah Bowser run (he did...well, tonight) and tried to tack on a two-point conversion that JL Skinner politely declined.
Okay, so let me set the stage...Broncos DRIVING...good things...HAPPENING. Clock...WINDING. This is where the sad trombone plays. On a scramble, Bachmeier opted to “try for more” instead of going out of bounds on 3rd down and the ball is intercepted with right around 2 minutes left. The Broncos blew through their timeouts to try to get the ball back in the 4th and they got their wish...the only problem was there was only about 10 seconds left and any Hail Mary attempts were futile.
Blouses. UCF completes the largest comeback win in school history.
I’m tired, people...here are the final stats, we’ll discuss what went right and what went wrong at a later date. Broncos move to 0-1 to start the Avalos era.