When No. 24 ranked Boise State took to the field tonight at sold out Spartan Stadium in front of a crowd of 75,000 they knew they were the underdogs going against against No. 13 Michigan State with the 6th ranked defense in the nation. And it turned into every bit the dog fight everyone was expecting. Michigan State came out swinging behind Spartan QB Maxwell, 6-3, 212 lbs, and on their first first possession moved the ball down field to score in 12 plays on a 60-yard drive. Boise State got their chance to score with junior QB Joe Southwick, 6-1, 187 pounds, leading the charge but had to settle on a field goal. From then on it was a struggle on both sides to get the lead.
Maxwell was put under pressure by a stubborn Broncos defense that forced some critical interceptions, and those were augmented by a number of Michigan State penalties that allowed Boise State to keep some momentum in a game where the young Bronco offense was clearly struggling. But Boise State was able to go into half time up 13 to 10.
The Broncos defense took to the field to start the second half and stopped another Spartan drive. Then the Spartans returned the favor on Boise’s first drive as well. And so the two teams moved through the third quarter without a score. Michigan State’s Levone Bell, 6-2, 244 lbs, was like a one man army on the field running, catching, and blocking for the Spartans. One look at the stats in the middle of the fourth quarter and there was no doubt on the outcome. Bell’s TD with 8:12 to go to give the Spartans a 17-13 lead all but sealed the win for the Spartans.
Boise State’s 206 total yards were no match for the Spartans 461 yards. Bell accounted for 210 of those on 44 carries. By contrast, Boise State’s D.J. Harper, 5-9, 205, Sr. carried 15 times for 8 yards. The rushing yards by the Broncos was just 37 yards---total.
Southwick was 15 of 31 for 169 passing yards and scrambled for 18 more Several of his receivers looked good at times on the field: Matt Miller, 6-3, 215, caught 2 for 54 yards, averaging 27 yards a catch and Kirby Moore, 6-3, 203, pulled in 6 for 52 yards. But for the first time in recent memory the offense failed to score a touchdown.
The game ended with the 13-17 score and Boise State is now 0-1 to start their season. With the door now shut for the inexperienced Broncos to make a run at a BCS bowl, they need to focus on improving their performance on offense and correcting mistakes. They have two weeks to work on that before hosting the Miami Ohio Redhawks at Broncos Stadium on September 15.