A home town crowd of 33,294 Boise State fans were on hand Saturday afternoon to see how well the Broncos recovered from the blowout last week in Seattle. They didn’t have long to wait to get their answer. The UT-Martin Skyhawks received the ball to start the first quarter and went three and out. Then the Broncos started a drive from midfield but QB Joe Southwick was sacked and then fumbled the ball that led to a second drive by the Skyhawks. Skyhawk QB Dylan Favre threw a pass that was intercepted by Darian Thompson at the Boise State 16 and after that sloppy start the game got underway in earnest.
About 5 minutes into the game the Broncos scored first when Jay Ajayi rushed up the middle for 11 yards for a TD. He ended up with a total of 15 carries for 80 yards and 2 TD’s. The Skyhawks answered back a few minutes later with a TD of their own but the first quarter ended with the Broncos up 14-7. After that it was all Boise State and UT-Martin never really threatened again. The Broncos went in at half-time up 49-14.
Boise State came out at the beginning of third quarter with Southwick leading the charge. He connected with Shane Williams-Rhodes on a 30 yard pass for a TD before leaving the game. Southwick was 17 of 25 for 234 yards and 5 TD’s, but was also was sacked twice. Both backup QB Grant Hedrick and third string QB Nick Pattie got some valuable playing time in the second half, as did most of the Broncos backups. The Broncos had a total of 472 yards and was about evenly balanced with both passing and running.
Southwick tossed passes to just about every receiver on the team, including 5 to WR Matt Miller for 45 yards and a TD. But it was sophomore WR Shane Williams-Rhodes, 5-6, 158 lbs, who I thought was the star of the game. He caught 7 passes for 89 yards, averaging 12.7 yards a catch, and scored 2 TD’s.
The Skyhawks didn’t help themselves by all the penalties (10 for 102 yards) and turning the ball over 6 times (2 fumbles and 4 interceptions), but they still managed to put up 362 total yards. That could be a troubling to a Broncos defense that gave up 592 yards last week to Washington and was ranked as one of the best in the nation last year.
But on this day, Boise State is just going celebrate the win. Granted, UT-Martin is not the Washington Huskies, but it was a badly needed blowout against a very good team by a bruised Boise program in need a little mojo.
Next up for the Broncos, the Air Force Falcons next Friday at 6 PM MT on The Blue.