The Boise State Broncos (8-2, 5-1 Mountain West) outscored the San Diego State Aztecs (5-5, 3-3 Mountain West) 38-9 over the last 37:33 of the game to win 38-29 tonight in the 9-degree Boise air.
We knew this would be a battle of the Bronco offense against the Aztec defense tonight, and Rocky Long's defense handily won the battle in the first quarter. Boise State gained only 27 yards in the first and held the ball for just 2:56, while SDSU's offense scored 10 points on a 41-yard field goal and a 32-yard touchdown run from Donnel Pumphrey.
The Broncos slowly wore down SDSU's defense for the rest of the game, though, out-possessing the Aztecs 27:02 to 17:58 for quarters two through four.
Running back Jay Ajayi especially turned on his jets as the game progressed. He ran for just four yards in the first quarter, but finished the game with 134 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries.
Lining up opposite of Ajayi was SDSU running back Donnel Pumphrey, who entered tonight's game with the sixth-most rushing yards of all FBS backs. Pumphrey had another stellar night, netting 147 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. But even he didn't play as well in the second half, gaining just 58 yards opposed to 89 in the first half.
Neither quarterback dazzled the slowly dwindling Boise State crowd tonight. SDSU's Quinn Kaehler completed 17 of 29 passes for 173 yards, one touchdown and a crucial interception deep in SDSU territory early in the fourth quarter. That interception led to a Bronco touchdown that put the boys from Boise up 24-23.
Boise State's Grant Hedrick completed 19 of 28 passes for 187 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions which led to 7 SDSU points. Hedrick's legs looked fantastic, however, as he ran 11 times for 41 yards and the game-clinching touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
SDSU started this game on fire, like it's done in most games this year. But -- like it's also done all year -- SDSU lost momentum as the game wore on, while the Broncos surged ahead. Boise State showed why it's been the best scoring offense in the country since 2000.
SDSU hosts Air Force next Friday at 6:30 p.m. Pacific Time. Boise State travels to Wyoming next Saturday for another late game at 8:15 p.m. Mountain Time.