The Fresno State Bulldogs (6-7, 5-3 MW) were in Boise, Idaho Saturday night to take home their third consecutive Mountain West Conference Championship. Instead they lost for the second time this season to the #22 ranked Boise State Broncos (11-2, 7-1 MW). It was the first outright conference championship for the Broncos since winning the Western Athletic Conference Championship in 2009.
Fresno State had a rugged start from the beginning. Bulldog QB Brian Burrell threw two interceptions in the first quarter and the Bulldogs were held scoreless in the first half. Boise State looked like they were going to run away with it when QB Grant Hedrick scrambled into the end zone with a 20 yard run on their first drive. The Broncos went on to score two more touchdowns in the first half. One was a score by Tanner Vallejo on 63-yard interception return and the other a 9-yard run by RB Jay Ajayi late in the second quarter. They went in at the half up 21-0.
Boise State scored first in the second half on another run by Hedrick that went 21-yards for the score. It was the last points the Broncos would put on the scoreboard. That was when the Fresno State offense started moving the chains. Burrell drove the Bulldogs 96 yards on 19 plays to finally get on the scoreboard with a 2-yard run by Josh Quezada with 3 minutes 18 seconds left in the third quarter. That drive took 8 minutes, 10 seconds off the clock. The Bulldogs scored a second time on a 25-yard pass to WR Greg Watson from Burrell with 5 minutes, 31 seconds left in the game. On their final possession of the game, Burrell was intercepted by Broncos DE Beau Martin and that ended any chance of Fresno State completing a comeback.
Fresno State had 332 yards passing and rolled up 402 yards of total offense compared to 303 total yards for Boise State. It was the fewest yards by the Broncos since the UConn game back on September 13. The major factor in keeping the Broncos corralled was the Bulldogs being able to stop Boise State star running back Jay Ajayi. He was held to just 70 yards.
Boise State QB Grant Hedrick was named the offensive MVP of the game. He completed 9 of 16 passing attempts for 155 yards, and ran for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Broncos LB Tanner Vallejo took home the defensive MVP honors. He had 13 tackles and an interception return for a touchdown.
Next up for the Broncos: a tense wait to see if they will be the G5 pick for a New Year’s Six bowl.