Nothing in life is guaranteed, except death, taxes, and the occasional Fast and Furious movie.
Vin Diesel is a very lucky man.
Usually, a loss on the Broncos' blue turf was on that list. If you were an opposing team, and were heading into Albertsons Stadium, you probably were going to lose. Since 1999, Boise State had only lost 3 times at home. If this was 1980's wrestling, the Broncos were like the Road Warriors, physically dominating their opponent with an array of offensive punch and efficient defensive prowess.
On Saturday night, the Road Warriors met their match.
New Mexico, who were 30 point underdogs heading into the game, used their Triple Option offense to perfection, rushing for 195 yards, including 132 from Jhurrell Pressley, who had an amazing 80 yard touchdown run on the second play of New Mexico's offensive drive to help beat Boise State 31-24 and send the Broncos to only their fourth loss at home in 17 seasons. It was a game that the bookies in Vegas were probably reaching for their blood pressure medicine afterwards.
It was a shock to say the least.
Not only did the Broncos have a tough time stopping the run, but they also dropped a bunch of balls. Just when it looked like Brett Rypien had his receiver in prime position, they would drop it. Chaz Anderson had a couple of opportunities to catch some important receptions, but couldn't hold on to the football. It was the weirdest thing. Thomas Sperbeck had an amazing game with over 200 yards receiving, but it looked like the Broncos were trying everything and anything to get that ball into the end zone. But whether it was New Mexico's defense, or things just not jelling on the offensive side of the football, it took a while for the Broncos to make it a ball game.
Boise State coach Bryan Harsin told the Idaho Statesman that the dropped balls were a major reason why the Broncos couldn't get into a groove.
"Didn’t expect the amount of dropped balls we had ... on the offensive side, the opportunities in the red zone, we didn’t take advantage of that," Harsin said.
The problem isn't that Boise State is a bad team. They are an excellent team with a bunch of weapons that can beat you at any time. The issue has to do with the Mountain West being ultra competitive this year. The Broncos are good. San Diego State is solid. Air Force is excellent. New Mexico is much improved. Nevada looks like they might be on the right track. Utah State has shown flashes of being really good. Colorado State has enough talent on their team to make a bowl game this year.
This is a conference full of parity.
Harsin and the Broncos know this, and will look to bounce back this Friday night against a very good Air Force team, who showed they were for real Saturday against Utah State. They rushed for 309 yards in that game, and wide receiver Jalen Robinette had 210 yards catching on the day, the most by a Air Force receiver since 1978. The Broncos know that if they are going to win this game, they are going to have to learn from their mistakes last week, and try to stop an Air Force running game that is similar to that of New Mexico.
Quarterback Brett Rypien told the Statesman he needs to take on a bigger leadership role if the Broncos are to win out.
"We need to be better as an offense as a whole and I need to be better," Rypien said. "It starts with me. ... Whether that’s in practice or in the film room, there’s little things that we have to do out there that need to be better in order for us to get wins consistently and just be better on offense consistently."
Air Force can not only beat you on the ground, but their defense is not too shabby either. Right now, they have the 26th ranked defense in college football, giving up just 19.8 points per game. Rypien will have to make his fluid passing count and that means the receivers will have to do a better job of catching the ball because this Air Force team will come at you with everything but the kitchen sink.
It's going to be a battle of wills and could result in a high scoring affair. If you are going to the game, you can bet that there will be a lot of exciting football to be played. And tickets will be discounted due to 20 Seniors playing in the game. The Broncos are selling tickets for $20 in sections 120-122. If you get a chance, come out and watch what will truly be a memorable game.
For Boise State, it could erase memories of last week's shocker.