It wasn’t pretty, but the Broncos were able to leave Fort Collins with a narrow 31-24 victory to go undefeated in conference play for their first time since joining the Mountain West. This isn’t the most talented Bronco team, but it might be the most resilient Boise State team. The Broncos once again survived a scare and made plays when they needed to. Let’s take a look at my keys to the game and see how they turned out for the Broncos.
How healthy are the Broncos heading into the championship game?
Jaylon Henderson once again started for the Broncos and it is starting to look like he may very well finish out the season as the starting quarterback. This was the first game with Henderson at quarterback where you could tell that Boise State missed the arm strength of Bachmeier.
The Broncos were also without safety Jordan Happle, cornerback Markel Reed, and offensive lineman Eric Quevedo. Hopefully these were all precautionary and Boise State will be closer to full strength for the championship game.
Can Boise State avoid a letdown?
Barely, it seemed like Boise State took a safe approach and it was effective in the first half. The Broncos could not get any pressure on O’Brien until a late David Moa sack halted a promising drive for the Rams. With that being said, the Broncos have overcome a lot this year, with so many key players facing injuries and relying heavily on young talent on offense.
Will George Holani be the next Bronco to break the 1,000 yard barrier?
Colorado State focused on stopping the run and it was effective. Boise State had one of their worst rushing performances of the year and George Holani managed only 42 yards on 18 carries. With the potential for some bad weather next weekend, Boise State will need to get their run game going and control the clock against a potent Hawaii offense.
Who will be this week’s unsung hero?
Easy choice this week, Khalil Shakir made a ton of huge catches for the Broncos and was a key target for Henderson on third down. Shakir finished the game with 7 receptions for 103 yards.
Will there be any 28-3 leads (or 35-10 for that matter)?
Nope, this game never got out of hand on either end and it came down to the final minutes.
My Prediction: I predicted a 38-17 win for the Broncos. Boise State’s banged up defense struggled to establish a pass rush and slow down the tandem of wide receiver Warren Jackson and tight end Trey McBride. However, two key turnovers and solid ball control allowed the Broncos to come away with the 31-24 victory. Boise State finishes the regular season with an 11-1 record and go an undefeated 8-0 in conference play. Boise State will host Hawaii in the Mountain West Conference Championship Game.