There was not a regular season game in the Mountain West that had bigger implications than the showdown between Boise State and Utah State. The winner was guaranteed a spot in the Mountain West Championship, where they would take on Fresno State. The game was an offensive explosion, with both teams missing opportunities and turnovers playing a major factor. The schedule lined up perfectly for this game, as it was the last week of the regular season. Let’s revisit the good, bad, and ugly moments of this Mountain Division showdown.
I’m not sure if there was a running back in the country that did more during the last quarter of the season than Alexander Mattison. Mattison put the Broncos on his back in the second half, carrying the ball a total of 37 times for 200 yards and three touchdowns. There is no question that Mattison deserved the game ball. He also had a 59 yard run that essentially decided the game.
Who doesn’t love a good hurdle?
Rypien was solid and efficient the entire game. He did an excellent job throwing the ball downfield. He completed 23 of 32 passes for 310 yards and a touchdown. This was a game that showcased Rypien’s growth this season. He did an excellent job of using the run to set up the pass and did not force any passes.
Utah State made it clear from the beginning that they were going to try to beat the Broncos through the air. It was effective for the most part. Love did not have to make a lot of difficult throws in this game. The Aggies relied heavily on their quick passing game. Love finished the game completing a respectable 29 of 47 passes for 363 yards and added three touchdowns and one interception. While Love had great numbers, he struggled throwing the ball downfield.
The Utah State Run Game
The Aggies basically had the mindset that they were not going to use their run game more than they had to. They only rushed the ball 19 times for 62 yards. The lack of an effective run game haunted the Aggie offense after the first possession when they struggled to move the ball.
Both kickers missed crucial kicks, and both teams struggled with finishing possessions in opponent’s territory. The two teams combined for 934 yards of total offense; you would think it would have been a higher scoring contest.
Both quarterbacks had their way against the opposing secondaries. For Utah State, they had not faced a quarterback of Rypien’s caliber this season, and it showed. For the Broncos, their lack of size and the absence of multiple members of the secondary (Pierce and Nawahine were both out) made it difficult to stop the dynamic Aggie receivers.
Stay tuned next week, as I will be analyzing the week zero showdown between Colorado State and Hawaii.