Boise State came into the game against Colorado State on a short week for the second week in a row. Around an hour before kickoff it was announced that 14 players were unavailable due to positive COVID tests or COVID-related quarantine. It was revealed that the Broncos only dressed five defensive linemen (and had to convert an offensive lineman for depth). None of it mattered. The return of Hank Bachmeier, a historic night on special teams, and a bounce back effort from the defense was more than enough to dispatch the Rams.
The game was never close. By the end of the first quarter Boise State had already returned two blocked kicks for touchdowns and had a 21 – 0 lead. After another blocked kick returned for a touchdown late in the second quarter, the Broncos headed to the locker room with a 42 – 7 lead. It was a satisfying performance out of Boise State after the debacle on The Blue six days earlier.
The scoring was fast and furious for the Broncos. After forcing a Colorado State three-and-out on the game’s opening drive, Avery Williams blocked the punt attempt and recovered for the score:
On the very next drive, another three-and-out, Boise State got fancy on special teams when Williams lateralled the ball Kekaula Kaniho on the opposite side of the field. It worked, but Kaniho fumbled the ball at the Rams 15-yard line. Colorado State took over and preceded to go three-and-out for the third consecutive possession.
Boise State finally got an offensive possession and drove the field on a 10-play drive capped off with a touchdown pass from Bachmeier to Riley Smith:
First career TD for Riley Smith!! 14-0 Broncos. pic.twitter.com/anilDGKkl1— Boise Edits (@boise_edits) November 13, 2020
After trading punts, the Boise State special teams’ unit was back at it. Kaniho redeemed himself from the earlier fumble by returning a blocked field goal for a 91-yard touchdown:
Boise State (-14) extends their lead to 21-0 after Kekaula Kaniho returns the blocked FG to the HOUSE!!! pic.twitter.com/8zySkMscYo— Al Webb (@alwebb22) November 13, 2020
Boise State had two more 10-play scoring drives in the half, both ending with Andrew Van Buren 1-yard touchdown runs. Then, ridiculously, Boise State scored their third special teams’ touchdown of the half after Avery Williams blocked his second punt and DJ Schramm returned it for his first touchdown as a Bronco.
The scoring slowed down for the Broncos in the second half. Boise State added a field goal and scored one touchdown over the final 30 minutes. The touchdown was notable because it was scored by offensive lineman Nick Crabtree. The former tight end showed off his hands and turned a potential fumble into the Broncos lone touchdown of the second half:
The Boise State offense had a good night, but they didn’t have a whole lot of opportunities. In the eight drives that they were trying to score (and were playing mostly starters), they scored four touchdowns and kicked a field goal. On the other three drives they went three-and-out with a combined -8 yards. The flow of the game didn’t help (CSU had 16 drives to BSUs 11), but the Broncos had a successful night on offense and didn’t turn the ball over while scoring 31 points. A solid B+ effort.
The Bronco defensive rebounded well after a poor showing against BYU. They were prepared, focused, and fired up. They opened the game forcing five straight punts, and it was 21 – 0 after the first quarter. The Rams went on to score 21 points and outgained the Broncos, but the flow of the game and the “eye-test” always favored the Boise State defense. Colorado State was a dismal 1 – 15 on third downs and struggled to get anything going outside of two touchdown drives (the third touchdown came on a short field). As with the offense, it was a rock-solid performance out of the defense.
Special Teams: A
If your special team’s unit scores three touchdowns it can’t get any lower than an A grade. It would have been an A+, but the unit had two fumbles (one that led to a touchdown). Still, it was an incredible performance for the special teams’ unit. They blocked two punts and a field goal and retuned them all for touchdowns. Plus, Boise State remained perfect on the year on both field goals and extra-points.
Boise State travels to Hawaii to face the 2 – 2 Rainbow Warriors. Hawaii has had an up-and-down year, beating Fresno State and New Mexico and dropping games to Wyoming and San Diego State. The Broncos are 14.5-point favorites.