The 2014 Boise State football team took a long time to find their identity. The early season results were mixed, and it was rare that the offense and defense played well at the same time. Their game against Nevada was the perfect example of a team that was plagued by inconsistency. This game was one between old WAC rivals, but this contest was most definitely one of the greatest in Mountain West history. Let’s revisit the good, bad, and ugly moments from Boise State’s 51-46 victory over Nevada.
Outside of one costly pick six, Hedrick was nearly perfect in this game. He completed 26 of 31 passes for 346 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 40 yards and another touchdown on the ground. This was the game where Hedrick finally found his groove and took the BSU offense to the next level.
Ajayi was far and away the MVP of this 2014 squad. He had another great performance against a solid Nevada squad. After early struggles, Ajayi was able to bounce back with a great second half performance. He finished the game with 27 carries for 152 yards and three touchdowns. Another great performance in what most Boise State fans consider the greatest season by any Boise State running back.
Darian Thompson/Tyler Gray
Thompson came away with two interceptions, and Tyler Gray had a momentum shifting pick six. Every turnover was crucial, because Boise State could not stop the Nevada offense otherwise. Donte Deayon also joined the party with an interception of his own. The four picks were enough to give the offense the support they needed to come away with a victory.
Henderson consistently took advantage of Boise State’s undersized secondary. Henderson constantly out-muscled Donte Deayon and Johnathan Moxey for jump balls. He bailed Fajardo out on multiple occasions. 7 catches for 141 yards was a great performance, but not good enough for the Wolf Pack to come away with the victory.
Seau kept the Wolf Pack in this game. His pick six off of Grant Hedrick kept the Broncos from pulling away and nearly led to a comeback.
There are very few games that I look back and say that the quarterback won the game for the opposing team; this was almost one of those. As great as Fajardo was at times, his four interceptions were puzzling. He had plenty of time in the pocket and seemed to force things at times. I think you could make a case for putting Fajardo in any of these categories. He did finish the game 306 yards passing and 71 yards rushing. But those numbers were not enough to overcome his costly turnovers.
Boise State’s Defensive Line
The Broncos gave Nevada too much time to operate on offense. Inconsistent pass pressure gave Fajardo plenty of time to make plays. When I look back at the 2014 season, this defensive line struggled more than other years. This team won despite the play of their defensive line, not because of it. Luckily, the offense hit their stride and the defense did just enough.
Nevada’s Play Calling
The Wolf Pack were overly aggressive late in the first half and it proved to be costly. They also abandoned a run game that was solid for the most part. On the defensive side of the ball, they stuffed the box early in the game and were able to limit Ajayi. But this allowed Hedrick to find his groove in the passing game, a groove that ultimately carried the Broncos to a conference championship game and a Fiesta Bowl victory.
This was the most important regular season game of the 2014 season. The Broncos found their identity on offense and it was the first of nine consecutive wins for Boise State.
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Next week, we will be continuing our coverage of the greatest games in Mountain West history.