The Black Friday matchup looked to be a blowout early in the game as Taylen Green marched the Broncos down the field for three straight touchdowns in the 2nd quarter.
However, injuries began to pile up and a few big plays gave Utah State life heading into the 4th quarter.
The Aggies were down five and had driven to the Boise State 14-yard line with 1:33 left.
Similar to last week against Wyoming, Andy Avalos and crew needed one last stop to remain undefeated in Mountain West play.
Redshirt sophomore EDGE Gabe Hunter stepped up, snatching the ball with one hand and securing the interception.
For fun, on the ensuing drive that was supposed to run the clock out, Green turned into a track star as he kept a read option and strode for a 91-yard touchdown. That was the longest run from scrimmage in Boise State history.
Yeah, not too bad for a redshirt freshman!
Seyi Oladipo got in on the action as well, taking a garbage time interception to the house that not only made the score line look better, but allowed the Broncos to cover the 16.5-point spread.
Viva Las Vegas.
2nd Quarter (14:17) - 6-yard pass from QB Taylen Green to WR Eric McAlister (Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 7 - Utah State 0
2nd Quarter (10:54) - 50-yard pass from QB Taylen Green to WR Latrell Caples (Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 14 - Utah State 0
2nd Quarter (4:37) - 25-yard pass from QB Taylen Green to WR Eric McAlister (Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 21 - Utah State 0
2nd Quarter (0:00) - 3-yard run by WR Terrell Vaughn (Coles PAT)
Boise State 21 - Utah State 7
3rd Quarter (10:22) - 22-yard field goal by K Connor Coles
Boise State 21 - Utah State 10
3rd Quarter (5:59) - 1-yard pass from QB Taylen Green to DL Scott Matlock (Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 28 - Utah State 10
3rd Quarter (0:10) - 75-yard pass from QB Cooper Legas to WR Terrell Vaughn (Coles PAT)
Boise State 28 - Utah State 17
4th Quarter (7:59) - 8-yard run by RB Calvin Tyler Jr. (2-Point Conversion Failed)
Boise State 28 - Utah State 23
4th Quarter (1:09) - 91-yard run by QB Taylen Green (Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 35 - Utah State 23
4th Quarter (0:31) - 48-yard interception return by S Seyi Oladipo (Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 42 - Utah State 23
BOISE STATE BRONCOS 42 - UTAH STATE AGGIES 23
- Taylen Green put on a masterclass showing with his arm and his legs. Totaling 300 yards, five touchdowns, and zero turnovers is the type of outing that can carry Boise State to wins. Not to mention, his QB rating came out to be 198.6, the highest of his career.
- While the run game wasn’t stymied, the Broncos were forced to earn it on the ground. George Holani and Ashton Jeanty combined for 117 yards and an average of 3.9 yards per carry. Holani did exit the game in the second half due to an apparent shoulder injury. So far, the only update we have is head coach Andy Avalos saying that he was a bit banged up, but he should be a go for the Mountain West championship.
- This was one of the best performances by the receiving corps this season. Eric McAlister brought in two touchdown catches and Latrell Caples added on another. Both look to have bright futures on The Blue as they are both still underclassmen (redshirt freshman and redshirt sophomore, respectively). Billy Bowens hauled in a 41-yard pass and “Big Red” Scott Matlock rekindled his affinity for the endzone, tracking a lofty pass from Green to the corner for a touchdown.
- Interestingly, tight end Matt Lauter made his second appearance this season and played well. The redshirt freshman caught three passes for 38 yards and was the only tight end to impact the stat sheet.
- Defensively, DJ Schramm and Andrew Simpson wreaked havoc in the backfield, accounting for 5.5 tackles-for-loss and 17 solo tackles. Simpson, Scott Matlock, and Jackson Cravens all contributed to the sack total of two.
- Both Gabe Hunter and Seyi Oladipo had to step up with injuries to Tyreque Jones and Ezekiel Noa, among others. The pair of young Broncos made plays when it mattered most with two interceptions to close out the game. The loss of JL Skinner to targeting in the first half was iffy at best, but he will get one final chance to play on The Blue for a championship ring.
- Kaden Dudley has been a nice spark plug as the kick returner. While he only returned two kickoffs Friday, he still managed to average 26.4 yards per return and had a long of 37. That extra 5-10 yards can make more of a difference than many realize.
- Punter James Ferguson-Reynolds had an up-and-down game, averaging 35 yards on his punts. However, none of them were catastrophic and he did pin the Aggies inside their own 20 three times.
- Kicker Jonah Dalmas got to have a leisurely afternoon as he was only called on to convert six extra points.
- The more and more this season has progressed, we have seen Andy Avalos begin to show more flare and emotion on the sideline. We still have to remind ourselves that this is only his second season being a head coach. He’s figuring it out and reestablishing the culture that has defined Boise State for over 20 years.
The regular season has come to a close and despite a turbulent start, the Broncos managed to win seven of their last eight and go undefeated in Mountain West play for only the second time since joining in 2011. The offensive firepower of the future is bright with Taylen Green, Ashton Jeanty, Eric McAlister and Latrell Caples.
The Broncos are ahead of schedule, no doubt.
Everything that Boise State has worked for, from spring camp to this past Friday’s win, led them to here.
Hosting the Mountain West championship against rival Fresno State.
There’s not anything much better than that.
Enjoy it, Bronco nation.
Look for a preview of the Mountain West showdown between Boise State and Fresno State to be posted Friday.
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