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Boise State squanders 17-point lead, loses at Memphis 35-32

Coaching blunders took the spotlight for the Broncos, along with a QB change that could haunt this team for years to come.

Boise State v New Mexico Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

Something’s not right at Boise State.

The Mountain West powerhouse led by three possessions on a humid Saturday afternoon against a fellow G5 institution.

I was fortunate enough to attend this game live, but I can tell you one thing.

No Bronco fan that I was around was declaring the game over in the 2nd quarter.

Rather, it was “Hope we can hold on” and “Don’t know how long the defense can keep this up”.

It was sad.

And yet, these comments full of pessimism and gloom were proven right when the clock hit triple zeroes.

Scoring Timeline

1st Quarter

6:09 - 19-yard field goal by Jonah Dalmas

Boise State 3 - Memphis 0

2nd Quarter

11:41 - 8-yard TD run by Ashton Jeanty (Jonah Dalmas PAT)

Boise State 10 - Memphis 0

6:17 - 1-yard TD run by Ashton Jeanty (Jonah Dalmas PAT)

Boise State 17 - Memphis 0

5:00 - 19-yard TD pass from Seth Henigan to Roc Taylor (Tanner Gillis PAT)

Boise State 17 - Memphis 7

0:27 - 5-yard TD run by Blake Watson (Tanner Gillis PAT)

Boise State 17 - Memphis 14

3rd Quarter

1:43 - 80-yard return of blocked field goal by Geoffrey Cantin-Arku (Tanner Gillis PAT)

Boise State 17 - Memphis 21

4th Quarter

11:16 - 59-yard TD pass from Seth Henigan to Demeer Blankumsee (Tanner Gillis PAT)

Boise State 17 - Memphis 28

8:54 - 15-yard TD pass from Maddux Madsen to Ashton Jeanty (2-point conversion successful via pass from Maddux Madsen to Stefan Cobbs)

Boise State 25 - Memphis 28

2:16 - 1-yard TD run by Blake Watson (Tanner Gillis PAT)

Boise State 25 - Memphis 35

0:39 - 7-yard TD pass from Maddux Madsen to Ashton Jeanty (Jonah Dalmas PAT)

Boise State 32 - Memphis 35




By The Numbers

  • One Bronco quarterback completed 50% of his passes and didn’t notch a single touchdown.

The other attempted ten less passes, yet, nearly matched the total passing yards of player number one. He also found the endzone twice.

I can’t believe we are having this discussion again, but Boise State has a quarterback controversy midway through the season.

  • Ashton Jeanty had a pedestrian day compared to his previous performances, but he still finished with 135 all-purpose yards and accounted for all four of Boise State’s touchdowns (two rushing and two receiving). The only other running back to receive a touch was Jambres Dubar, but he was only given one carry that resulted for 11 yards. Green used his legs a little bit, but not to the extreme that some hope for.
  • The receiving stats for the Boise State receivers are bit inflated, but Eric McAlister, Billy Bowens and Stefan Cobbs all finished with respectable outings (98, 89 and 49 yards, respectively.
  • With starting tight end Riley Smith out, Matt Lauter took over TE1 and made the most of it. He had three catches, including a 59-yard reception that is the longest by a Boise State tight end since Jeb Putzier’s 80-yard TD against San Jose State on November 17th, 2001.
  • The defense, frankly, didn’t have any major statistics that jump out at you from an individual perspective. Ahmed Hassenein and Mike Callahan were both able to register a sack, so that’s something.
  • On special teams, the obvious blackeye is the blocked field goal in the third quarter that led to Memphis returning it for a touchdown and taking the lead for the first time. Jonah Dalmas converted his other attempt from 19 yards out and James Ferguson-Reynolds did his job, averaging 44.8 yards a punt with a long of 58.

The Eye Test

The Offense

It looked so good for the first 24 minutes.

Then, it just stopped.

There was no significant change to blame or directly attribute the stagnation towards.

However, things took a turn from bad to worse with a shade under two minutes left in the third quarter.

With a 4th-and-1 inside the redzone, Andy Avalos initially elected to go for it. Taylen Green checked the defensive formation and just as he was about to receive the snap, Avalos rushed to the sideline judge to take a timeout. Following this, Avalos changed his mind and sent Jonah Dalmas out to kick a chip-shot field goal.

A blown protection let a Memphis Tiger break through and get a hand on the kick. A long and winding return put an exclamation point on a ten-point swing that felt like the death knell for the Broncos.

After Memphis would score again to go up 11, backup QB Maddux Madsen jogged onto the field instead of Green.

With nearly an entire quarter of football to be played.

Taylen Green wouldn’t see the field for the rest of the game.

Madsen shined in his limited role and led Boise State down the field twice to keep the Broncos within arm’s reach in case the defense could come up with a stop. Alas, they did not.

Andy Avalos didn’t trust his 6-6 QB and superstar running back to pick up one yard and to add on to that, he took his starting quarterback out with the game still in reach.

He didn’t trust Taylen Green and the offense to get the job done when it mattered most.

Now, the season has been thrown into flux with a starting quarterback position vacant ahead of their game with San Jose State.

The Defense

Credit to the defense for starting out strong and shutting out the Tigers for as long as they did.

But one leak in the dam caused the entire structure to collapse.

The secondary is getting cooked and the defensive line can’t produce any semblance of a pass rush.

Blame for these consistent weaknesses has to go not only to defensive coordinator Spencer Danielson, but Andy Avalos as well. When your head coach has an extensive defensive background like Avalos, you expect that unit to be a source of pride and not tolerance.

The transfers that were brought in to shore up key positions have come up flat and it shows on the field.

The Special Teams

The one mistake made was a big one, no doubt.

However, the decision-making prior to that kick was begging for a negative result to occur.

Other than that, special teams didn’t make many waves, positive or negative.

James Ferguson-Reynolds should be a Ray Guy finalist this year.

That’s fun.

Going Forward

Boise State sits at 2-3 for the second time in the last three years.

The last time the Broncos started a season 2-4?


As always, we will keep you posted on any roster news and quarterback updates when we get them.

What were your takeaways from the game? Let us know in the comments down below!