In his first game as a head coach, Spencer Danielson emphasized that for these next two weeks, the team’s focus would solely be on Utah State and Air Force.
Whatever happens after that, they will deal with.
The noise, coaching search, transfer portal...all just that.
The Broncos waltzed into Maverik Stadium and, despite a slow start, kicked it into the highest gear we have seen this season, going on a 45-0 run.
Other Mountain West results that occurred within the last 24 hours could make Thanksgiving weekend one to remember.
5:45 - 57-yard TD pass from Cooper Legas to Jalen Royals (Elliott Nimrod PAT)
Boise State 0 - Utah State 7
14:55 - 34-yard field goal by Elliott Nimrod
Boise State 0 - Utah State 10
14:43 - 75-yard TD run by George Holani (Jonah Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 7 - Utah State 10
14:30 - 26-yard TD pass from Taylen Green to Matt Lauter (Jonah Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 14 - Utah State 10
6:27 - 33-yard TD run by George Holani (Jonah Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 21 - Utah State 10
3:59 - 2-yard TD pass from Taylen Green to Matt Lauter (Jonah Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 28 - Utah State 10
0:00 - 44-yard field goal by Jonah Dalmas
Boise State 31 - Utah State 10
10:34 - 5-yard TD run by Ashton Jeanty (Jonah Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 38 - Utah State 10
6:03 - 10-yard TD run by Jambres Dubar (Jonah Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 45 - Utah State 10
BOISE STATE BRONCOS 45
UTAH STATE AGGIES 10
By The Numbers
- Taylen Green was the lone ranger at QB and while he didn’t throw for an obscene amount of yards (93), he did toss two touchdowns to tight end Matt Lauter.
- The running game was dynamite, to say the least. The trio of George Holani, Ashton Jeanty and Jambres Dubar combined for an absurd 320 yards and four touchdowns. In fact, Holani tied his career-high of 178 yards with an average of 11.9 yards per carry.
Add on to that a career-long run of 75 yards and Holani was cooking with fish grease in Logan.
- Ok, the wide receivers didn’t have an explosive night. However, they were getting open frequently and opportunities were aplenty early on. Prince Strachan led the group, but he only had 31 yards.
- At tight end, Matt Lauter was absolutely phenomenal with his run-blocking and his ability to get open. Taylen Green did not ignore this, finding the freshman for two scores.
- On defense, it was a sack party.
The Broncos found their way to the quarterback nine times, a single-game record for the program since it joined the FBS in 1996.
Both Ahmed Hassenein and Ty Benefield led the squad with two sacks each.
Braxton Fely forced two fumbles and Boise State was able to recover both during timely situations.
With two additional interceptions by A’Marion McCoy and Rodney Robinson, a plus four turnover margin helped immensely.
The Eye Test
What we saw Saturday was the potential that Bronco fans have talked about when Holani, Jeanty, Green and Dubar are all healthy.
Would it be nice to throw the ball a little more?
But, when you’re running for 352 yards and four touchdowns, there is no reason to stray away from the ground and pound attack.
Bush Hamdan’s unit played with a bit more tempo and it did the trick. The offensive coordinator called a heck of a game and is scheming guys open like crazy.
It was a bit rocky to start, giving up ten points in the opening quarter and change. However, a forced fumble early in the second quarter turned the tide and any momentum the Aggies had.
After that, it was full steam ahead.
It may sound like an excuse or something insignificant, but the energy exuded by the defense was something we have yet to see this season.
You don’t break single-game records with standard effort.
To hold a team scoreless for three quarters, there has to be a continuous focus and drive to finish the game. We have seen in previous weeks that this is not a given.
Saturday night, they finished and it showed on a 4th down in the redzone where Boise State could have let up since the game was over.
Instead, all Bronco staff and players zeroed their attention towards that play.
Boise State held them.
Spencer Danielson pumped his fist in the air not because of the win, but because his guys fought for all four quarters until the clock struck triple zeroes.
The Special Teams
Jonah Dalmas aced his exam, nailing his lone field goal attempt and converting all six PAT attempts.
James Ferguson-Reynolds only had one miscue happen where the Aggies were able to get a hand on a punt as it left his foot. Otherwise, another workmanlike performance for the Aussie.
Spencer Danielson’s Debut
I have been thoroughly impressed with Spencer Danielson throughout this entire week. He has flipped the switch on the program and these players.
Giving the players an extra hour to spend with family, being transparent with the media when it comes to injuries, and preaching the love that everyone has for their fellow Bronco in the locker room.
He has pressed all the right buttons so far.
The most poignant moment of Saturday’s win came when the result went final. As the coaches prepared to meet at midfield, dozens of Broncos surrounded Danielson and showered him with a Gatorade bath, celebrating his first win as a head coach. Hugs were abound and players hyped him up like few other times that I can recall.
The players made a statement tonight.— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) November 19, 2023
They LOVE Spencer Danielson.
They dumped Gatorade on him, then just swarmed him during a live interview on national television.
Pretty game cool… pic.twitter.com/5tS0s1VB71
In the CBS postgame interview, his players enveloped him with cheers and the postgame locker room environment was euphoric.
The crazy part?
Thanks to the New Mexico Lobos beating Fresno State late Saturday night, Boise State has a legit and realistic shot at making the MWC championship game.
The stars are aligning for Spencer Danielson and this team to rise like a phoenix and fight their way to one of the most improbable finishes in program history.
What needs to happen, you may ask?
Mountain West Championship Scenarios
Multiple reporters and journalists scoured and attempted to dissect the tiebreaker rules in place, but we finally received clarity later Sunday.
There are four teams that are fighting for a spot at the table in UNLV (6-1), Air Force (5-2), Boise State (5-2) and San Jose State (5-2).
For Boise State, the easiest and most simple way for them to clinch a spot in the title game is as follows:
Boise State defeats Air Force
UNLV defeats San Jose State
This would prevent any tiebreakers from coming into play as the Broncos would travel to Las Vegas to play UNLV.
However, the second and only other scenario that would still allow Boise State to reach the championship game is:
Boise State defeats Air Force
San Jose State defeats UNLV
In this situation, the three-way tiebreaker would come into play due to UNLV not playing Boise State in the regular season.
This means the computer rankings would dictate who plays the first weekend of December and who is left at the altar.
Based on the most current numbers we have now, UNLV looks like a shoe-in regardless of what happens this weekend as they would have the highest ranking of the three teams. Where it gets interesting is what places BSU and SJSU fall. Right now, Boise State is around six points ahead of the Spartans. However, a win against a quality UNLV team may propel Brent Brennan’s group ahead.
Regardless, Boise State needs to win Friday afternoon for the rest of this to matter.
There has been no news on the coaching search front and I wouldn’t expect anything to leak before Friday’s game. Athletic director Jeramiah Dickey is doing his due diligence and he is not going to be involved in a messy and disorganized search.
The good news that came with the Utah State win is that the Broncos have officially extended their bowl eligibility streak to 26 straight seasons. This is second only to national power Georgia (27 seasons).
Enjoy this next week, folks.
“The energy has shifted” - Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
What were your takeaways from the game?
Let us know in the comments down below!