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Boise State gets in its own way again, suffers 5th loss via Fresno State 37-30

The Broncos found yet another way to squander a winnable game.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 22 Boise State at San Diego State Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The higher the rise, the steeper the fall.

After a near-perfect performance against Wyoming, all the problems and negative trends that had latched onto the Broncos this season reappeared.

While they were in striking distance, Boise State was never able to close the gap and now, the program needs to win two of its last three to reach bowl eligibility.

That’s where we are at.

Scoring Timeline

1st Quarter

12:11 - 25-yard TD pass from Mikey Keene to Tre Watson (Dylan Lynch PAT)

Boise State 0 - Fresno State 7

7:30 - 48-yard field goal by Dylan Lynch

Boise State 0 - Fresno State 10

2:16 - 45-yard field goal by Jonah Dalmas

Boise State 3 - Fresno State 10

2nd Quarter

7:15 - 22-yard field goal by Dylan Lynch

Boise State 3 - Fresno State 13

0:07 - 2-yard TD pass from Maddux Madsen to Billy Bowens (Jonah Dalmas PAT)

Boise State 10 - Fresno State 13

0:00 - 95-yard Kickoff Return TD by Malik Sherrod (Dylan Lynch PAT)

Boise State 10 - Fresno State 20

3rd Quarter

6:31 - 1-yard TD run by Elijah Gilliam (Dylan Lynch PAT)

Boise State 10 - Fresno State 27

3:35 - 1-yard TD run by George Holani (Jonah Dalmas PAT)

Boise State 17 - Fresno State 27

4th Quarter

12:42 - 38-yard field goal by Jonah Dalmas

Boise State 20 - Fresno State 27

10:00 - 24-yard field goal by Dylan Lynch

Boise State 20 - Fresno State 30

4:40 - 27-yard TD run by Maddux Madsen (Jonah Dalmas PAT)

Boise State 27 - Fresno State 30

1:49 - 52-yard TD run by Malik Sherrod (Dylan Lynch PAT)

Boise State 27 - Fresno State 37

0:31 - 52-yard field goal by Jonah Dalmas

Boise State 30 - Fresno State 37




By The Numbers

  • Maddux Madsen (22/42, 258 yds) had an OK day under center. While he did only throw one interception, the running fan count on Twitter (or X) was that there should have been a handful of throws intercepted. This was by far his worst performance in 2023, yet he still gave the Broncos a shot at the end.

Taylen Green had as many completions as punter James Ferguson-Reynolds, so that’s something.

  • With Ashton Jeanty out and not making the trip to Fresno, George Holani (19 carries, 79 yds and 1 TD) had to step up and deliver. While he didn’t go bonkers, he had some nice runs where his vision and ability to wait for gaps to open up showed. It is extremely unfortunate that any hopes of seeing Jeanty and Holani on the field at the same time continued to be squashed by injury.
  • Even though it didn’t lead to a win, the biggest bright spot on offense was that multiple wide receivers made an impact. Eric McAlister didn’t have his usual stat line of over 100 yards, but the Broncos had six receivers register a reception.

Billy Bowens had his first receiving touchdown of 2023, Austin Bolt found his way for a 33-yard catch, Chase Penry came down with a pair of nice snags, Prince Strachan showed his speed and Stefan Cobbs helped move the chains.

However Madsen is spinning the ball, it is allowing others to get involved in the passing game.

  • Andrew Simpson was the leader on defense as he totaled 12 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss. Ahmed Hassenein was the only Bronco to register a sack and Seyi Oladipo forced the lone turnover for Boise State via a mistimed throw by Fresno State QB Mikey Keene that fell right into Oladipo’s arms.

The Eye Test

The Offense

Give Maddux Madsen the keys.

No one is kidding themselves here.

“MadDog” had 42 pass attempts, nearly threw a handful of picks, and was still kept in the game.

Taylen Green throws one interception or makes one poor decision and he is sidelined for the rest of the game. (There is rumor that Green may have suffered a concussion, but that has yet to be verified)

At least give Madsen more than 25% of the reps in practice if he is going to play 90% of the game.

Make it make sense.

Also, this offense needs Ashton Jeanty if Boise State is going to get to six wins and preserve its bowl eligibility streak. This isn’t an indictment on Holani, but I don’t see Breezy Dubar or Kaden Dudley acting as a reliable RB2.

The Defense

Some remarked on it during the game, but the defense seemed to play with little energy.

Yes, some of the secondary jawed with Fresno State’s receivers.

But other than a great hit by Alexander Teubner that dislodged a potential reception, there were many 3rd and longs that were converted.

We didn’t see the pressure that allowed the Broncos to be successful a week ago.

When that happens, the weaknesses on the backline become magnified.

It is interesting, though. Boise State gained more yardage through the air and on the ground compared to the Bulldogs.

The Special Teams

The whole gained more yards thing?

That doesn’t mean squat if you are allowing squib kicks to be returned for game-altering touchdowns.

When the Broncos cut the lead to three just before halftime, the one thing that couldn’t happen was a kick-return touchdown.

That is the recurring theme of the season.

The 2023 Boise State Broncos have allowed that one thing to happen in each of their losses.

Beyond that mistake, Jonah Dalmas broke Kyle Brotzman’s school record for career field goals! The Rocky Mountain alum has done wonders for the kicking department during his time as a Bronco and has come up in the clutch time and time again.

Aussie punter James Ferguson-Reynolds also had a highlight of his own, successfully implementing a fake punt and converting a pass to linebacker Jayden Virgin.

During the Andy Avalos era, trick plays have been hard to come by.

Why that is I do not know.

Going Forward

Now that any Mountain West championship hopes have been dashed, reality needs to set in.

Boise State needs to beat two of their last three opponents to go bowling.

Their schedule looks as follows:

November 11th - vs. New Mexico

November 18th - @ Utah State

November 24th - vs. Air Force

I don’t expect this team to beat Air Force, so, to me, that means they need to win their next two games.

That starts with the Lobos coming to town this Saturday.

Should Boise State win?


Has this season been a year of negatively-associated first?

Also, yes.

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