This was one of the more clunkier games I have ever seen.
Both teams looked like they didn’t want to score.
Boise State was given lifeline after lifeline when UCF found itself in the redzone.
Two tipped interceptions and a turnover on downs. Three possessions resulting in zero points.
And yet, the Broncos were bested on The Blue once again.
7:27 - 50-yard field goal by Colton Boomer
Boise State 0 - UCF 3
4:20 - 38-yard TD pass from Taylen Green to Ashton Jeanty (Jonah Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 7 - UCF 3
8:32 - 33-yard field goal by Boomer
Boise State 7 - UCF 6
3:14 - 56-yard field goal by Dalmas
Boise State 10 - UCF 6
1:01 - 55-yard field goal by Boomer
Boise State 10 - UCF 9
7:55 - 5-yard TD run by RJ Harvey (Failed Two-Point Conversion)
Boise State 10 - UCF 15
1:49 - 28-yard pass from Maddux Madsen to Stefan Cobbs (Failed Two-Point Conversion)
Boise State 16 - UCF 15
0:00 - 40-yard field goal by Boomer
Boise State 16 - UCF 18
BOISE STATE BRONCOS 16
UCF KNIGHTS 18
By The Numbers
- Before I get into what the numbers tell us about this game, it should be clear that UCF missed out on a minimum of nine points and 21 at most due to their redzone inefficiencies.
- UCF QB John Rhys Plumlee had a tremendous day against the Bronco secondary. “JRP” threw for 272 yards and put his receivers in great position to break the game open. If those receivers had done their job, Plumlee’s stat line would have looked exquisite.
- Boise State’s Taylen Green had a mediocre outing at best. He only threw for 144 yards and one touchdown pass along with one interception. On the ground, he was a bit more aggressive in finding open turf to run through, but he got flipped a few times and hit hard. Green did leave the game in the 3rd quarter due to “cramps”, but to the rest of the world, it appeared that he had injured his ankle, possibly a sprain.
- With TG10 leaving the field, backup QB Maddux “MadDog” Madsen had to take the reins and attempt to lead Boise State to a win over a P5 opponent in the home opener.
Madsen looked uncomfortable in his first few drives, but towards the end of the 4th quarter, he began to settle down and make some nice throws over the middle. The 5-10 QB out of American Fork, Utah, went 5/8 for 67 yards, but he did lead the Broncos down the field with a chance to put them in front. After putting his shoulder down and converting a 4th and 2 scramble, Madsen propelled Boise State to take the lead via a touchdown pass to veteran Stefan Cobbs.
Kudos to him for being ready for the moment and showcasing some moxie.
Maddux Madsen willed himself to get this first down pic.twitter.com/eyhzga1qSG— Jordan Kaye (@jordankaye_23) September 10, 2023
UNBELIEVABLE!— Jordan Kaye (@jordankaye_23) September 10, 2023
Maddux Madsen. Ice in his veins.
The backup QB hits Stef Cobbs over the middle for the go-ahead touchdown. 2-point conversion is no good.
16-15 Boise State // 1:49 Q4 pic.twitter.com/klSK7ON2A3
*Credit for both videos to Jordan Kaye of Bronco Nation News and FOX Sports.
- The Knights ran all over the Broncos, amounting 258 yards as three different players cashed in 60 or more yards (John Rhys Plumlee - 73, RJ Harvey - 70, Johnny Richardson - 62). As a whole, UCF averaged 6.3 yards per carry on 41 carries.
- With George Holani out, Texas native Ashton Jeanty was RB1.
He did not disappoint.
Jeanty ran for 115 yards on 24 carries and had 97 receiving yards on five receptions. Currently, he is third in the nation in all-purpose yards, averaging 182.5 total yards each game. We also got to see true freshman Jambres “Breezy” Dubar have his Bronco debut as he fulfilled his responsibilities. 29 yards on five carries isn’t anything crazy, but his longest run of 24 showcased his speed and ability to round the corner when getting to the perimeter.
- UCF’s receiving group manhandled Boise State’s secondary, but they just weren’t able to punch it into the endzone. Kobe Hudson led the team with 134 yards and was the catalyst for some of the Knights’ explosive plays downfield.
- The wide receiver crew for Boise State was slightly better than last week, but not by a ton. Stefan Cobbs led the position group with 68 receiving yards followed by Eric McAlister with...26 yards.
When your running back is handily leading the team in receiving yards, something is amiss.
- I maintain that neither defense was great, or even good.
Both got lucky.
UCF only had two sacks while Boise State got to Plumlee once all game. Shoutout to Bronco linebacker Marco Notarainni for getting Spencer Danielson’s unit on the board.
- In the air, Boise State was able to stay in the game via the football gods blessing. Alexander Teubner and Jaylen Clark were the recipients of this good fortune as two different UCF receivers Charlie Chaplin’d the ball into their awaiting arms.
Right place, right time, I suppose.
UCF did intercept Taylen Green on a midfield throw where the targeted receiver slipped, leaving multiple Knight defenders to convene on the throw. Corey Thornton was the winner of that giveaway.
- Both kickers were the players of the game for each team. UCF’s appropriately named Colton Boomer converted a career-long field goal from 55 yards out. Bronco Jonah Dalmas did the same as he tied the school’s all-time record for longest field goal at 56 yards, previously held by Roberto Moran in 1985.
Kickers are people, too.
*Credit to the Mountain West Conference and FOX Sports.
The Eye Test
The substantial adjustments that offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan alluded to in his presser this week were nowhere to be seen. Wide receivers still had tremendous difficulty creating separation from defenders, Prince Strachan got a little run, but wasn’t able to impact the box score in any way. In reality, the absence of Holani forced Hamdan’s hand in maximizing Jeanty’s touches and bringing in the highly-touted freshman, Breezy Dubar.
I don’t want to minimize what Holani does for this offense, but a talent like Ashton Jeanty cannot be kept off the field.
The status of Taylen Green will be of vital importance if the Broncos want to get this train rolling again. Even though head coach Andy Avalos proclaimed that Green was out because of cramps, some believe that there is more to his health than Avalos is letting on.
To what degree, we will have to wait and see what he says in his weekly presser.
The offensive line got a bit banged up this week, but the big guys in the trenches did a great job once again of creating gaps in the line and protecting their QB (for the most part).
The secondary is still getting the top blown off against quality receivers. If the Knights were competent in the redzone, we would be having the same discussion we did after Washington. Just because the score shows it was close doesn’t mean the defense was stifling UCF’s attack.
There is hardly any pressure being created with the front four. Plumlee had all the time in the world to make his reads and scramble when he needed to. I don’t know what the quick fix is for this unit, but something needs to change to alleviate the constant pressure being put on the cornerbacks and safeties.
At linebacker, DJ Schramm and Marco Notarainni were two bright spots in a cloud of neutrality and gloom.
In past years, either the defense or the offense has been terrific, consistently performing to their ceiling while managing to play hand-in-hand with their counterpart unit.
This year, neither seems to have that ability.
The Special Teams
Once again, special teams was the best unit for the Boise State Broncos. Kicker Jonah Dalmas had a career day and punter James Ferguson-Reynolds had some great punts that landed inside the 20.
It’s nice to have two guys that may be up for national awards at the end of the season, but what does it say about your team when it’s your kicker and punter?
Boise State is 0-2 for the first time since 2005.
18 years ago.
Granted, two P5 opponents and two instances where the Broncos were underdogs doesn’t make it easy to avoid history like this.
But now is the time where fans that are content with a Mountain West championship appearance (the lowest version of “The Standard”) set their focus.
A home game against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks out of the Missouri Valley Conference (FCS) awaits Boise State. North Dakota is ranked #15 at the FCS level, three spots behind hated rival, Idaho, and two spots behind former Big Sky opponent, Montana.
The last time the Broncos started 0-3?
Be on the lookout for a preview for BSU-UND on Thursday or Friday.
What were your takeaways from the game? Let us know in the comments down below!