Your Broncos are winners for the first time in 2023.
It involved taking some punches in the gut and staying focused, but Boise State did what it took to win and look more like the team talked about in the preseason.
5:47 - 8-yard TD run by Taylen Green (Jonah Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 7 - North Dakota 0
14:57 - 1-yard TD run by Quincy Vaughn (Brady Stevens Missed PAT)
Boise State 7 - North Dakota 6
6:15 - 2-yard TD run by Ashton Jeanty (Jonah Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 14 - North Dakota 6
0:28 - 1-yard TD run by Ashton Jeanty (Jonah Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 21 - North Dakota 6
11:30 - 28-yard TD pass from Taylen Green to Eric McAlister (Jonah Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 28 - North Dakota 6
7:36 - 6-yard TD pass from Tommy Schuster to Wesley Eliodor (Failed Two-Point Conversion)
Boise State 28 - North Dakota 12
4:26 - 3-yard TD run by Luke Skokna (Failed Two-Point Conversion)
Boise State 28 - North Dakota 18
10:48 - 1-yard TD run by Ashton Jeanty (Jonah Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 35 - North Dakota 18
3:43 - 27-yard TD pass from Maddux Madsen to Eric McAlister (Jonah Dalmas PAT)
Boise State 42 - North Dakota 18
BOISE STATE BRONCOS 42
NORTH DAKOTA FIGHTING HAWKS 18
By The Numbers
- I don’t mean to dog on Taylen Green, but there were some throws that *should* have been intercepted (two come to mind). Beyond that, Green had a more free-flowing type of game, throwing for 188 yards, one TD and running for one TD as well. Offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan still looks to be finding the right balance of how much TG’s athleticism should be relied upon.
- Backup QB Maddux Madsen did his job in garbage time and was able to add another touchdown to his season statsheet via a nice sideline pass to Eric McAlister. More on E-MAC later...
- North Dakota’s Tommy Schuster performed well early on, but once the score began to widen, reality set in. It didn’t help that his center was sending snaps everywhere except to his awaiting arms. At one point, Schuster was squatting for the snap, thinking that it was going to fall at his feet. He was only able to manage 142 yards as the endzone alluded him Saturday.
- The rushing stats for the Fighting Hawks are a little skewed due to the sack yardage factored in. Not including the six sacks imposed by Boise State, UND rushed for 89 yards and tacked on their only two touchdowns of the day via Luke Skokna and Quincy Vaughn.
- For Boise State, it was a mixed bag on the ground. Still without George Holani, Bush Hamdan called on Ashton Jeanty and Jambres Dubar to take the vast majority of snaps. Dubar, the true freshman, was the one to lead the way with 62 yards on ten carries. Jeanty found the endzone three times, scratching and clawing for extra yards like he always does.
However, the dynamite running back caught the fumble bug in the third quarter, losing two fumbles that ended up in North Dakota’s hands.
Jeanty hardly has any fumbling issues, so while this was a bit unexpected, don’t expect him to let his carry over into Friday’s matchup with San Diego State.
- AH! We found one! We found one!
A starting wide receiver finally had a breakout performance in 2023.
A round of applause for mister Eric McAlister!
E-MAC led the receiving room with 143 yards, 2 TDs and was able to create separation with UND defenders on vertical throws. Now, he was the only receiver to be on the end of more than three receptions (not so good).
We had a Prince Strachan sighting! And he made a very nice catch on the sideline, showcasing his length and versatility.
- Most of North Dakota’s receiving corps did very little, but leading man Bo Belquist did have a heck of a snag early in the game.
North Dakota WR Bo Belquist making plays against Boise State pic.twitter.com/TUaAzZGn27— The Bluebloods (@The__Bluebloods) September 16, 2023
*Video courtesy of @The_Bluebloods X account and Fox Sports.
- The defensive line got to the quarterback.
Despite playing an inferior opponent, you could see their intensity and confidence rise with each sack. Ahmed Hassenein, Demitri Washington and Braxton Fely all found their way into the backfield.
- With DJ Schramm out, linebacker Marco Notarainni stepped up and continues to impress this season. In fact, he led the entire team in tackles (13) on Saturday.
- While the secondary did much better than the previous two weeks for obvious reasons (opponent strength, namely), a much bigger storyline brewed to the surface.
The talent behind the starting upperclassmen deserve a shot.
Dionte Thornton, Zion Washington and Ty Benefield.
A redshirt freshman, redshirt sophomore and true freshman.
Heck, Benefield led the Broncos onto The Blue with the Dan Paul Hammer.
That is not a coincidence.
The trio combined for 11 tackles and two sacks.
And it doesn’t hurt to have Bronco alum JL Skinner endorse you...
I like #20. He might be da next one.— JL Skinner (@JlJlskinner) September 16, 2023
The Eye Test
Taylen Green is becoming more comfortable, but he needs to either let his legs act as an escape pod or Bush Hamdan needs to let loose of the reins a bit. When TG10 is a true dual-threat, the Boise State offense is extremely difficult to prepare for.
With Ashton Jeanty being himself and Breezy Dubar getting some sizable action, the running attack looks more secure if George Holani is out for an extended amount of time.
At wide receiver, Chase Penry looks to be a reliable option, but gosh dang it, I want more Prince Strachan!
Eric McAlister looked like the guy from a year ago that can make defenses pay over the top with his frame.
But everyone else?
Give Strachan a chance to learn, play and make plays that no one else can on this roster.
Also, the offensive line is still doing great. It feels fantastic to not have a weekly discussion on how the o-line is costing this team like in years past.
Embrace the incoming youth and talent.
Andy Avalos has recruited some dogs and they are itchin’ to get on the field.
I understand that experience and seniority matter...to a degree. If there are better players on the bench, then put them in.
The Mountain West is stingy this year with a handful of teams that are performing at a high level. Boise State cannot be complacent with their defensive personnel if they want to win a Mountain West Championship in 2023.
The Special Teams
Jonah Dalmas and James Ferguson-Reynolds did their jobs.
There was nothing special in the return game (didn’t have to be).
Dalmas did have a practice 54-yard field goal attempt that was good, but a roughing the kicker penalty allowed the Broncos to keep the drive alive.
Mountain West play begins!
The health of George Holani, DJ Schramm, Ben Dooley, Mason Randolph and Cortez Hogans are still questions that will hopefully be answered sooner rather than later.
Boise State will travel to Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, California, to take on the San Diego State Aztecs Friday night.
What were your takeaways from the game? Let us know in the comments down below!