Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State Outlasts Oregon In 38-28 Victory
After a first half with wild momentum swings, the Boise State Broncos shut down the Oregon Ducks to cap a very successful 2017 campaign.
The Broncos went all out in a sensational season-ending victory over the Ducks.
For long stretches, the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl reflected its namesake better than it ever has: Wild, unpredictable, and full of entertainment. At the end of sixty minutes, though, it became clear that the better team had simply dominated all along.
Despite some hiccups in the first half, the Boise State Broncos raced out to a 24-0 lead and held off the Oregon Ducks for a 38-28 victory.
Much of the credit for this goes to the Broncos defense, which played a stellar sixty minutes against the powerful Oregon offense. The Ducks were held to 280 yards of total offense, more than half of which came in Oregon’s fourth-quarter rally, and 4.4 yards per play.
Quarterback Justin Herbert, in particular, had a game to forget. The sophomore completed 26-of-36 passes for 233 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, and he was often frustrated by every level of the Broncos defense:
Though it may be difficult to tell just how much the Ducks missed Royce Freeman, his presence may not have made much of a difference. The running back tandem of Kani Benoit and Tony Brooks-James combined for just 24 yards on 15 carries, and Boise State racked up nine tackles for loss.
Broncos defenders, veteran and up-and-comer alike, also gave fans a lot to look forward to in 2018 and beyond. Kekaula Kaniho had a sack and a forced fumble in addition to his pick-six, while Curtis Weaver had two sacks of his own.
And, of course, Leighton Vander Esch capped what many presume was his last game among the blue and orange with another performance that reaffirmed his Defensive Player of the Year bonafides. He finished the game with 12 tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack:
Boise State’s offense, meanwhile, played without tight end Jake Roh and with a limited Alexander Mattison, so the Broncos operated in fits and starts for most of the afternoon. However, they ultimately proved much more efficient and explosive than Oregon by racking up 481 yards of offense and 5.3 yards per play.
The Broncos weren’t afraid to let Brett Rypien air it out early and often, so while the stat sheet might look uneven — 21-of-38, 362 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions — the junior completed six passes of more than 20 yards and, as you might expect, senior receiver Cedrick Wilson was the primary beneficiary:
Wilson, who missed a chunk of the first half with a leg injury, never looked too much worse for the wear and finished with ten catches for 221 yards and a score. As a result, he was named the Las Vegas Bowl’s Most Valuable Player and