Both Defenses came out strong when they needed to be to start the 2nd half. Boise State received the ball and moved the ball well until Utah State stopped them on a 4th and 1 play on the Utah State 26. The Bronco defense responded by getting a stop on 3rd and 1 and forcing an Aggie punt.
The Broncos were the first to get on the scoreboard on the following possession with Hoggarth converting on a 27-yard field goal after the Aggie defense tightened up in the red zone once again.
After getting as far as the Boise State 26 yard line, the Aggies were looking to respond with a field goal of their own. The Broncos did make the kick a little bit harder by sacking Love for a loss of 7 and the loss of field position would prove costly for the Aggies. Dominik Eberle came up only a yard or so short on his 50-yard attempt.
The Broncos were unable to do anything with the momentum swing as, once again, the Aggie defense continued to hold them in check and forced a 3 and out.
Boise State 20, Utah State 14
Finally matching the Broncos, Utah State closed their deficit back to 3 points on a 45-yard kick by Darwin Thompson. Ron’quvion Tarver gave the Aggies the opportunity after a 42-yard reception from Love moved them to the Boise State 32.
Feeling the pressure mounting, the Broncos pulled out all the stops on their next drive. Boise State took 7:30 off the clock with a 14 play drive that featured 10 carries by Mattison and a 4th down conversion. Brett Rypien went over 300 yards for the game and tallied a score as he completed a 1-yard pass to Garrett Collingham.
Utah State Looked like they were about to fold following Boise State’s score. It took 4 plays to cover their first 10 yards of the drive and an offensive pass interference call had them looking at a 2nd and 25, but the Aggies responded like they have all season. On a play that was designed to simply get some of the penalty yardage back, the Aggies Gerold Bright broke free for an 83-yard touchdown run closing the Bronco lead to just 2.
Getting the ball back with 3:12 left on the clock the Broncos took to the ground in an effort to run the clock out. That task was made exponentially easier after Alex Mattison took a 2nd and 4 carry and ran 59 yards down to the Utah State 10 yard line. Being up only 2 points, Coach Harsin decided to take a chance and go for a touchdown over a field goal to put the game out of reach for the Aggies. The decision paid off as Mattison got the hat trick with his third touchdown of the game.
Final: Boise State 33, Utah State 24
4th Quarter 0:04 – 4th and 1: Mattison puts the game out of reach for the Aggies with his 3rd touchdown of the game.
Player of the Game:
Alex Mattison: 37 carries (37!!!!!) for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Broncos ability to chew time off the clock and rest the defense fell squarely on Mattison’s shoulders and he carried the team to victory.
Utah State has one of the best offensive and defensive teams in the conference but the Broncos were still able to do what they needed to walk away with the win. Boise State is paying their best football at the right time of year and that should be concerning to Fresno State and a bowl team to be named later.
Boise State will once again host Fresno State for the Mountain West Champoinship next Saturday 12/1 at 5:45pm MT