Boise State vs. San Jose State: How The Broncos Avoided The Upset
Broncos had a tougher than expected game vs. the Spartans.
Broncos needed 52 points
Beat Boise. That is the simple message that the San Jose State athletic department has put everywhere that it could be seen. If you even go to their home page it sits there looking you dead in the face until you chose to continue to their website or to skip it permanently, I chose the latter.
Being the doormat since joining the Mountain West, the Spartans come into the game with a 4-4 record including wins at Arkansas and Army, a vibrato that hasn’t been seen from them, and a program that is trending in the right direction for the overall competitiveness of the Mountain West.
Boise State comes into the game off of a bye week following a tough loss at BYU and looking to improve on their 13-0 record against the Spartans. The last time out, the Broncos were completely overmatched and out schemed in the 3rd quarter and the 21 points scored that quarter proved too much to overcome by games end.
Even after the bye week injuries are still prevalent for the Broncos with offensive lineman John Molchon and running back Robert Mahone out on offense, and safety Kekoa Nawahine set to miss the game on defense. Even missing a lineman and running back on offense the Broncos will likely focus on the run with San Jose State ranking near the bottom of the country against the run.
San Jose State opened up with the ball and was able to produce points on their first drive. Relying heavily on the arm of quarterback josh Love, the Spartans covered 82 yards on 9 plays to get into the endzone. Love went 4 for 5 with 64 yards on the drive and got fairly seen production from their running game as well to pull out to a 7-0 lead.
Hank Bachmeier lead the Broncos out to respond to the Spartans scoring drive. Bachmeier looked to have not missed a step completing 2 of his first 3 for 58 yards, moving the ball quickly into Spartan territory.
The wheels came off the drive at that point when San Jose State brought pressure and Bachmeier threw the ball away without leaving the pocket leading to an intentional grounding call. Looking at a 2nd and 23 the Broncos took a chunk of yardage back when Bachmeier completed a 16-yard pass to C.T. Thomas to get to 3rd and 7. The Spartans once again brought pressure and sacked Bachmeier for a loss of 5 yards to force the punt.
Josh Love continued taking control of the game and put together another impressive drive against the Bronco defense. Converting four first downs and accounting for all but two yards on the drive, Love picked apart the Bronco secondary over 15 plays and got the Spartans back into the endzone, this time taking it in for the score himself with a 4-yard run.
The Broncos started their drive at their own 39-yard line due to San Jose State’s short kickoffs to keep the ball away from wide receiver and return man, John Hightower. The Broncos fed George Holani on the first 2 plays of the drive to get the run game going against one of the worst rush defenses in the country. Facing a 3rd and 2, Bachmeier dropped back and in familiar fashion, was sacked for a 4-yard loss, ending the Bronco drive after only three plays.
This time the Bronco defense was able to step up and shut down the Spartan offense, forcing a 3 and out. On 4th and 8, Spartan punter Alex Galland let loose a 49-yard punt that was a bit too deep, a bit too quickly for his coverage team. Avery Williams fielded it on the run and quickly got himself around to the left side of the field and found himself in the endzone after a 66-yard return.
Boise State 7, San Jose State 14
The Spartans returned to the field looking to take advantage of a Bronco defense that didn’t get much of a break often producing their 3 and out. Love again took over and kept completing passes for big chunks of yards, using 15 plays to move the ball down into the Boise State 17-yard line. The Broncos were able to keep San Jose State out of the end zone though and the Spartans settled for a field goal to open their lead back to double digits.
Finally, the Bronco offense showed up to the game. After only running ning plays to this point of the game, the Broncos put together an 8 play drive that ended in the end zone. Bachmeier found Hightower on consecutive completions for 23 and 41 yards getting Boise State down to the Spartan 7 yard line. From there the Broncos went to the ground and needed all four downs to punch the ball in on a 1-yard George Holani run to get to an only three-point deficit 14-17.
After the Bronco defense forced a 3 and out, the offense came out looking to take the lead against the Spartans. Focusing on the run, Andrew Van Buren carried the ball 4 times on the drive with mixed success. On a 3rd and 6 play from the Spartan 40 yard line, Bachmeier rolled out of the pocket and tried to needlessly thread the needle down the sideline, resulting in an interception by San Jose State cornerback Brandon Ezell, his 4th of the season.
Josh Love continued his assault on the Bronco defense through the air. Completing 4 of his 5 passes for 81 yards, Love led the Spartans down the field for another touchdown, this time to Isaiah Hamilton. Love racked up an impressive 292 yard on 33, yes 33, pass attempts in the first half.
With just over a minute left in the half Boise State aimed at narrowing San Jose State’s lead as much as possible. Bachmeier connected with Hightower again for 36 yards to get the drive started off and got a little help for the Spartan defense with a rough ting the passer penalty to get down to the San Jose State 17 yard line. The Spartan defense held strong and got an assist from the Bronco offensive line, who were called for a false start on a successful 4th down conversion, held the Broncos to a 30-yard field goal by Eric Sachse.
Boise State 17, San Jose State 24