Boise State Tops Utah State To Claim Mountain Division Title
Jaylen Henderson and Broncos defense lead the way.
Contact/Follow @erik_smiley54 & @MWCwire
Broncos dominate Aggies.
Boise State traveled to Logan, Utah, with the ability to lock up the Mountain Division title and their berth in the Mountain West Championship game.
With an upset, Utah State would put themselves in the driver’s seat to accomplish the same thing. Even though none needed to be added, the questions revolving who would be starting at quarterback for both teams added some intrigue leading up to the game. The call at game time is Jordan Love for Utah State and Jaylon Henderson for the Broncos.
Utah State came in to the game on a two-game winning streak with wins over Wyoming and Fresno State. It has been tough sledding at times for the Aggies as they have had blow out loses to LSU, BYU, and Air Force but have also had impressive games against San Diego State and Wyoming. Although this game doesn’t carry quite as much wait as last year’s ranked match up there is still a lot for the Aggies to play for.
Boise State came into the game with a four-game win streak on the season as well as a three-game win streak against the Aggies. Boise State has had their struggles throughout the season as well, seldom having all facets of their game clicking at the same time. The Broncos as a whole did extremely well overall against New Mexico last week and aim to continue that trend this week against a much tougher Utah State team.
Like last week the Broncos got out to a fast start. It took longer than 9 seconds, but not by much, with the Broncos only needing four plays to cover the 75 yards to the endzone. George Holani opened with a 35-yard carry the put the Broncos in Aggie territory. Jaylon Henderson completed two passes that to C.T. Thomas that netted 10 yards before hitting John Hightower for the 30-yard touchdown.
The Bronco defense showed up as well forcing Utah State into a quick 3 and out on their first possession. Holani had another big carry, this one for 12 yards, on the first play of the following drive but Utah State forced a couple of incompletions from Henderson to force the punt. Joel Valasquez got a good punt off and pinned the Aggies inside their own 20-yard line, starting their drive on their own 14.
The Aggie offense was able to put together a long drive that was supported by a couple of incredible catches. Jordan Love was able to connect with Deven Thompkins, who fought through tight coverage, for 47 yards and Caleb Repp who made an incredible one-handed catch along the sideline of the endzone for a 7-yard touchdown. It wasn’t good for Love as Curtis Weaver got a good hit on him, sacking him for an 8-yard loss right before his completion to Thompkins.
With the game tied at 7, the Broncos kept to the ground with Holani continuing to gouge the Aggie defense for another 18 yards on the first two plays of the drive. Boise State then took to the air with Henderson completing a 17-yard pass to Akilian Butler, but inaccuracy and a couple of flat out drops by John Hightower killed the drive forcing another punt.
Boise State’s defense took it upon themselves to give the Broncos the lead on the following drive. On the first play, Love dropped back and attempted to hit a quick wide receiver screen to the outside. Love stained down his read and Jalen Walker was able to get the jump on the throw, intercept the pass, and trot into the endzone to put the Broncos back up by 7.
This started the trend of punting and touchdowns for the Aggies, which normally isn’t noteworthy, but it was completely one-sided. Over the next eight possessions, the Aggies have three punts and a turnover on downs while the Broncos score four consecutive touchdowns.
The Aggies opened with a holding on the first play of their drive and were not able to make the yardage up thanks to the second Broncos sack of the game on 3rd and 7 by Chase Hatada for a 2-yard loss.
Holani continued his domination of the game accumulating 50 more yards on the ground on the final 4 plays of the drive. Boise State stayed on the ground for the entire drive with Khalil Shakir opening the drive with an 11-yard rush as well.
There was a tremendous amount of excitement around the score, much more than a touchdown in the first quarter really should draw, as the Broncos called Statue of Liberty Left for Holani to cover the final 5 yards into the endzone. That carry gave Holani over 100 rushing yards in the first quarter.
Boise State 21, Utah State 7