Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State Fails To Show Up In 38-7 Loss vs. Washington
Broncos effort was lackluster in loss to former coach.
What happened to the Broncos.
The Las Vegas Bowl had a lot of build up with it being Chris Petersen‘s last game as the Washington head coach and he was going up against his former Boise State team which he led to promise so many years ago.
As for the game itself, it was the Huskies who showed up to play in defeating Boise State 38-7 in the worst bowl loss in Broncos history, overall Boise State has a 12-8 bowl record.
As for this game vs. the Huskies not much went right for Boise State from start to finish in the 31-point loss. The quarterback situation seemed all but settled heading into the game with Jaylon Henderson primed to keep his undefeated streak on the line and freshman Hank Bachmeier healthy and ready when needed.
Bachmeier did have plenty of wins under his belt as he held a perfect 7-0 record, but maybe the rust was there with live game action. Head coach Bryan Harsin said the freshman quarterback was healthy the past few weeks. So, looking back maybe Bachmeier should have had played some live reps to prepare for this bowl game.
The plan from the start for Harsin to get Bachmeier reps
“It was getting Hank an opportunity to go out there and play, too,” Harsin said. “I think we forget Hank won seven games earlier in the season. It’s been so long, but he’s also been part of this, and Hank’s a good football player.”
Bachmeier did get in the game early on the first and had an errant interception that Washington turned into points. He ultimately had a pair of picks that both resulted in points for the Huskies. On the day, Bachmeier was 15 of 26 for 119 yards.
“I don’t have a crystal ball,” Harsin said. “It’s football, there’s no excuses … that’s just not how we operate. He was ready to play, we were ready to play him.”
The real issue was moving the ball past midfield which happened just once in the first half which was the opening drive that led to an interception, and that was only to the 47-yard line. They made it five total times past the Huskies 50-yard line.
The lack of crossing mid-field also was an issue due to the fact that Boise State was only 3 of 11 on third downs.
Getting behind early and not able to convert on third downs really limited what the Broncos offense and what they could do, specifically with the ground game. The longest run of the day was a 14-yard scamper, which happened twice, and George Holani ended the day rushing the ball 11 times for 35 yards.
“It definitely limited our offense to run (all) the plays we wanted to run,” true freshman running back George Holani said. “It was tough on us, and tough on the defense, not converting on critical downs.”
One item that had to be in the back of people’s mind is that when Henderson got in the game he showed to be able to move the offense as he led the only scoring drive for Boise State. He entered the game down 24-0 and led a touchdown drive but it was too little too late. Henderson was 5 of 10 for 48 yards and did have the lone touchdown. He was sick during the week with a fever but Harsin said that is not why Henderson was not the starter.
One item that Harsin tried to push aside in his opening remarks of his post-game press conference was about not having offensive coordinator Zak Hill, and one can rightfully question how the loss of Hill impacted the game.
It also didn’t help that the defense was missing tackles and getting beat on plays that are unlike Boise State, including a trick play that went for a touchdown.
Even without the two interceptions that went for touchdowns, Washington still had this game under control for what it was doing on offense. The Huskies only had a trio of three-and-outs and were 7 of 14 on third-down attempts. Even when Washington wasn’t scoring points they had plenty of drives that moved the ball down the field.
Overall, this game saw Harsin get outcoached by his predecessor, an offensive strategy that failed him and a defense that did not show up to play its best game.