Boise State Upsets No. 10 BYU, 26-17
Broncos get revenge against the Broncos
Big win for Boise State
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) October 9, 2021
Boise State came into their match-up with BYU in a bind. At 2-3, the Broncos are looking to avoid their 4th loss so early in the season and somehow show that they are a competent football team. Last week’s game against Nevada shined a light on some glaring issues on the Bronco roster and in their game plan. Odds of this being the game where they turn it all around were pretty slim, with BYU being the number 10 team in the nation and missing six starters.
𝘿𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙜𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝘾𝙤𝙪𝙜𝙖𝙧𝙨‼️
— Boise State Football (@BroncoSportsFB) October 9, 2021
Missing two offensive linemen (the area the Broncos are struggling the most), running back George Holani and wide receiver CT Thomas puts a strain on an offense looking for consistency. Defensively, both cornerbacks, Markel Reed and Tyric LeBeauf, are out, with BYU QB Jaren Hall returning to the lineup.
Here is a look at how it played out:
BYU came out rolling, racking up 146 yards on their two drives. The lack of Reed and LeBeauf showed as Hall completed 7 of 9 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. The defense did score a minor victory when they were able to hold BYU to a field goal on their first possession.
How did he come down with this?! 🤯 pic.twitter.com/rFu9WwXxbm
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 9, 2021
The Broncos were slow coming together on their first offensive drive, only gaining 5 yards for a three and out. They put together a 14 play, 53-yard drive on their second possession that resulted in a field goal. Hank Bachmeier and Cyrus Habibi-Likio combined to move the ball effectively, gaining 41 of the total yards on the drive between them. Bachmeier completed passes to Octavius Evans for 13-yards and Stefan Cobbs for -1 yards on the scoring drive. The Broncos trailed 10-3 at the end of the first.
With rain coming down steadily, the Bronco defense closed out the first half incredibly strong by forcing two fumbles, stopped BYU on a 4th down attempt, and held the Cougars to only 23-yards in the quarter. It, unfortunately, was not all highlights as JL Skinner was ejected for targeting midway through the quarter, putting the Broncos down three players in the secondary.
Cyrus Habibi-Likio continued to dominate the first half, finishing with 88 total yards and a touchdown. Special teams stepped up after the Broncos scored to tie the game at 10 (off a BYU’s first lost fumble of the season), forcing a second fumble on the ensuing kick off that Boise State again turned into 7 points with a 1-yard rush from Andrew Van Buren. Boise State added a field goal before halftime to take a 20-10 lead into halftime.
With their 10-point lead, Boise State finally looked like the Boise State that most expected to see this season. The most significant factors to the surprise lead were the defense/special teams getting turnovers, and the offensive line played their best half of the season. Those two things kept BYU’s offense off the field for most of the second quarter. The running game totaled 84-yards in the half, which is more than their average per game on the year.
The Bronco offense opened the scoring with a field goal to take a 23-10 lead coming out of halftime. The drive took almost 7 minutes off the clock, limiting BYU’s chances to close the lead. Some cracks were starting to show along the offensive line, however. Both Bronco drives ended with Boise State leaving a player unblocked on their way to Bachmeier.
Boise State’s defense went back to “bend but don’t break,” allowing 119-yards in the quarter, but forced their 3rd fumble of the game on BYU’s first drive to keep them off the board. BYU couldn’t connect on any big plays, which allowed the clock to run down quickly, which favored the Broncos with their 13 point lead.
The last time BYU lost three fumbles before today?
Nov. 3, 2018. Also versus Boise State. pic.twitter.com/j5LZLykk4u
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 9, 2021
Offensively the Broncos slowed considerably from the first half gaining only 72-yards in the 4th quarter. They did, however, continue to eat up the clock and keep the ball away from BYU. Their first drive was moving well until an intentional grounding call on Bachmeier as he was put under pressure by another unblocked BYU player barring down on him. Their only other drive was enough to get into field goal range for Jonah Dalmas to convert on his 4th kick of the game and extend the lead to 26-17.
Boise State allowed BYU into the red zone on their first two drives of the quarter but held firm on 3rd and 4th downs to force the turnover on downs and continue to keep the cougars off the board on their first drive. The Cougars were able to get into the endzone on their second possession with a 1-yard run from Tyler Allgeier after allowing a 59-yard completion from Jaren Hall to Gunner Romney. This score ended a run of 23 unanswered points from Boise State. The Broncos held firm on their next drive and were able to get the 4th turnover of the game by intercepting Hall to seal the upset.
This was an absolutely massive win for Andy Avalos and the Broncos. Boise State was able to show incredible improvement after how much they have struggled this season and played their most complete game. While there are still some issues, and they faded slightly in the second half, this was the first sign of life from the offensive line this season. Cyrus Habibi-Likio stepped in nicely for George Holani and accrued 107 total yards, averaging 4.3 yards a carry. Kahlil Shakir was primarily held in check, which is slightly concerning, but he was still able to make an incredible catch that set up the final field goal attempt.
With BYU’s offense and missing both corners and JL Skinner missing 2/3rds of the game, the defense held up exceptionally well. The Cougars were going to gain yards, but by limiting big plays and coming up big in clutch situations, the Broncos kept BYU off the scoreboard in the second and third quarters. Overall, it was a well-put-together game, and hopefully, the Broncos can continue to make improvements to finish out their schedule strong.
Player of the Game:
Cyrus Habibi-Likio had 107 total yards on 23 touches and a touchdown. He missed most of the second half of the game, so it would have been interesting to see what he would have done playing the whole game.
Boise State hosts Air Force on Saturday, September 16th in Boise, ID. Game time has yet to be set.