Boise State Comes From Behind To Defeat Colorado State, 28-19
Broncos continue to dominate Rams
Boise is back at .500
The first game after a bye week is important, even in good seasons. In a season like the Boise State Broncos are having, they are tremendous opportunities to get healthy, work on adjustments, and “get right.” Most know that there isn’t a miracle cure to all the issues the Broncos have this season, but this is a big opportunity to have a marked improvement in the product out on the field.
The fans are also aware that the Broncos have never lost to Colorado State. This season has had many “the first time since” moments regarding losing games, and the Broncos did not want to add Colorado State to that list.
Coming off the bye week, this is the best opportunity to make a statement for how the rest of the season goes, and the statement the Broncos made was not a good one. Defensively Boise State allowed the Rams to score on all three of their drives but held them to field goals on two of the three drives to limit the damage.
Colorado State tight end Tray McBride proved to be a bigger nightmare to cover than anticipated (and it was highly anticipated), had six catches for 75 yards. The Broncos did better against the traditional run than they have all year, but quarterback Todd Centeio had 49 yards on the ground and used his legs to pick up large chunks of yards to keep drives alive.
Offensively they just eight plays, so obviously, there isn’t a lot to go off of, but it’s clear to see that it continues to be underwhelming. The Broncos could not rush the ball, and quarterback Hank Bachmeier continued to be heavily pressured, much like we have seen all season.
Special teams, which have been solid all year, even struggled. Joel Velazquez, who averages 44.5 yards per punt, was only able to get 35-yard and 37-yard punts off to give the Rams excellent field position. With porous defense, nonexistent offense, and suddenly the inability to flip the field with solid punts, the Broncos were lucky to only be down 13 at the end of the first quarter.
This quarter turned into an adventure early and continued to be one throughout. The Broncos moved the ball relatively well but ran into some interesting calls, to say the least. On their first drive of the quarter, the Broncos made it into the endzone while at the same time only making it to the Colorado State 41-yard line and punting. On 3rd and 8, it appeared that Bachmeier completed a 15-yard pass to Octavius Evans for a first down.
The offense ran to the line, snapped the ball, and Bachmeier completed a 21-yard pass to tight end Riley Smith for a touchdown. Except the whistle blew as Smith caught the ball, with the officials stating that they were buzzed before the ball was snapped to review the previous play. After the review, the completion, which it was, was overturned. This turned the touchdown drive into a punt that sailed into the endzone and added frustration and confusion (from both teams) that stuck with the referees most of the evening.
They did find the endzone eventually as they capped off a 13 play, 97-yard drive for their first touchdown of the game. The offense was helped by two 15-yard penalties on the Rams but was able to move the ball with some of the classic trickery combined with the standard play calling.
Defensively, the Broncos stepped up by holding Colorado State to 26 yards until their game’s final drive. With only 1:50 left in the half, the Rams connected on big chunk plays to move the ball 72-yards on just ten plays to get a field goal and take back the momentum the Boise State was starting to build. Another significant factor this quarter was that JL Skinner was again called for targeting and ejected from the game. This was Skinner’s second ejection for targeting on the season.
The Broncos seemed to start figuring out what needed to be done to get back in the game but still trailed 16-7 at halftime.
Both teams came out of halftime flat, which is no surprise for Broncos fans as the third quarter has been problematic this season. After trading punts, which is a flawed strategy when Rams punter Ryan Stonehouse can kick the ball further than some people’s commute, the Broncos were able to get a big return from Khalil Shakir to start a drive at the Ram 38-yard line.
Running back George Holani picked up 12 yards on two carries, and Bachmeier added a 14-yard completion to Stefan Cobbs, getting the Broncos down to the 13-yard line. In a flash of creativity, Bachmeier took the snap and faked a handoff to Andrew Van Buren to pitch it back to a crossing Octavius Evans on an end-around for the touchdown to pull the Broncos to within two points of the Rams.
The offense continued to roll after Stonehouse pinned them down to the 3-yard line with a 62-yard punt. 97-yard drives seem to be the key for the Broncos as they again scored to finish off the drive with a Stefan Cobbs touchdown pass from Bachmeier for 11-yards, giving the Broncos their first lead in the game at 21-16.
The Bronco defense stepped up for most of the quarter as well. After allowing just 12 yards on the first two Colorado State drives, the Rams were able to finally get the ball moving after giving up the lead. Todd Centeio went 4-4 on the drive for 43-yards while adding 7-yards on the ground, but the Broncos once again stopped them in the red zone to force another field goal to cut the Bronco lead to 21-19.
As pointed out in the third quarter, Colorado State punter Ryan Stonehouse is outstanding, but his protection was not as the defense was able to block a punt to give the offense excellent field position. The defense also limited the Rams to just 49-yards in the quarter and 122-yards in the second half.
Boise State’s offense found a rhythm and was able to take complete control of the game. After Stonehouse’s punt was blocked, they used just four plays to get in the endzone with a 51-yard Bachmeier pass to Tyneil Hopper for a touchdown. On their final drive, it was straight clock kill time. After starting the game running only eight plays in the first quarter, the Broncos were able to run 14 plays on their final drive to take over seven minutes off the clock, almost running it out.
Colorado State couldn’t do anything in the last 32 seconds of the game, and the Broncos came away with a 28-14 victory.
This was a big win for the Broncos. Every win the Broncos can get the rest of this season will be a big win after such a rough start. The slow start to the game was still troubling. The offense was unimaginative and struggled to get anything going, and defensively Boise State relies entirely too much on the “bend but don’t break” strategy. However, it was a relief to see adjustments being made and the offense to show the kind of imagination we are accustomed to seeing. It’s hard to temper expectations and not get your hopes up, as more will be revealed next week in Fresno, but it’s great to see Boise State take control of a game and win it.
It’s also great that Colorado State is still winless against the Broncos.
Boise State travels to Fresno, CA to take on Fresno State at 5 pm MT on CBSSN.