Boise State Upsets Fresno State
Broncos own the milk can
Running game comes alive.
The battle for the Milk Can is here! Boise State travels to Fresno State to take on the Bulldogs for the first meeting since the 2018 Mountain West Championship game. This is also the first trip to Fresno since 2017, when the Bulldogs handed Boise State their last conference road loss.
Boise State enters the game at 4-4 (2-2) and comes off a 28-19 win at Colorado State. Fresno State has a 7-2 (4-1) record and also won last week, beating then #21 San Diego State 30-20 on the road as well.
Here is how the game broke down:
Opening with a quick 3 and out and allowing a 30-yard pass play is generally not the best way to start a game. Boise State bent early on defense but was able to take the momentum from the Bulldogs with a stop when they elected to go for it on 4th and 2 from the 25. From there, the Broncos started to get on a roll. After the stop, they marched down the field until ultimately settling for a 47-yard field goal, Kekaula Kaniho intercepted Jake Haener’s pass on Fresno State’s next possession, and the Broncos were able to find the endzone to take a 10-0 lead.
George Holani played a massive role in getting the offense moving, gaining 80 total yards from scrimmage, including a 40- yard screen pass to set up the 1-yard touchdown run by Andrew Van Buren. In an odd turn, the coaching staff brought in Taylen Green for Bachmeier on the next drive, and while he was able to open the drive with a 17-yard run, the drive ended with him taking a 16-yard sack. It felt like a disjointed move since the offense was moving well up to that point. The effort by the defense held Fresno State in check, though, and Fresno State struggled to get anything rolling in the first quarter.
The Fresno State defense was able to start slowing the Bronco offense, but they could not keep them from scoring. The Broncos opened with a 27-yard field goal after a five-play 51-yard drive to extend the lead to 13-0. The Bulldog offense continued to struggle but was able to find some footing after their defense stopped the Broncos from converting a 4th and 1 on the Fresno State 45 yard line.
Haener connected on a 34-yard completion and 10-yard touchdown pass to Keric Wheatfall while running back Ronnie Rivers added 29-yards on the ground to take the Bulldogs to the endzone, cutting the Bronco lead to 13-7. Bachmeier led the way on the following drive for Boise State going 2-3 for 54-yards. The Broncos were unable to come away with points as Khalil Shakir’s pass to tight end Tyneil Hopper was just under-thrown and intercepted by the Bulldog defense.
Defensively, the Broncos held strong and forced a 3 and out to keep the damage from the turnover minimal. Holani took over the next drive with runs of 10, 15, and 18 yards on consecutive plays, giving him 140 total yards (71 rushing, 69 passing) in the first half. With Holani catching his breath, the Bronco offense couldn’t keep the ball moving and kicked the third field goal of the half to get the lead to 16-7 at halftime.
Proving that last week was not a fluke, Boise State had a solid third quarter. On their first possession, the Bulldogs were able to gain 33-yards but couldn’t do enough to avoid punting to the Broncos.
Boise State responded by putting together an 11 play, 80-yard drive to get into the endzone. Khalil Shakir was the star of the drive with three catches for 50-yards, including the 10-yard touchdown to open the lead to 23-7. The Bulldogs assisted the drive when they were penalized for roughing the kicker on a Jonah Dalmas 44-yard attempt that gave them a fresh set of downs. Fresno State looked like they would get themselves on the board after quickly getting down the field on just two plays. Dropping back from the Boise State 27-yard line Jake Haener slung the ball into the endzone, where JL Skinner intercepted it for the touchback. Both defenses held the rest of the quarter to hold the score at 23-7.
The Broncos familiarly started the final frame by calling out Dalmas to collect his fourth field goal in the game, this one from 27-yards. Now down 26-7, Fresno State came out firing. Relying on Haener’s arm, the Bulldogs hit on a 36-yard pass on the drive’s third play to give themselves a fresh set of downs from the Boise State 45 yard line. On the next play, Haener’s pass was intercepted by Koanohi Kaniho, giving both Kaniho brothers an interception in the game.
Boise State went into clock-killing mode and ran over 5 minutes off the clock on a 10 play, 79-yard drive. While the drive was capped off by anotherVan Buren 1-yard touchdown, the big news was George Holani breaking the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time by a Boise State player this season. After forcing the turnover on downs and entering mop-up time, Boise State running back Tyler Crowe got the Broncos on the board one last time with a 7-yard touchdown to get the Broncos to a 40-7 lead. Fresno State was able to capitalize on a pass interference and a personal foul penalty on the Broncos to get in the endzone, covering 75-yards in just 6 plays to get the final score of the game.
Final Score: Boise State 40, #23 Fresno State 14
Player of The Game:
This is the easiest one of the season. George Holani finished with 186 total yards on the night, including 117-yards rushing, and was hands down the most impressive performance by a Bronco running back this season.
Tonight’s game was the best performance from Boise State this season, and it’s not even close. The Broncos played well against UTEP and Utah State, but they dominated Fresno State in every phase of the game. Bachmeier didn’t force anything, Holani opened up the offense, the defense harassed Haener all game, and kept Ronnie Rivers in check. The only aspect that could be complained about is questionable play-calling on the 4th and 1 play in the second quarter and near the red zones that lead to a lot of field goals. If the Broncos can keep this momentum, it could get more interesting in the Mountain Division this year.
Boise State returns home to take on Wyoming on Friday, November 12th. The kickoff will be at 7 PM MT on FS1.