Boise State Comes Up Short Against BYU, 31-28
Broncos can’t top rival Cougars
BYU’s talent showed up tonight.
It was clear from the opening drive that BYU had the most talent Boise State has seen this season despite their 4-5 record. In the first quarter, BYU could move the ball almost at will. With a 12-play opening drive, the Cougars were able to chew through the usually stout Bronco defense to score an opening touchdown. For the rest of the half, the defense held to “a bend, but don’t” break philosophy.
Led by quarterback Jalen Hall, BYU was able to tally up 16 first downs and 234 total yards in the half. With two interceptions, a stop on 4th and 1, and a clutch goal-line stand to end the half, the Broncos were able to hold them to a single score.
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After forcing a turnover on downs, the Bronco offense was able to put together a solid drive of their own. Taylen Green found Latrell Caples three times for 61 of the drives 67 yards, including the 16-yard touchdown pass to even the game at 7-7. Unfortunately, that was the only meaningful possession for the Boise State offense as, aside from an almost catastrophic fumble deep in their end, they went 3-and-out every other drive.
The second half opened similarly to the first, except for Boise State. The Broncos were able to move the ball down the field with a touchdown pass from Green to receiver Eric McAlister, capping a 10-play, 71-yard drive. Unlike the first half, though, the offense kept moving, adding 14 more points and racking up 245 yards to keep pace with BYU. Green finished with 220 yards and two touchdowns while completing passes to eight receivers. George Holani found the endzone twice and had 73 yards on 20 carries, all the most of any rusher for the Broncos.
Defensively the Broncos could not put anything together and officially broke. Boise State has shut down teams after halftime, but BYU scored on all four of their possessions in the second half. There was no answer for BYU receiver Puka Nacua who had 14 catches, 157 yards, and two touchdowns. The second of which sealed the victory for BYU. Cougar quarterback Jalen Hall was locked in and finished with 377 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. It is clear that Boise State has benefited from going up against some poor passing offenses, but it was hard to predict that they would play as poorly as this.
Player of the game
Although picking a player from the opposing team is avoided, there is no way to deny receiver Puka Nacua for this. If BYU needed a big play, Nacua was there for it.
For the Broncos, linebacker DJ Schramm finished with ten tackles, the most of any defender in the game.
It was known that BYU was a talented team and was better than their record. It was also known that the Bronco secondary wasn’t as good as their stats have shown. It was surprising to see the complete lack of push from the Boise State front seven in this game which hurt the secondary in keeping close to receivers. With three conference games remaining in the regular season, there is still time for the defense to get back on track.
The offense was impressive in the second half and they moved the ball quickly. The continued progression of Taylen Green should be a significant concern to the Mountain West. It would have been great to end this series with a victory over BYU, but this allows the Broncos to work on the issues to finish the season strong.
The Broncos travel to Reno, NV, to face the Nevada Wolfpack next Saturday, November 11th. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 PM MT on CBS Sports Network