Boise State Get First Bowl Win Since 2017 By Defeating North Texas
Broncos win 35-32 over the Mean Green
A closer than expected win for the blue and orange
Looking to rebound from their championship game loss to Fresno State, Boise State came into the Frisco Bowl wanting to prove that they didn’t peak too soon. You always hope the two weeks off give the team a chance to get healthy, but the secondary started five players down, including JL Skinner and Kaonohi Kaniho. Offensively the Broncos want to get back to the team producing over 400 yards per game and allowing quarterback Taylen Green to lead the way in the air and with his legs.
Overall it was a rough start for the Broncos in the first half. Defensively Boise State continued with their unfortunate pattern of giving up big plays in the air allowing plays of 40 and 53 yards that set up scores for North Texas. Adding insult to injury, starting cornerback Caleb Biggers became the sixth defensive back to be injured midway through the first quarter. The defense did at least hold the Mean Green to a field goal on their first drive after they got down to Bronco’s 3-yard line. One bright spot was the play from Safety Alex Teubner. Teubner laid some big hits while tallying nine tackles. Ezekiel Noa also came up big with an interception and return that set up the first Boise State field goal that tied the game.
Offensively the Broncos slept walk for the majority of the half. The North Texas defense allows 460 yards per game this season, and the Broncos could not put together anything with consistency. Taylen Green was able to connect with wide receiver Latrell Caples three times for 51 yards but also missed a couple of wide-open reads that would have extended drives as well.
Running back George Holani didn’t see the field after aggravating what looked like an ankle injury in the second quarter, but Freshman Ashton stepped in and had some big runs. Jeanty averaged 5.2 yards a carry in the half but, again, couldn’t string enough plays together for the Broncos to have any sustained success. Even with the struggles, the Broncos went into half only down four, 10-6.
In the second half, the offense was a completely different story. After only managing 6 points in the first half, the Broncos put up 22 in the 3rd quarter and an additional seven in the 4th. Green and Jeanty took over the game, combining for 247 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground in the half. Midway through the third quarter, Green was hit late out of bounds on the North Texas sideline which evolved into a pushing match until a couple of punches were thrown. Everyone got out of it unharmed and all the penalties that were accrued offset. The incident did keep the offense charged up and they scored on thier next two possessions. Green also connected with Eric McAllister for a 24-yard touchdown giving Green 3 total for the game.
The Broncos still struggled with allowing chunk yardage giving up (6) plays over 15 yards and gave up 22 points of their own. North Texas was going blow for blow with the Broncos as both scored touchdowns on their first two drives. The defense was able to come up with an interception by cornerback Jaylen Clark after scoring their third touchdown to keep themselves in the lead for the remainder of the game. After giving up a touchdown to allow the Mean Green within 3 points, the defense finally was able to get their only 2 stops of the second half to hold on to the 35-32 victory.
Player Of The Game:
Offense – Running back Ashton Jeanty. Jeanty had 28 carries for 178 yards, a touchdown, and one catch for 10 yards. His 178 yards is a Frisco Bowl, and Boise State bowl game record.
Defense – Safety Alex Teubner. Teubner stepped up in impressive fashion, finishing the game with 13 tackles after having only 25 on the season.
For the game, it was a wild one. The Broncos have made their living this year on half time adjustments, but this felt like two completely separate games. The secondary struggled like was thought they would, but the defense came up big in big moments to get Boise State to the victory. The offense came out on fire after sleeping through the first half. If they can figure out how to start off games like they start off the second half, this will be a special team next year.
For the season, Boise State won their first bowl game in 5 years and got to 10 wins for the season. Both results seemed unlikely when they were 2-2 and just lost to UTEP. The offense improved when Avalos made the coaching change, and the Broncos could roll through the conference until the title game. The defense needs a lot of help in the secondary to prevent the big plays that were given up far too often. Overall, this season was successful, and there is a lot of young talent on offense to build around.