LOGAN – Different year, same story.
Boise State again reaffirmed themselves as the class of the Mountain West as Utah State had no answers in a 56-21 loss to the Broncos on Saturday night at Maverik Stadium.
“They wanted to be physical on both sides of the football and that’s the way (Boise State’s) built,” head coach Gary Anderson said. “I believe that if you’re going to get into this conference and knock those guys off the top, you have to find a way to match that physicality… The physicality factor was in their favor.”
Boise State immediately took control on the opening drive, needing only four plays to go 75 yards and the touchdown. After trading three-and-outs, Utah State responded with an 11-play, 86-yard drive that resulted in a one-handed 7-yard TD catch by senior tight end Caleb Repp. The Broncos then responded with 49 unanswered points.
The onslaught started when senior QB Jordan Love tossed a pick-six to BSU’s Jaylen Walker. The Bronco ground game ran rampant, with freshman George Holani scoring two TDs before Robert Mahone joined with a TD of his own. QB Jaylon Henderson threw a 14-yard TD to Khalil Shakir to give BSU a 42-7 halftime lead. The break did little to quell the Broncos’ momentum, as Avery Williams returned a punt 74 yards for another Boise touchdown. Henderson tossed a 15-yard TD to CT Thomas to put Boise State up 56-7 before the Aggies finally broke the streak with a 6-yard rushing TD by senior RB Gerold Bright. A 2-yard TD run by sophomore QB Henry Colombi in the closing minutes brought the score to its final tally.
“They beat us in all three phases and they obviously deserved the win the football game from the get go,” coach Anderson said. “Our challenge is to rally back and battle back and see what we can do to finish this season the right way. I continue to look forward to doing that with these kids and these kids will bounce back but it’s a very difficult loss. It was a very good football team and it was a physical game and it got away from us.”
Love finished with 229 yards on 21-36 passing with one touchdown and one interception. Junior WR Jordan Nathan recorded 46 yards of seven catches while senior WR Siaosi Mariner ended with 66 yards on four receptions. Repp finished with five catches for 47 yards. Bright led USU’s ground game with 44 yards on 10 carries. Junior RB Jaylen Warren added 39 yards on eight attempts.
“Any time it’s bad, it’s me,” coach Anderson said. “It’s my problem I’ve got to fix it. All the bad stuff’s on me. It’s not on them right now.”
On offense, Boise State’s front seven overpowered the Aggies, tallying four sacks and eight tackles for loss on the night and leading to several miscues from USU. Defensively, Utah State proved unable to squelch the Broncos’ rushing attack, allowing 231 yards in the first half and 297 over the entire game. Boise State freshman ended with two touchdowns and 178 yards rushing, the most by an Aggie opponent since allowing 200 yards to Boise State’s Alexander Mattison last season.
“I don’t think it was any surprises at all what was out there,” coach Anderson said. “It was a football team that executed at a high level and we had trouble stopping them in all three phases. Offense, defense, and special teams today.”
The loss eliminated Utah State from contention for the division title and an appearance in the MW title game. At 6-5, the Aggies are bowl eligible and will await their fate until after conference championship weekend.
“It’s ‘where are we?’ One thing I did tell (the team) is six wins doesn’t guarantee a bowl game,” coach Anderson said. “Six wins gets you bowl eligible, it doesn’t get you in a bowl game. They have an awful lot to fight for and they need to get themselves ready to go play New Mexico.”
Utah State will attempt to regroup on the road at New Mexico. Kickoff is currently scheduled for Saturday at 2 pm MST.