BOISE, Idaho — It wasn't the prettiest return to play from the bye week, but the Boise State Broncos got a 28-19 win over the Colorado State Rams in Fort Collins, Colo. on Saturday night.
After their Mountain Division win over the Rams, the Broncos are now 11-0 all-time against Colorado State. Since joining the Mountain West Conference in 2011, Colorado State is the last team to not beat Boise State in conference play.
Following the game, head coach Andy Avalos, wide receiver Octavius Evans and safety Tyreque Jones met with the Treasure Valley sports media to discuss the Broncos' win over Colorado State. Scroll down to find the video for the full press conference.
Much like the Broncos win over BYU a few weeks ago, the Broncos got down early against the Rams. Boise State was down 13-0 at the end of the first quarter, and the Broncos' offense continued to struggle in the second quarter and it wasn't until 1:50 was left in the half when they got their first touchdown to end the half and bring the score to 13-7. The Rams responded with a 20-yard field goal with 0:11 left in the first half to put Colorado State up 16-7 at halftime.
According to Avalos, however, there was no panic in the Broncos' locker room during the half.
After halftime, and against the Broncos' recent trend of second-half woes, the Boise State offense finally started clicking. Within the first five minutes of the third quarter, the Broncos scored on a 13-yard touchdown rush by wide receiver Octavius Evans to bring the score to 16-14. Evans finished the game with four catches for 30 yards and a touchdown.
"I just knew Hank was coming to me because we had ran that play earlier like probably from say, like first quarter, and he missed me on it," Evans said during the post-game press conference. "But I can tell the look on his face that he was like 'I'm coming to you the next play.'"
The Broncos followed it up with an 11-yard touchdown pass by junior quarterback Hank Bachmeier to wide receiver Stefan Cobbs to take their first lead of the night with 4:01 left in the third. Cobbs also had four catches for 38 yards and a touchdown.
The Rams answered the Broncos' score with their fourth field goal of the night to put the score at 21-19.
Bachmeier then connected with junior tight end Tyniel Hooper for a 51-yard touchdown pass to put the Broncos up 28-19 with 9:30 left in the game. It was Hooper's sole catch of the game and it was the longest touchdown catch by a Boise State tight end since 2001.
Avalos said Hooper scoring was huge for the team since he's usually used a blocking tight end.
"That's why everybody's so happy for him," he said. "The team not only put points on the board but who did it and what he does day in and day out like that's what our team needs - guys that are selfless to do the work that it takes to be successful and they get rewarded in that way."
While the Broncos' offense struggled in the first half, Boise State had 430 yards of total offense, 27 first downs and zero turnovers on the day.
Bachmeier completed 21 of his 32 passing attempts for 253 yards and three touchdowns. The junior quarterback was also sacked twice.
The Broncos' receiving corps was led by senior wide receiver Khalil Shakir, who had nine receptions for 118 yards.
Against Colorado State, the Broncos were finally able to ram the ball down the field with their rushing attack, which has largely been absent through the first half of the season. The Broncos finished with 198 rushing yards on 49 attempts.
Senior running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio led the Broncos' running game with 62 yards on 19 attempts, followed by wide receiver Khalil Shakir who had 44 yards on seven runs. Junior running back George Holani was back but finished with ten rush attempts for 43 yards.
Avalos said after the game that the team was committed to running the ball against the Rams, regardless of how many ended in short gains.
One of the biggest keys to Boise State's win was the defense bending but not breaking against the Colorado State Rams' offense. The Rams had four drives that end in field goals after they reached Boise State's redzone. The Rams settled for 22, 28 and two 22-yard field goals, 16 points less than if Colorado State scored touchdowns instead of field goals.
"I mean, we emphasize a lot when we get to the red zone three or nothing. You know, it's just a mentality that we have and we're still working on that just do our best to keep them from getting down there," Jones said during the post-game press conference.
According to Jones, nickel Kekaula Kaniho always says "no fear, no hesitation," and that's how the Broncos' defense played against the Rams.
Saturday's game might have felt to some like a "season-saving win," but Avalos said in the post-game press conference that the team just focuses on being 1-0 each week.
Avalos said the team will celebrate their 11th all-time win over the Rams, but they'll quickly turn their focus to working on what they can improve.
Boise State is now 4-4 on the season and 2-2 in conference play. The Broncos' next game is against Fresno State on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 5 p.m. MT and will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network.
"Someone was telling me it's the 13th hardest schedule in the nation, I laughed, feels a lot harder," Avalos said after the game. "But that's the beauty and what we get to do and what that requires of us is to be our best every single day, you know, in our preparation, and they deserved it tonight, man. They deserve the success they had individually but more importantly collectively as a team."
Colorado State drops to 3-5 and 2-3 on the 2021 campaign.
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