BOISE, Idaho — Heading to LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, UT on Saturday afternoon, the Boise State Broncos were 2-3 on the season, far from the standard Bronco Nation has been accustomed to and facing their biggest challenge of the season - taking on the tenth-ranked and undefeated Brigham Young Cougars in front of 63,000 screaming BYU faithful.
However, by early evening Saturday, it was Bronco Nation who was feeling pure elation after Boise State shocked the world by beating a top ten team on the road for the first time since 2001.
Following the end of the game, Boise State head coach Andy Avalos and several players discussed the Broncos' rivalry win during their post-game press conference. The press conference was live-streamed in this article and on KTVB's YouTube Channel.
The last time Boise State started a season 2-3 was also the last time the Broncos beat a top 10 team on the road. In 2001, the Broncos started the season 2-3 but then went on to beat No. 8 Fresno State University, which was one of the first signature-wins for the Bronco program which had just joined the FBS in 1996.
According to Boise State head coach Andy Avalos after the game, the Broncos worked for this signature win and weren't going to leave Provo, UT without it.
"Being in the underdog role today was awesome. We're gonna keep that mentality regardless. We got a lot to work for, we got a lot to improve on, and we got a lot to show week in, week out," he said.
The feeling of beating a top ten team was something that senior linebacker Riley Whimpey said was hard to describe but one they don't want to let go of.
"It really does feel great though, I'll tell you that after losing to BYU the past two years, you know, it left a sour taste in my mouth so to be able to come back this year, on the road, beating a top ten program in the nation is something else and it really is something that I can't put into words," Whimpey said after the game.
Slideshow: Boise State vs. BYU
The beginning of this year's rivalry matchup started off rough for the Broncos when the Cougars jumped out to a 0-10 lead with 6:55 left in the first. From there, the Broncos were largely in control. With back-to-back rushing touchdowns for the Broncos and a 20-yard field goal to close the first half, the Broncos lead 20-10 at halftime.
Boise State's lead grew to 23-10 when Jonah Dalmas made a 28-yard field goal with 8:20 left in the third.
The Cougars showed life mid-way through the fourth quarter when they were about to put a four-play, 70-yard drive together to score a rushing touchdown to bring the score to 23-17.
The Broncos responded to the Cougars' touchdown with another field goal by Dalmas with 3:27 left in the game to put the Broncos up by nine, 26-17.
In the final minutes of the game, down by two possessions, the Cougars marched down the field and but the Broncos crushed the Cougars' comeback win hopes when Boise State nickel Kekaula Kaniho made an interception with 1:59 left in the game.
While the Broncos' passing attack's stat line likely won't impress many but junior quarterback Hank Bachmeier confidently led the Broncos' offense. He completed 18 of his 29 pass attempts for 172 yards and no touchdowns and no interceptions.
On the ground, the Broncos' rushing attack found its grove and proved to be key to keeping the Cougars off the field. Senior running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio led the Boise State stable of backs with 18 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown. Andrew Van Buren also carried the rock 18 times for 60 yards and a touchdown.
For Bachmeier, winning this rivalry game against a Top 10 team meant so much for the program and coaches.
Senior linebacker Riley Whimpey said after the game that the team shot itself in the foot in their three losses this year and they made sure to put in all the work and preparation needed to get a win on Saturday.
The Broncos are now 3-3 on the season and will return to Mountain West Conference play next week when they host the Falcons of the Air Force Academy (4-1, 1-1).
"If we work the way we did this week and we commit ourselves to doing things it takes to play like that for four quarters, then we have a really good team.
I think the guys understand that now, they have a better understanding of what it takes to be able to play like this and perform like this," Avalos said.
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