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Boise State tops Utah State 42-23, finishes undefeated in conference play

Boise State sent its seniors off in style on The Blue Friday, defeating Utah State 42-23. The Broncos finish the regular season 8-0 in Mountain West play.

BOISE, Idaho — A fourth-down interception by Gabe Hunter sealed the deal for Boise State Friday, as the Broncos knocked off Utah State 42-23 at Albertsons Stadium.

Considering his 2022 performance, its fitting Taylen Green ended the contest with a 91-yard touchdown run on the next play to give Boise State a perfect 8-0 record in Mountain West play and senior day victory.

After jumping out to a 21-0 lead, Boise State (9-3, 8-0 MW) found itself up just 28-23 prior to the heads-up play by Hunter, Green's scamper and a interception returned for six by Seyi Oladipo.

"This is a time of year where – especially in this game – things get really tough," head coach Andy Avalos said. "Your challenges continue to grow, but it's awesome to be able to go through it with a family like ours."

The Broncos have now won seven-straight over the Aggies (6-6, 5-3 MW) and are heading to the Mountain West Championship at home. Boise State faces Fresno State on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. MT on FOX.

KTVB's three instant takeaways from Friday's win:

1) Ejection creates energy

Credit: AP
Boise State safety JL Skinner celebrates after Utah State turned the ball over on downs in the second half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won 42-23. (AP Photo/Steve Conner)

Early in the first quarter, Boise State standout safety JL Skinner had his senior day cut short on a targeting call. Skinner drilled a Utah State player who caught a pass in the middle of the field on a fake punt. 

The was questionable, and resulted in Skinner's ejection. The senior was visibly frustrated on his way to the sideline as he talked to head coach Andy Avalos and defensive lineman Scott Matlock. 

Although disappointing for Skinner, the ejection sparked a run for Boise State after both teams punted three times to start the contest.

With Skinner out, and his strong safety backup Alexander Teubner also out Friday, Tyreque Jones moved from the nickel spot to cover the back end. Seyi Oladipo filled in at nickel. 

On Utah State's first 25 plays of the game, the Aggies totaled just 33 yards.

Six plays after the ejection, Utah State missed a field goal to break the 0-0 deadlock after the ball hit a lineman. From there, Boise State slammed the gas pedal, using the Skinner loss as motivation. 

On the Broncos' next offensive possession, Taylen Green and Co. marched 65 yards in nine plays to score the first touchdown of the game on a six-yard touchdown pass to Eric McAlister. 

Avalos seemed calm and more concerned with assuring Skinner after the questionable targeting call. However, when McAlister found the end zone to ignite Albertsons Stadium, Avalos was fired up.

Spencer Danielson's defense limited Utah State to a total of three yards on its three drives following Skinner's ejection. The hard-hitting safety continued to support his teammates from the sidelines of Albertsons Stadium.

Skinner will be available for the entire Mountain West Championship next week against Fresno State, since his ejection came in the first half of Friday's game.

2) McAlister making moves

Credit: Boise State Football / Twitter (@BroncoSportsFB)

Roughly one month ago, McAlister was yet to have a reception in 2022. Entering the season, he was not even listed as a top-six wide receiver on Boise State's two-deep depth chart ahead of the opener at Oregon State.

The Texas native grabbed his first pass on Oct. 22 against Air Force, picking up 44 yards and igniting the engine. Fast forward 30 days, and McAlister – along with the No. 1 X wideout, Billy Bowens – are playing a massive part in Boise State's success.

During the Broncos' three-game stretch of Colorado State, BYU and Nevada, McAlister tallied six receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown. 

On the first score of the game from six yards out, McAlister confidently reeled in a six-yard touchdown in the back right corner of the end zone on a nice pass from Green. 

Green found the second-year freshman receiver for another score less than 10 minutes later. With McAlister between two defenders in the middle of the end zone, Green trusted his guy on a 25-yard toss. 

McAlister's second touchdown put the Broncos up 21-0.

Latrell Caples also got in on the scoring action between the McAlister touchdowns. Caples burned his defender down the middle of the field, allowing Green to air it out on the 50-yard hookup. 

It could be more than just the Skinner ejection, but considering the way the blue and orange rolled in the second quarter, the Broncos were fired up for their senior safety. 

Boise State defensive coordinator Dirk Koetter seemed to smell blood in the water with the Broncos on a roll. Prior to the first McAlister score, Koetter dialed up a deep ball that saw Green and Bowens connect for 41 yards. 

On the Broncos' third scoring drive, Green found Matt Lauter for 29 yards. On the next play, Green aired it out deep to Bowens again, drawing a pass interference that gave Boise State the ball across midfield. 

Green iced Friday's win with a 91-yard touchdown carry, the longest in Boise State history. The second-year freshman finished 14-of-23 with 220 yards and four touchdowns through the air.

3) Schramm, Simpson, Scott shine

Credit: AP
Boise State defensive tackle Scott Matlock (99) celebrates with Boise State place kicker Jonah Dalmas after his 1 yard touchdown catch in the second half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won 42-23. (AP Photo/Steve Conner)

Prior to kickoff Friday, the following Broncos were ruled out: 

Cade Beresford (OL), Michael Callahan (DL), Stefan Cobbs (WR), Will Ferrin (K/P), Herbert Gums (DT), Cord Kringlen (OL), Ezekiel Noa (LB), Riley Smith (TE), Alex Teubner (S), Demitri Washington (EDGE), Zion Washington (S) and Cole Wright (WR).

After giving up just 108 total yards in the first half, the missing pieces started to show for Boise State. The Aggies muscled their way back into the game, going for 195 total yards and 10 points in 15 minutes. 

During the third quarter, defensive end Ahmed Hassanein left the game with an injury and the explosive Tyreque Jones went down early in the fourth quarter. 

With a reshaped squad looking to move forward to next week's title game, Boise State's linebackers stepped up to lead the way. 

Fifth-year senior DJ Schramm was all over The Blue Friday, racking up a team-high 14 tackles, including four tackles-for-loss. Without Noa by his side, Schramm made sure his presence was felt often. 

Schramm also came up with a three-yard loss as Utah State neared the end zone on third down late in Friday's game. 

Norwalk, Calif., native Andrew Simpson also stepped up against the Aggies, taking a page out of Skinner's book with a handful of hard-hitting tackles and a pass breakup. 

Simpson, a second-year freshman, tallied nine solo tackles and eight total. He added a sack and two tackles-for-loss to stuff the stat sheet.

For the second time in a row against Utah State, Matlock scored a receiving touchdown. On Friday, the defensive lineman scored from one-yard out as Boise State brought in the Clydesdales package at the goal line. 

Matlock slid into the corner of the end zone from the end of the offensive line, making an impressive catch while moving to his right in traffic.

"Winning on The Blue, touchdown in the south end zone on offense, couple plays on defense – sounds pretty good – but I'm just glad we got the win," Matlock said.


  • Jones was eventually carted off the field. At the end of Friday's game, the Broncos were down to Bryce Cleave at safety, a redshirt freshman walk-on player.
  • George Holani did not appear in the fourth quarter against the Aggies. Holani was seen with ice on his shoulder on the sideline after reaching for the goal line on a 27-yard carry.
  • Before leaving the game, Holani hit the 1,000-yard mark for the season on the ground.
Credit: StatBroadcast
Credit: StatBroadcast

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