BOISE, Idaho — Editor's Note: The video above is Boise State's post-game press conference following their 49-30 win over Air Force on Saturday, Oct. 31.
Boise State head football coach Bryan Harsin announced on Tuesday that the Broncos will be without one of their top defensive players for the rest of the season.
Sophomore defensive end Demitri Washington was injured in the second quarter of the Air Force game last Saturday. He was helped on the field and eventually taken to the locker room on a cart.
"We feel terrible for him. He has worked so hard," Harsin said. "I think he was one of the guys going all the way back to June, that didn't miss one workout. Nothing. He's been at it the entire time."
Against Air Force, junior college transfer Shane Irwin stepped in for Washington and played well, finishing the game with eight tackles, the second-most on the team. The only Bronco to log more tackles was nose tackle Keeghan Freeborn (9 tackles, 5 solo) who filled in for injured starter Scale Igiehon.
Harsin mentioned that Washington was set to undergo an MRI on Tuesday to find out more about the extent of the injury.
According to a source, Washington suffered an ACL injury. Just last year, the Broncos also lost starting LB Ezekiel Noa to a season-ending ACL injury against Air Force.
Washington kicked off the season with a five tackle performance against Utah State and had four tackles against the Falcons before leaving the game.
With BYU looming ahead, Washington is still looking to impact that game, even though he won't be able to play in it.
"He's one of the guys that I consider a team-leader," said Harsin. "He was out at practice [on Monday] on his crutches. He's out there just like he's always been, focused, helping guys prepare."
"He has not taken his foot off the gas," said defensive coordinator Jeff Schmedding. "He's basically coach Washington right now."
"To me, that's exactly the example of the type of people that you're looking for to be in your program," Harsin added.
The injuries to defensive line starters hurt, particularly since the team was already trying to fill some major holes left by the departures of 2019 defensive standouts Curtis Weaver, David Moa, Sonatane Lui and Chase Hatada.
Fortunately for the Broncos, though, they have solid depth at nearly every position, and the backups played admirably against the Falcons.
Washington and Igiehon weren't the only players knocked out of last week's game. Starting running back George Holani went down with an apparent knee injury in the first quarter. Andrew Van Buren provided relief at the position, rushing for 70 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns.
Adding to the adversity, starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier and starting safety JL Skinner did not make the trip to Colorado Springs, for undisclosed reasons, although Boise State confirmed that one player missed the game due to a positive COVID-19 test. Harsin would not say on Tuesday whether Bachmeier or Holani would be available for Friday's game against BYU. He did say, however, that Skinner was cleared to play.
"We'll figure out what this next week looks like and you guys know this - this is such an unusual year with so many different things, and that's part of what we are dealing with," Harsin said. "It's not a normal season where you know going into each and every week what is going to be the case with your players, and the situation that you're going to be in."
In the absence of Bachmeier, USC transfer Jack Sears had a stellar game, completing 17 of 20 passes for 280 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for a fourth touchdown.