BOISE, Idaho — After a rough start to the 2021 college football season, the Boise State Broncos improved to 2-2 on the year after a strong overall showing against the Utah State Aggies.
On Saturday morning, the Broncos beat the Aggies 27-3 in a strong showing by the Boise State defense.
In Boise State's 27-3 win over Utah State, the Broncos finally played a complete game and lived up to their potential and ruined the Aggies' hottest start since the late 1970s.
The Broncos' defense was the star of Saturday morning's Mountain West Conference matchup. While the Aggies were able to move up and down the field seemingly at will, Boise State kept Utah State, one of the top offenses in the country, from scoring for three whole quarters.
The Aggies' offense finally got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter after their defense intercepted Boise State junior quarterback Hank Bachmeier with minutes left in the third quarter.
The Aggies took advantage of the sudden change of possession and marched down the field in the last moments of the third. However, the Broncos' defense kept the Aggies out of the endzone and forced the Aggies to score their first points of the game with a 20-yard field goal to bring the score to 17-3 with 14:03 left in the game.
The Broncos' responded to the Aggies' field goal with one of their own with 10:29 left in the game to bring the score to 20-3. During the Aggies' next possession on offense, Utah State coughed up the ball and Boise State recovered the fumble with excellent field position, which they took advantage of.
Slideshow: Boise State vs. Utah State
With 5:09 left in the fourth, the Broncos scored on a big-man touchdown when defensive tackle Scott Matlock caught a three-yard touchdown pass. The late score increased the Broncos' lead to 24 points, with the score 27-3.
After the game, Bachmeier said Matlock is always in that play package in the goal line and was excited about the big-man touchdown.
"I hope he would have caught it because he was wide open, you know, I would give him something for the rest of his life but he made a great play for sure," he said.
Boise State's defense truly lived up to the mantra of bend but don't break. The Aggies' offense racked up 443 total yards, but two interceptions, a fumble recovery and a blocked field goal by the Broncos kept Utah State from scoring.
"The yards are gonna be there and we knew that they're going to get their explosive plays but how we limit those, more importantly in the critical downs, the money downs," head coach Andy Avalos said after the game.
Avalos added that it was a battle stopping the Aggies in the redzone and that was one of the Broncos' focus during practice leading up to the game.
For Boise State's offense, the running game had its best outing this season with 148 rushing yards on 42 total carries between seven players. Junior running back George Holani led the Broncos' running back committee with 46 yards on 11 carries.
Running back Andrew Van Buren once again showed it's not about how many carries a back gets but rather what they do with them. He scored the Broncos' sole rushing touchdown on a single two-yard rush, one of his two carries of the game.
Aside from the Aggies' sole interception of Bachmeier, the junior played one of his best games, completing 22 of 39 of his passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns.
"I think that game was a grinder kind of game. It was a tough game, even 27-3, it was a lot tougher than 27-3," Bachmeier said after the game.
Khalil Shakir led the Broncos' wide receiving corps with 113 yards on seven receptions and one touchdown. He also had a career-long 69-yard reception.
After their win over Mountain Division foe Utah State, the Broncos are 2-2 on the season and will return to Boise to defend The Blue against the Nevada Wolfpack on Saturday, Oct. 2. The rivalry game is scheduled to kickoff at 1:30 p.m. MT.
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