Boise State has averaged 10 wins in the four seasons post-Kellen Moore. What the Broncos have not done since the lefty departed is start 2-0, until now.
The Broncos’ 31-28 win Saturday over Washington State gave them wins in their first two games for the first time since 2011. It was a win either closer than it should have been, if you hear the Broncos’ side of it, or the third straight loss at Albertsons Stadium, if the Cougars feel they played well enough to do.
As uneven as it was, the victory sat just fine with the Broncos, looking to go unbeaten week in and week out.
“We put ourselves in that position; it’s one week at a time. ... If we start looking too far ahead, we’re not going to operate the right way and have the right mindset,” coach Bryan Harsin said. “This team, we have to work for everything we’re given, everything we get out there. (Saturday) was exactly that. The offense struggled at times; the defense said, ‘I gotcha.’ There were moments the offense had to make a play, and we hit a big one to Thomas (Sperbeck). We had special teams opportunities out there, too.”
Boise State was outgained 520-420, had two more turnovers than Washington State and had the ball for 30 fewer plays. But sophomore cornerback Tyler Horton’s 85-yard interception return for a touchdown on the game’s first drive and senior defensive end Sam McCaskill’s blocked field goal in the second quarter loomed large.
“I think we moved the ball well all game,” quarterback Luke Falk said. “We put a lot of yards up, but we’d get into the red zone area and just didn’t put the ball in play and we didn’t do things to get ourselves points. I think we won the game, we just didn’t win the score.”
Added Washington State coach Mike Leach: “We beat Boise State in virtually every category, except toughness.”
Paint it whatever way, the Broncos never trailed in the victory, their ninth in 12 games against Pac-12 teams dating back to 2006. Boise State has a bye this coming week and will try to make it 10 wins Sept. 24 at Oregon State.
It’s huge. We’re 2-0. You can’t complain about anything.
Brett Rypien, Boise State quarterback
Sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien had three interceptions in the win, two in the final 5 minutes. Both came on third-and-long, though Harsin said he’ll evaluate his playcalling and added he did not second-guess what his players did on the plays. Rypien said on the final interception, which was in the end zone with 53 seconds left, the call was for a run, but checked into a deep pass when they saw one-on-one coverage. A safety coming onto the field late complicated matters, but both Rypien and Harsin said they saw the safety, still believing they could score.
“At the end of the game, we won it, and we’ll have to learn from those things,” Harsin said.
BRONCOS LOSE POINTS IN POLLS
On Sunday, Boise State received 37 points in the Amway Coaches’ Poll, six spots outside the top 25. Last week, they had 52 points and were four spots outside being ranked for the first time this season. In The Associated Press poll, Boise State had 42 points, five spots outside of the top 25 after having 50 points and being three spots outside being ranked in last week’s poll.
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL
Senior cornerback Raymond Ford knocked down the Cougars’ final pass attempt shy of the goal line as the game ended, sealing the win for the Broncos. The irony is that wasn’t quite what the team had seen all week.
“It was kind of funny, because when we practiced it, he actually missed the ball,” Horton said.
Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @IDS_BroncoBeat