It’s been a long time since Boise State football fans had to endure a home loss as bad as Friday’s 42-23 drubbing from Virginia.
Boise State had won eight in a row at home, but quickly found itself on the wrong side of the scoreboard — and it just kept getting worse.
Early in the fourth quarter, Virginia led 42-14. Had the margin stayed that way, it would have been the worst home loss since 1997 when Houston Nutt made his Boise State debut in a 63-23 loss to Cal State Northridge.
But the Broncos added a safety and 40-yard TD reception from Cedrick Wilson in the final 2 minutes, 7 seconds to cut the deficit to 19 points.
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That makes it the worst home loss since 2001 when Washington State topped the Broncos 41-20. Virginia’s 42 points are also the most the Broncos have allowed at home since a 69-67, four-overtime victory over Nevada on Oct. 14, 2007.
“It’s demoralizing, but I think it gives us something to fuel the fire with,” Boise State defensive end Durrant Miles said. “Whether we gave up a lot of rushing yards or a lot of passing yards, or maybe we didn’t execute the best we could have. We didn’t play to the best of our ability. We lost. That’s all stuff we can use to fuel the fire with.”
From 2006 to 2011, Boise State won 35 straight home games. Friday’s loss was just the seventh in 19 seasons.
[More coverage: A ‘demoralizing’ loss; Analysis: Broncos are a .500 team — and it’s not getting better soon; Virginia’s Bronco Mendenhall uses a rare word to spark Cavs; scoring summary and other live coverage]
Before Virginia, Air Force was the last visiting team to win on the Blue. The Falcons led by as many as 21 points and eventually won 37-30 in 2015. Prior to back-to-back losses to Air Force and New Mexico in 2015, Boise State had won 59 out of 61 games at home.
“We have a long ways to go and a lot to learn,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said.
Record night for Wilson overshadowed
Wide receiver Cedrick Wilson made his way into the Boise State record book with 13 receptions for 209 yards and a touchdown against the Cavaliers.
The 209 yards rank as the seventh-highest single-game total in BSU history, and his 13 receptions are tied for eighth-most in a single game.
Those numbers are even more impressive when considering Wilson has been one of the few offensive playmakers for the Broncos this season and was certainly a central part of Virginia’s defensive game plan.
It also was the seventh time in his career Wilson has had 100 or more receiving yards.
Junior wide receiver A.J. Richardson set career highs in receptions (five) and receiving yards (80).
Rypien returns to starting lineup
After sitting out last week against New Mexico with an undisclosed injury, quarterback Brett Rypien reclaimed his spot in the Broncos’ starting lineup.
While Rypien led a seven-play, 80-yard touchdown drive on BSU’s first possession by completing 4 of 5 passes for 62 yards, the offense struggled to produce the remainder of the game.
Rypien finished 24-of-42 passing for 285 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, which came off a tipped ball.
Backup Montell Cozart saw limited playing time a week after leading the Broncos to a win over New Mexico in Rypien’s absence. Cozart came in twice in the first half — once for a hand-off and once for a carry that produced four yards.
Cozart also played in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, throwing the 40-yard TD pass to Wilson with 1:03 left in the game.
Mendenhall breaks through on the Blue
Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall had previously faced Boise State on six occasions — winning twice — but Friday was his first victory at Albertsons Stadium.
Mendenhall was the head coach at BYU for 11 seasons, playing the Broncos four times, including two games on the Blue. He also was the defensive coordinator for the 2003-04 games between BSU and BYU.
“It’s a great win for the program, in a setting that’s really great to be a part of, and it’s on national TV,” Mendenhall said. “Momentum is being generated as we speak.”
Fake-punt fail turns tide for Virginia
Virginia was gifted excellent field position when Boise State tight end Alec Dhaenens dropped the snap on an attempted fake punt in the second quarter.
The Broncos decided to go for it on fourth-and-3 from the Boise State 40-yard line, but Dhaenens couldn’t hang onto the football.
Although the Fruitland High product was able to recover the fumble, Virginia got the ball on the Broncos’ 35-yard line.
Two plays and 31 seconds later, Virginia scored on a 27-yard pass from quarterback Kurt Benkert to receiver Doni Dowling for a 21-7 lead.
“That was huge. We call it complimentary football, so when (our defense) makes a big stop, we need to come out and put points on the board,” Virginia QB Kurt Benkert said. “I think that really changed that phase of the game. That was a good point in the game.”
Largest crowd of season not always friendly
Hosting its first regular-season game against an ACC team, the Broncos played in front of their largest crowd of the season.
The announced attendance for Friday’s game against Virginia was 33,947. The two previous crowds at Albertsons Stadium this year were 31,581 (Troy) and 28,385 (New Mexico).
But the crowd wasn’t always cheering the Broncos on.
On Boise State’s first possession of the second half, the crowd booed when the Broncos chose to punt on fourth-and-5 from the Virginia 42.
The team was again booed for a delay-of-game penalty following a timeout on fourth-and-1 from the BSU 28. The Broncos were trying to draw Virginia offside, but instead ended up with a 5-yard penalty and had to punt.
Fans began leaving in droves by the time Boise State was down 42-14 at the start of the fourth quarter.