Six weeks ago might as well seem like it was six years.
That’s when the Boise State football team was at a crossroads, coming off a brutal loss at home to Virginia. But in the five games since, the Broncos have played better and better — no small task going into November.
But here we are, as Boise State has a quintet of consecutive victories, outscoring opponents 161-63 in the process, including back-to-back 41-14 wins at Utah State and at home against Nevada.
“They’ve been (focused) consistently, and I hope it continues,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “To have our guys go and play like they did against a team like that, we’re excited and proud of them.”
The Broncos will hit the road again for a pivotal Mountain Division game at Colorado State at 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday on CBS Sports Network. Boise State has yet to be ranked this season, but is inching closer. The Broncos are five spots outside the top 25 in both the Associated Press and USA Today coaches’ polls.
Here is our report card for the Broncos’ win over Nevada:
On Thursday, senior tight end Jake Roh said of the offense, “there’s a mojo the team has, it’s fun, there’s laser focus, we’re not all puckered up or whatever.”
That kept going against the Wolf Pack, as the Broncos racked up 270 first-half yards and 31 points by halftime. All of their first six drives resulted in points, including five touchdowns.
“We are spreading the ball around, we are having a good time out there, and improving every week,” junior quarterback Brett Rypien said. “We talked about starting out fast all week, and we did exactly that.”
Boise State has not turned the ball over since Rypien’s first pass attempt Oct. 6 at BYU. From 11 players making receptions to three passers combining to complete 25-of-34 for 339 yards, it was a balanced effort. The Broncos rushed for 140 yards, no carry going longer than 16 yards. They were 9-of-14 on third downs.
The offensive line did not allow a sack. Pretty much the only negative was picking up three points on the final four drives.
“Even at the end of the game, I didn’t think we finished the game very well … I don’t care what you’re up by, you don’t want to give the ball away with 5 minutes left,” Harsin said.
Nevada was averaging 39.7 points per game coming into Saturday, and had 14 points in the first 17 minutes, 18 seconds. But that was it. The Wolf Pack had two first-half plays of more than 20 yards, and just one in the second half. They had been averaging nearly six per game.
Boise State trails only Washington with fewest plays of 20-plus allowed (24).
“We know that teams are going to be able to make big plays on us, but it comes down to playing with composure and playing four quarters of football,” sophomore safety Kekoa Nawahine said. “… We changed some things up and were able to play our game.”
Three different Broncos intercepted Nevada quarterback Ty Gangi, and even with the game well in hand, the defense allowed just 88 second-half yards. Running back Kelton Moore’s 106 yards were the most by a rusher against Boise State this season. The Broncos’ line was tested without starters David Moa and Durrant Miles for all but one play.
“It was shedding blocks, reading keys … once we made our adjustments, everybody, we got a rhythm for what they were going to do, we were able to hone in and stop the run,” sophomore safety DeAndre Pierce said.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
There were not a ton of opportunities for either team to make plays in the kicking game, with neither getting a punt return opportunity, and the Broncos had kickoff returns of just 16 and 20 yards. The Broncos’ two punts went for a total of 60 yards. However, junior kicker Haden Hoggarth continued his impressive debut season, hitting field goals of 20 and 41 (which tied his longest of the year).