HEDRICK STILL THE STARTER
Senior Grant Hedrick remains the Boise State football team’s starting quarterback, coach Bryan Harsin said Saturday after benching Hedrick during the Air Force game.
Hedrick threw four interceptions in three quarters — matching his total from the season opener against Ole Miss.
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Redshirt freshman Ryan Finley led two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter.
“Grant’s our starting quarterback,” Harsin said. “ Grant’s done a great job for us. Grant’s done a really good job in (three) games and didn’t have a great game tonight. We didn’t have a great game as a team. We stand by each other and we stand by him.
“Until we go back and evaluate it, I don’t know if it’s scheme. I don’t know if it’s something we did.”
Harsin did leave a slight crack for a different quarterback decision.
“We’ve got to go back and watch the tape,” he said. “We’ll make no decisions until we go back and watch the film.”
Neither quarterback was made available to the media.
Boise State benched starting quarterback Jared Zabransky a couple times in 2005 but he never lost his job. No quarterback has lost his job midseason to anything but injury or suspension in the WAC/Mountain West era (since 2001).
AIR FORCE 28, BOISE STATE 14
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Another road no-show.
The mistake-prone Boise State football team committed seven turnovers Saturday night at Falcon Stadium and failed to score in the first three quarters — both for the first time in 12 years (2002, Arkansas) — on their way to a Mountain West Mountain Division loss at Air Force.
The Falcons won 28-14 — building a 28-0 lead and holding on in the fourth quarter, when redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Finley led the Broncos to a pair of touchdowns.
Senior starting quarterback Grant Hedrick tossed four interceptions for the second time this season — including one inside the Air Force 20-yard line and another that gave the Falcons a field goal.
The Broncos (3-2 overall, 1-1 Mountain West) lost to a member of the Mountain Division for the first time since 1997. They had won 30 in a row against those teams.
“We didn’t come out with the fire I thought we had,” junior center Marcus Henry said. “It was a little flat right when we came out.”
The Broncos finally found some life in the fourth quarter when coach Bryan Harsin inserted Finley, whose only previous snap was to take a knee on the last play against Louisiana.
Harsin had stuck with Hedrick through three interceptions, but the fourth one was returned 56 yards to allow the Falcons to take a 20-0 lead late in the third quarter.
Harsin said he didn’t regret the timing of his decision.
“You’d like to let a guy kind of battle his way through,” he said. “Just because a guy makes a mistake doesn’t mean you go out there and put him on the shelf. And that goes for everybody. I wanted to see Grant battle his way through it and it just got to a point where I just felt like we needed a change. We tried to get somebody out there to create a spark.”
Boise State was held scoreless in the first half Saturday night at Air Force for the first time since the 2012 BYU game. The Broncos won that game 7-6.
Air Force led 17-0 at halftime.
The Broncos also were shut out through three quarters for the first time since the 2002 game at Arkansas (41-14 loss).
Boise State got on the board in the fourth quarter to extend its scoring streak to 216 consecutive games dating to the 1997 game against Washington State. That was the 12th-longest active streak in the country and the 22nd-longest streak of all-time going into the week.
The Broncos scored with 9:55 left in the game — the latest they have scored their first points since now-coach Bryan Harsin’s touchdown pass against UCLA in 1999 (2:00 left).
Boise State played without five season-opening starters on defense: cornerback Donte Deayon (second game missed), safety Darian Thompson (first), safety Jeremy Ioane (second), cornerback Cleshawn Page (third) and defensive tackle Tyler Horn (out for year).
Deayon and Thompson made the trip but did not wear their uniforms. Harsin hopes to get them back next week.
Ioane has missed two straight games because of an illness. Harsin said he likely will play next week.
Senior Corey Bell and sophomore Chanceller James started at safety. Linebacker Tanner Vallejo was the nickel. Bryan Douglas started at cornerback and got injured during the game. Redshirt freshman Cameron Hartsfield replaced him.
Left tackle Rees Odhiambo, who has missed three games now, didn’t play. Redshirt freshman Eli McCullough started at left tackle. Fellow redshirt freshman Archie Lewis started the previous two games. McCullough had two false starts, a holding penalty and a hands-to-the-face penalty in his first start.
Turnover-free streak ends
Boise State senior quarterback Grant Hedrick overthrew a pass to wide receiver Matt Miller on the opening drive. Weston Steelhammer intercepted for Air Force.
The Broncos’ offense had gone more than two and a half games without a turnover.
The Broncos added a fumble by tailback Jay Ajayi on the first play of their second drive and an interception by Hedrick on the fourth drive, when the Broncos got the ball on the Air Force 15-yard line. Hedrick also threw a pass on the third drive that was ruled an interception and overturned on replay review.
Hedrick added two more interceptions in the second half — for 11 in his seven career starts at road or neutral sites — and then was benched.
Hedrick finished 18-for-33 for 209 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions.
Miller leaves again
Miller was unable to finish a game for the second straight week. He rolled an ankle against Louisiana but returned for the Air Force game.
In the second quarter, Miller appeared to either aggravate the injury or sustain a new leg injury. He was wearing a boot on his left leg in the second half.
Miller made four catches for 45 yards in the game. He is 15 yards short of breaking the school record for career receiving yards.
Harsin did not have an update on Miller’s status.
Six members of the Wings of Blue parachute team flew into Falcon Stadium before the game. The last jumper: the falcon mascot. The goal is to land on the “AF” logo at midfield. The last two jumpers, including the mascot, hit the mark despite windy conditions.
Boise State wore orange helmets with white pants and jerseys. The single-game captains were tailback Jack Fields and defensive end Beau Martin, who is from Denver. Defensive end Kamalei Correa carried the Hammer. Air Force won the coin toss and took the ball. Sophomore Thomas Sperbeck led the team with six catches for 79 yards. James led the team with 13 tackles, including 10 solos. He also recovered a fumble. Linebacker Tyler Gray and cornerback Jonathan Moxey forced fumbles. Redshirt freshman tight end Alec Dhaenens scored his first touchdown on his first catch. It was also the first TD by a tight end since the 2012 MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.
Coach Bryan Harsin
— “I wish I had an answer for the seven turnovers. The defense, they played really well at times and there was only so long that they can hang on.”
— On Miller’s injury: “I don’t know how much we lost. Sperbeck came in and made a spectacular catch. He did some things I was really impressed with. I thought he took advantage of his opportunity. But obviously Matt’s a player who’s made big things happen for us. Not having him out there is a big loss for us.”
— On whether the team was ready: “I always think we’re ready to play. If I didn’t, we’d obviously say something. I always feel like we’re ready to play. We’ve been very similar going into games. The difference is the turnovers in the games.”
— On playing on the road: “I don’t know if it’s any one particular thing. Any time you go play on the road, you have to go handle adverse situations and momentum and energy and all that. The bottom line is we don’t hurt ourselves with penalties, we don’t hurt ourselves with turnovers, we’ve won on the road — we did that against UConn. We know the formula. The key is cleaning up those things, getting back to work.”
Marcus Henry, center
— “We started off slow. It was a rough day for the Broncos.”
— “They dialed us up on the right day. We weren’t completely all there. We have to show up ready to play every day.”
— On Hedrick: “I have all the confidence in the world in Grant. I love Grant. I think he’s going to bounce back next week. A little rough night for him — a rough night for us all together. It’s not all on him.”
Shane Williams-Rhodes, wide receiver
— “We just shot ourselves in the foot with penalties and getting behind the chains and that’s what helped cause the turnovers, so it’s all on us. We just shot ourselves in the foot.”
— On Finley: “I think Finley did wonderful. He came in and did what he was asked to do. I don’t know how everything will work out, but I thought he did an awesome job.”
— “I just feel like we got a little complacent and it comes back to turnovers every time. We can’t win with seven turnovers.”
Corey Bell, safety
— On the loss: “I think it’s going to be some motivation going into this coming week to prepare a little bit better.”
— On Air Force QB Kale Pearson’s running in the second quarter: “We were just having a hard time getting our alley player down there. We fixed it in the third quarter and it seemed to be slowed down the rest of the game.”
— “Any time you have that many turnovers, it’s hard to win the game. It hurts morale a little bit, but I don’t think it’s something that really killed us a team.”
— On Finley: “I thought Finley played really well, especially kind of being thrown into the fire right there. I thought he did a really good job and made some big completions, obviously (Thomas) Sperbeck made a great catch on that ball from Finley. Id be interested to see his stats at the end of the night, but I was impressed with him going in there in a tough situation and going in there and leading the offense and playing well.”
Tanner Vallejo, linebacker
— On the start: “The worst it could get. Turnovers and then defense didn’t do their part by letting them drive down the field on us.”
— On the defense forcing two turnovers in the fourth quarter: “We were just trying to make something happen and it was a little late.”
AF — Garrett Brown 4 pass from Kale Pearson (Will Conant kick), 7:26. Key play: Boise State tailback Jay Ajayi fumbled and Air Force’s Troy Timmerman recovered on the Broncos’ 10-yard line. The touchdown came on a great play-action fake. Drive: 3 plays, 10 yards, :58. Air Force 7, Boise State 0
AF — Kale Pearson 5 run (Conant kick), 8:19. Key plays: Devin Rushing gained 11 yards on a sweep and Pearson gained 20 yards on a keeper. Drive: 10 plays, 70 yards, 4:28. Air Force 14, Boise State 0
AF — Conant 25 field goal, :00. Key plays: Pearson ran for 23 yards on the first play, from the Air Force 14-yard line. He added a 10-yard run and an 18-yard completion. Drive: 10 plays, 78 yards, 1:48. Air Force 17, Boise State 0
AF — Conant 21 field goal, 1:47. Key plays: Jordan Pierce returned an interception 56 yards to the Boise State 9-yard line, but the defense held. Drive: 4 plays, 6 yards, 2:05. Air Force 20, Boise State 0
AF — Jacobi Owens 10 run (Garrett Brown pass from Pearson), 11:35. Key plays: Owens ran for 23 yards and Pearson ran for 42. Drive: 5 plays, 81 yards, 1:29. Air Force 28, Boise State 0
BSU — Alec Dhaenens 2 pass from Ryan Finley (Dan Goodale kick), 9:55. Key plays: Finley hit tight end Jake Roh for 43 yards, tight end Holden Huff for 16 yards and drew a pass interference penalty with another throw to Huff. Dhaenens’ touchdown was the first by a Broncos tight end since 2012. Drive: 6 plays, 69 yards, 1:33. Air Force 28, Boise State 7
BSU — Shane Williams-Rhodes 10 pass from Finley (Goodale kick), 6:21. Key plays: Thomas Sperbeck made a twisting adjustment on a deep ball for a 31-yard gain and Williams-Rhodes got into the end zone on fourth-and-goal after catching the ball at the 5. Drive: 5 plays, 39 yards, 1:29. Air Force 28, Boise State 14
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