Boise State senior cornerback Tyler Horton felt right at home sitting in the Broncos’ new Turnover Throne.
Honoring the defense’s mantra of the “Kings of Chaos,” Horton had a hand in an interception and two fumble recoveries on Saturday night in the 56-20 win over Troy.
“Oh it’s real comfortable,” Horton said. “I could get used to that one.”
Horton scored on both fumbles he picked up, the first a 55-yard return in the third quarter after safety Kekoa Nawahine popped the ball into the air. Then he scored from 11 yards out in the fourth quarter off a sack by defensive end Durrant Miles.
Since the NCAA began keeping track in 1992, only four other players have scored on a pair of fumble recoveries in a single game.
“You score twice on defense, you’re probably going to have a really good chance at winning the game,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said.
Recently selected as a captain with fellow seniors Brett Rypien and Jabril Frazier, Horton played that way Saturday. He broke up a screen pass the third play of the second quarter, and the deflection was caught by linebacker Tony Lashley for the first of four turnovers the defense created. Horton also had four tackles.
Horton’s strong defensive play came after a special teams miscue in which he led a Troy defender into punt returner Avery Williams. Horton bumped Williams, who lost his footing and had the punt deflect off him, recovered by the Trojans.
But stressing a need to focus on the next play, Horton did just that sitting upon the throne after one of his touchdowns, springing off it to cover a kickoff.
“Special teams always matter, especially when you play for the Broncos,” Horton said.
TWO STARTERS OUT, WILLIAMS HURT
Sophomore wide receiver Octavius Evans and senior defensive tackle David Moa did not play Saturday, though both were suited up. They have dealt with recent injuries, though Harsin said they were “gametime decisions” and was hopeful they will play next Saturday against UConn.
In the fourth quarter, Williams tried to make a tackle, and junior defensive lineman Chase Hatada came in to make the stop, but his helmet his Williams’ elbow, prompting the training staff to come onto the field. Williams did not return. Harsin said he did not know his status immediately after the game.
FIRSTS FOR BSU’S RECEIVERS
Boise State’s two shortest receivers made an impact Saturday, as 5-foot-8 sophomore CT Thomas hauled in a 54-yard touchdown pass from Rypien and 5-10 junior Akilian Butler caught a 3-yard score in the second quarter.
It was the first career receiving touchdown for both. Butler had a rushing touchdown in 2015 as a freshman. He missed nearly all of last season, tearing his ACL in the Broncos’ second game, at Washington State.
“Coming off a knee injury and then having that critical play down there for a touchdown, it was kind of a little option route where he had the decision to make on it and did a really good job, that was great,” Harsin said.
QB CORD PROVIDES ‘SNEAK PEEK’
In his first game for the Broncos, redshirt freshman quarterback Chase Cord stepped onto the field in Troy with the game well in hand in the fourth quarter. He still found a way to make a play that had people talking.
On his second snap, Cord took a run off the right side and cut through the defense on his way to a 44-yard touchdown run with 5 minutes, 4 seconds to play. The Arizona native showed Boise State fans what he can do when he had a 70-yard TD run in the spring game. Cord may have a role this season as a mobile option.
“I was so happy for him,” Rypien said. “That’s just a little sneak peek of what’s to come with Chase Cord. Just an unbelievable athlete, a great kid.”
Williams, who had an 81-yard punt return last season against Troy, carried the Hammer. ... Senior defensive end Durrant Miles was the honorary captain. ... Junior safety DeAndre Pierce led the Broncos with 12 tackles. Miles had two sacks. ... Boise State won the coin toss and deferred. ... Boise State equipment manager Dale Holste, who had been at 272 consecutive Boise State games, did not make the trip after having a procedure on his back during the summer. ... It was the 50th win for Harsin as a head coach, 43 at Boise State and seven at Arkansas State.