Boise State Football

Boise State seeks better execution after odd loss to New Mexico

Bryan Harsin pre-New Mexico, part 1

Harsin talks New Mexico on Oct. 4
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Harsin talks New Mexico on Oct. 4

Boise State’s 31-24 loss to New Mexico on Nov. 14, 2015, remains one of the strangest in program history.

The Broncos, 30-point favorites, were stunned after losing only their fourth home game in 15 years.

The Lobos posed for a team picture on the blue after the game.

But what actually happened on the field during the game defied logic. The final stats were loaded with oddities.

Boise State no doubt will look for a cleaner effort when it faces New Mexico on the road at 8:15 p.m. Friday (CBS Sports Network).

“We’re not talking about revenge. We’ve just got to execute, do our jobs,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “We’re trying to spend time on the things that really matter, that we can focus on and get better at.”

Whether the revenge factor is again on the minds of the 19th-ranked Broncos, the memories of that game — all of its twists and turns — they won’t be forgotten. Let us count the ways:

BAD EXECUTION IN KEY SITUATIONS

New Mexico was 0-for-10 on third downs; Boise State was 9-of-23.

The Broncos were 2-of-6 on red-zone opportunities, coming away with a field goal and a touchdown on the two successful visits. The four failed drives ended at the Lobos’ 9, 5, 2 and 15-yard line as they threw an interception, missed a field goal, fumbled and turned the ball over.

“We’re reliving that misery,” Boise State co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Scott Huff said this week. “We’ve got to do a better job of (red zone) overall. ... You’re flirting with fire when you start giving the ball up. It won’t end well for you.”

FYI: New Mexico, with its triple option offensive attack, finished the game with 11 first downs. Boise State had 40 — and still lost.

BIG PLAYS WERE COMMON

Boise State racked up 638 yards of offense, but those failures on third down, fourth down (2-of-5) and in the red zone sank the Broncos.

On the other hand, New Mexico had 413 yards thanks to a 74-yard run and passes of 42, 46 and 81 yards. Those four plays made up 59 percent of the Lobos’ total production. Boise State’s longest play was 42 yards.

“The pass plays are a result of attacking in the run game,” Boise State defensive coordinator Andy Avalos said. “The (defensive backs) have to make sure they’re playing with great eye control. That’s very difficult on them.”

Avalos said Tuesday that Boise State “won’t be a gambling defense,” being smart when trying for turnovers and making open-field tackles.

FYI: Boise State punted twice in the game, New Mexico eight times.

BSU RAN A CRAZY AMOUNT OF PLAYS

Almost a year later, it’s still tiring to think about: the Broncos ran 115 plays against the Lobos (tied for the most by any FBS team in the past 10 seasons), averaging 5.6 yards per play. The Lobos ran 52 plays for 7.9 yards a play.

Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien threw a school-record 75 times, and wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck had school records of 20 receptions and 281 yards.

“That’s not what we do,” Harsin said. “That’s not the gameplan we’d like to go into this game with, where we’re throwing the ball (75) times, so that was uncharacteristic.

“We’d like to be a whole lot more balanced than we were last year.”

FYI: Boise State passed for 503 yards and ran for 135.

BOTH TEAMS MADE MISTAKES

New Mexico had 16 penalties for 135 yards, while Boise State was penalized four times for 39 yards. Lobos coach Bob Davie said after the game that penalties made the game more interesting than he had hoped.

Boise State had four turnovers, which turned into 10 New Mexico points, while the Boise State receivers dropped nearly 10 passes, including two that were tipped into the hands of Lobos for interceptions.

“Watching the film last year, there were a couple plays we wish we could have back,” New Mexico safety Daniel Henry said. “We’re excited to play every team, but Boise is that team every team is shooting for. ... Everyone knows in the conference, BSU is the team you have to beat. This is a big game for us.”

Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @IDS_BroncoBeat

No. 19 Boise State at New Mexico

  • When: 7 p.m. MT Friday
  • Where: University Stadium (39,224, FieldTurf); Albuquerque, N.M.
  • TV: CBS Sports Network (Carter Blackburn, Aaron Taylor, Jenny Dell)
  • Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KTIK 93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)
  • Records: Boise State 4-0, 1-0 Mountain West; New Mexico 2-2, 1-0
  • Kickoff weather: Low 60s and partly cloudy, light winds, 50 percent chance of rain
  • Vegas line: Boise State by 17
  • Series: Boise State leads 6-1 (Lobos won last meeting 31-24 in Boise, 2015)
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