Boise State Football

Final: Boise State 44, Air Force 19; Broncos clinch division

Boise State wide receiver A.J. Richardson scores a touchdown on an 87-yard reception defended by Air Force defensive back James Jones in the first quarter Saturday at Albertsons Stadium in Boise.
Boise State wide receiver A.J. Richardson scores a touchdown on an 87-yard reception defended by Air Force defensive back James Jones in the first quarter Saturday at Albertsons Stadium in Boise. doswald@idahostatesman.com

The Boise State football team ended a three-game losing streak to Air Force with a 44-19 victory on Saturday at Albertsons Stadium.

It was the Broncos’ first win over the Falcons since 2013. Earlier in the day, Boise State found out it will vie for its first conference title since 2014 thanks to Fresno State’s win over Wyoming.

The championship game between Boise State and Fresno State will be at 5:45 p.m. MT on Dec. 2. The two former Western Athletic Conference rivals have not played since 2014, but will now meet twice in a week.

Boise State is ranked No. 25 in the College Football Playoff, and far ahead of Fresno State in the computer polls used by the conference. Thus, the Broncos in all likelihood will host Dec. 2.

Tickets are on sale to the general public at BroncoSports.com/tickets. They can be purchased online, by phone at 208-426-4737 or in person at the Athletic Ticket Office located on the west side of Albertsons Stadium. The ticket office will be open from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

[More game coverage: Boise State snaps Air Force losing streak; First Fresno game far from meaningless; Horton goes ‘country’ for TD; This Bronco had a career day — on one play; live game blog]

If Boise State does not host, purchases will be refunded to the credit card used. Tickets are $40 in the main stadium and south end zone, and $20 in the north end zone. Student tickets are free, and student guest tickets are available for $9. Student ticket reservations will begin at 8 a.m. Monday, Nov. 27.

SCORING SUMMARY

Fourth quarter

BSU — Ryan Wolpin 1 run (Haden Hoggarth kick), 1:42. Key plays: WR Cedrick Wilson recovered the Falcons’ onside-kick attempt. The Broncos were aided by a pass interference call against Air Force on a third-and-8 from the Air Force 42. TE Jake Roh had a 3-yard run on a third-and-1 to get to the 1. Drive: 7 plays, 44 yards, 4:20. Boise State 44, Air Force 19

AF — Taven Birdow 6 run (Isaiah Sanders run failed), 6:02. Key plays: Air Force was aided by a Boise State personal foul on a run that would have left a fourth-and-1. WR Ronald Cleveland had a 13-yard run to the 6, then the fullback Birdow scored on the next play. Sanders, the third-string QB, couldn’t score on the conversion. Drive: 11 plays, 79 yards, 3:46. Boise State 37, Air Force 19

AF — Matthew Phillichi 43 field goal, 12:59. Key plays: The Falcons converted a fourth-and-6 on an 8-yard run by RB Tim McVey on the first play of the quarter to get to the Broncos’ 21. A fumble pushed the Falcons back, but they were still in range for Phillichi’s kick. QB Nate Romine had a 33-yard run on the first play of the drive. Drive: 11 plays, 51 yards, 5:46. Boise State 37, Air Force 13

Third quarter

BSU — Haden Hoggarth 21 field goal, 3:45. Key plays: On a first-and-17, QB Brett Rypien got the drive going with a 30-yard pass to WR A.J. Richardson to get into Air Force territory. A pass interference penalty two plays later got the Broncos deeper. The Broncos got inside the red zone on a 13-yard pass from Rypien to WR Sean Modster on a third-and-5. Drive: 10 plays, 67 yards, 6:05. Boise State 37, Air Force 10

BSU — Octavius Evans 7 pass from Brett Rypien (Haden Hoggarth), 12:23. Key plays: Rypien completed three passes on the drive, covering 75 yards, with 68 of them going to WR Cedrick Wilson. Evans hauled in his second career TD on a fade on second-and-goal. Drive: 7 plays, 75 yards, 2:37. Boise State 34, Air Force 10

Second quarter

AF — Luke Strebel 45 field goal, 0:00. Key plays: Strebel made the kick despite the Broncos calling three timeouts trying to ice him. He missed as the last timeout was called, but got it after the final break. Air Force had a third-and-13 from its own 43 and got into range on a 29-yard pass from QB Nate Romine to WR Marcus Bennett. Drive: 10 plays, 62 yards, 5:03. Boise State 27, Air Force 10

BSU — Tyler Horton 21 fumble return (Haden Hoggarth kick), 9:22. Key plays: On a third-and-8, Air Force QB Nate Romine rolled out to pass but was sacked by STUD end Jabril Frazier. While he was coming down, Romine fumbled, and Horton picked up the ball and ran untouched for the score. Boise State 27, Air Force 7

BSU — Haden Hoggarth 28 field goal, 10:39. Key plays: The Broncos put together a methodical drive but could not convert with a touchdown. Boise State got to the Air Force 15 after RB Alexander Mattison converted a third down, but a holding penalty the next play took the Broncos back to the 25. They settled for the field goal four plays later. Drive: 10 plays, 62 yards, 5:03. Boise State 20, Air Force 7

First quarter

AF — Nate Romine 1 run (Luke Strebel kick), 0:42. Key plays: The Falcons, struggling to get back into the game, went to the air with great success, completing 3-of-3 passes for 66 yards. They did not face a third down on the drive. Romine’s 28-yard pass to TE Kade Waguespack to the Boise State 3 was the longest of the drive. Drive: 8 plays, 76 yards, 4:05. Boise State 17, Air Force 7

BSU — Sean Modster 8 pass from Brett Rypien (Haden Hoggarth kick), 4:47. Key plays: A bad pitch by Air Force QB Nate Romine was recovered by Boise State LB Gabe Perez to give the Broncos another great spot to start a drive. The Broncos had settled for a 34-yard field goal, but Air Force was offside, giving the Broncos a first down. Three plays later, Rypien hit Modster for the score on a slant at the goal line. Drive: 6 plays, 23 yards, 2:07. Boise State 17, Air Force 0

BSU — A.J. Richardson 87 pass from Brett Rypien (Haden Hoggarth kick), 9:21. Key plays: After the defense forced an Air Force punt, Rypien found Richardson along the sideline on a deep pass, and the junior outran the Falcons’ defense for a play that was tied for the fourth-longest reception in school history. It was Richardson’s first TD of the year. Drive: 1 play, 87 yards, 0:12. Boise State 10, Air Force 0

BSU — Haden Hoggarth 22 field goal, 12:08. Key plays: Boise State had excellent field position as Sonatane Lui recovered a fumbled snap on the second play of the game. The Broncos covered 15 yards on their first two plays but stalled out as QB Brett Rypien’s pass for WR A.J. Richardson in the end zone was out of bounds on third down. Drive: 6 plays, 22 yards, 2:28. Boise State 3, Air Force 0

Live Blog Boise State-Air Force live coverage
 

NEWS & NOTES

Broncos clinch division title

Boise State, well before even starting its game against Air Force, clinched the Mountain West’s Mountain Division title.

The clinch was made possible by Fresno State’s 13-7 win at Wyoming on Saturday afternoon. Boise State has not lost a conference game, but now all other teams in the division have lost at least two, including Wyoming, which lost to Boise State on Oct. 21. The Broncos won the division for the first time since 2014.

That also sets up an interesting scenario: Boise State (8-2) and Fresno State (8-3) will play in the Mountain West championship game at 5:45 p.m. MT on Dec. 2. They also play one another in Fresno on Nov. 25.

In all likelihood, especially with a Boise State win Saturday night, the Broncos will host the championship game. The Mountain West said in a release it will not determine the host site until after next week’s game between the Broncos and Bulldogs.

The host team is the division champion that is ranked highest in the College Football Playoff, or in an average of four computer polls. The Broncos are No. 25 in the CFP, and the Bulldogs are not ranked. In the four computer polls, the Broncos’ average is 24.5, and the Bulldogs’ is 53.5.

Starting middle linebacker Tyson Maeva will not play against Air Force, Boise State announced before the game. Starting guard Eric Quevedo and backup linebacker Riley Whimpey are also out.

Young leaves

On Friday night, junior cornerback Michael Young tweeted that he will not return to the team in 2018. Young has been suspended indefinitely since Oct. 2, after he had a DUI arrest in late September.

Young, a junior college transfer who joined the team in January, was suspended for the season opener, but played in the next three games, making four tackles in the Sept. 22 loss to Virginia.

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Here are links to our coverage this week:

Boise State QB Montell Cozart himself again

Game breakdown: Boise State vs. Air Force

Bowl projections: Broncos in Vegas again?

Selflessness over star power for Boise State’s 14 seniors

Broncos face toughest mental test of 2017 in Air Force

Sophomore cornerback leaves Boise State football

Retiring Kustra had focus on athletics as president

No extra motivation needed for Broncos against Falcons

Boise State football breaks into CFP rankings

All the sudden, Broncos are leading MW in scoring

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