It only took one catch in the first quarter for A.J. Richardson to have the best game of his Boise State football career.
The redshirt junior pulled down a Brett Rypien pass along the right sideline and outran Air Force free safety James Jones IV for an 87-yard touchdown reception.
“There was no way that he wasn’t going to score on that play. We’ve been giving him grief all year,” Rypien said. “I think he was the only receiver out of our main four or five who hadn’t gotten into the zone yet. He needed that.”
It was the fourth-longest reception in Boise State history and ties for the third-longest TD catch by a Bronco. It was the longest reception since 2003.
“My number isn’t really called that much for a deep ball, so when it finally did, I just wanted to take advantage of it,” Richardson said. “... Brett hit me in stride. ... When I saw the end zone, I kind of got happy and just tried to get there.”
Richardson finished with three catches for a game-leading 123 yards in the 44-19 victory over Air Force on Saturday at Albertsons Stadium. His previous career best was 80 yards on two receptions against Virginia earlier this season.
Fellow receiver Cedrick Wilson also eclipsed the 100-yard mark, totaling 105 yards on five grabs for his eighth career 100-yard game and third of the season. Wilson has 1,008 receiving yards this season.
Defense scores another TD
On a third-and-8 in the second quarter, Air Force quarterback Nate Romine rolled out to pass, but Boise State STUD end Jabril Frazier sniffed out the play for a strip-sack.
Junior cornerback Tyler Horton swooped in for the fumble recovery, running 21 yards untouched for a 27-7 Boise State lead.
“We ended up 3-0 on turnovers against a really good team,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun. “They don’t need assistance with as good as they are.”
The Broncos have scored on fumble returns in two previous games this season. Kekaula Kaniho scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 34-yard return against San Diego State on Oct. 14, and Curtis Weaver had a 55-yard return vs. Washington State on Sept. 9.
Boise State recovered three fumbles against Air Force starting with nose tackle Sonatone Lui’s recovery when Air Force fumbled the snap on the second play of the game.
Senior Gabe Perez picked up the other on an Air Force pitch with 6:54 on the clock in the first quarter.
Weaver leads FBS freshmen in sacks
Going into Saturday’s game against Air Force, freshman STUD Curtis Weaver led all freshmen in the FBS with 7.0 sacks.
The 6-foot-3, 252-pounder picked up his eighth of the season when he hit Romine for a 4-yard loss near the end of the third quarter. His 8.0 sacks is also a team best.
Nevada junior Malik Reed led the Mountain West going into the week with 8.0 sacks.