Well, at least it wasn’t empty hype.
The Boise State football team — and senior quarterback Brett Rypien — showed Saturday night that the 2018 Broncos are serious contenders for a New Year’s Six bowl berth.
Boise State walloped Troy 56-20 — a Troy team that won 11 games last year and 10 games the season before. The Broncos, playing 2,256 miles from home in hot-and-humid Veterans Memorial Stadium, led by four touchdowns at halftime and five touchdowns in the third quarter.
And more important than the score was the way the Broncos got there. The passing game that was so inconsistent last year torched the Trojans in the first half, with Rypien throwing for 276 yards and four scores. He fired 53- and 54-yard touchdown passes and another pass that covered 46 yards as senior Sean Modster, sophomore CT Thomas and junior Akilian Butler showed much-needed playmaking ability in a receiving corps that lost an all-time great in Cedrick Wilson.
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The defense played well, too, and contributed several critical plays that allowed the blowout to happen — an interception by linebacker Tony Lashley and a fourth-down stop in the first half, and two fumble returns for TDs by cornerback Tyler Horton in the second half.
And, of course, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. The offense did little in the second half and the run game was disappointing, with 53 yards through three quarters. The defense bent a little more than coaches probably would like. And the special teams were shaky, with one muffed punt setting up Troy’s first touchdown, another muffed punt regained by the Broncos, a 34-yard punting average and a missed field goal.
That’s the way it goes in season openers — there should be plenty to fix.
But this season opener should have Bronco Nation buzzing as the team prepares for the home opener next Saturday against Connecticut (8:15 p.m.).
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