Boise State Football

Albertsons Stadium crowd gets the assist in Boise State’s Mountain West opener

Bryan Harsin got the chills Friday night at Albertsons Stadium, and it wasn’t because of something his players did on the field.

It was the 36,498 black-clad fans that stopped the sixth-year Boise State football coach in his tracks.

“It gives you chills when you see a crowd like that and you have that type of energy for a team that we really knew was going to be a challenge,” Harsin said. “I just want to thank all the people that helped make that happen tonight to get all the fans there.

“... This is why you come to play at Boise State, and this is why you coach at Boise State. I know we don’t have the biggest stadium in the country ... but this one tonight and the energy, when our place is rocking like that, it’s second to none. And I really mean that.”

Harsin said the crowd, which was the sixth-largest in program history, played a key role in the No. 20 Broncos’ 30-19 victory over Air Force.

“You’re proud to be a Bronco when you have something like that surrounding you and helping you go out there and achieve your goal,” Harsin said.

Toughest Air Force team?

Air Force coach Troy Calhoun told reporters earlier this week that the Boise State team his Falcons would see on The Blue was likely “the most complete Mountain West Conference team in the last seven years.”

The Falcons weren’t too shabby either, according to the Broncos.

“That is the best Air Force team I think we’ve faced, I really do,” Harsin said. “... Coach Calhoun and those kids, we have tremendous respect for Air Force and what they do, how they play, the type of people that they are. The way that you have to go out there and play is disciplined and tough.”

In a show of respect, Boise State joined Air Force players after the game while the Falcons band played the Third Verse.

Harsin is 3-3 against Air Force, with three straight wins. The Broncos also beat the Falcons in 2011 and 2013.

[Related: Fourth-down plays keys Boise State win; Something special is brewing on The Blue; Instant Analysis: Broncos set stage for memorable run; scoring summary]

Two starters out but one returns

Boise State right tackle John Ojukwu and safety DeAndre Pierce were out for the third straight game Friday night. They were injured in the season opener against Florida State.

However, left tackle Ezra Cleveland returned to the starting lineup after missing the Portland State game with a lower-leg injury.

Jets provide pregame flyover

Mountain Home Air Force Base (two F-15 E Strike Eagles) and the Idaho Air National Guard at Gowen Field (two A-10 Thunderbolt Twos) combined for a flyover before Friday’s game. The planes represented the 366th Gunfighters, the Bold Tigers, at Mountain Home and the 124th Fighter Wing of the Idaho Air National Guard.

Quick hits

Boise State wore all black. ... Boise State President Marlene Tromp ran out of the tunnel with the Broncos. ... Nickel Roman Kafentzis carried the Hammer. ... Air Force won the coin toss and deferred. ... The Broncos changed their defensive alignment against Air Force’s option with Khafari Buffalo starting at nickel and usual nickel Kekaula Kaniho dropping back to safety. Buffalo is 17 pounds heavier than Kaniho, giving the Broncos more size near the line of scrimmage in run defense. He also practiced against the option while playing at The Citadel. ... Boise State middle linebacker Zeke Noa left the game with an injury and didn’t return.

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