Chase Cord was bound to make a mistake or two in his first collegiate start for the Boise State football team.
It didn’t help that his defensive counterparts gave up 21 points in the third quarter.
Starting at quarterback in place of injured true freshman Hank Bachmeier, Cord threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes and a two-point conversion pass in the No. 14 Broncos’ 28-25 loss to BYU on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Cord finished 18-for-31 passing for a career-high 185 yards and two touchdowns, but he also tossed a pair of interceptions and struggled to find a rhythm. His quarterback rating was 116.58, and he was the Broncos’ second-leading rusher with seven carries for 30 yards.
“He was working hard to prepare himself for this game,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “That’s the one thing about him, he’s a competitor. I’m proud of him. You know, we just had the two turnovers, and that’s what it comes down to.”
Harsin said Cord’s first interception wasn’t entirely his fault. The Broncos were trying to run a play they’d seen BYU get beat on before, but this time Cougars linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi made a “great play.”
Cord’s second pick came in the third quarter and led to a BYU score two plays later and a 28-10 lead.
“(It’s) not one guy in my opinion, especially the quarterback. It wasn’t anybody’s play out there, or just one person on one play,” Harsin said. “(BYU) made some plays and we needed to do a better job of 11 guys executing on our offense to make it happen, like we did in the first drive.”
Cord looked comfortable leading the Broncos on their opening drive, making two third-down conversions. Boise State covered 70 yards in nine plays, capped by CT Thomas’ 12-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead with 10:28 on the clock in the first quarter.
“I think he did great. He handled the pressure really well,” Thomas said. “... Chase did a real good job reading the defense and coverage stuff. Some things didn’t swing our way, but he stayed strong, played all four quarters and he didn’t give up.”
Facing an 18-point deficit going into the fourth quarter, the Broncos buckled down. After his 3-yard TD run was called back because of a holding penalty, Cord hit Octavius Evans with a 13-yard pass for a touchdown on the next play. He then orchestrated Boise State’s first successful two-point conversion since 2013 with a pass to tight end Garrett Collingham in the end zone to bring Boise State within 28-18 with 12:42 to play.
With the pressure mounting, Cord completed 6-of-7 passes on a 79-yard, nine-play drive that ended with his 5-yard TD pass to Akilian Butler. Cord’s only incompletion on the drive required an official review of an 18-yard pass to Khalil Shakir. Cord also converted on third-and-7 with an 11-yard scramble to keep the drive alive.
Cord’s QB rating of 116.58 ranks seventh out of the 12 Boise State quarterbacks who have made their first start since 2001. He is the only one of the 12 to throw more than one interception. Cord’s first career start came about 53 weeks after he tore an ACL in practice in October 2018.
Cord wasn’t made available to the media after the game.
Boise State QB debuts
The list below does not include the Senior Day start by Bush Hamdan, who was intercepted on his only pass.
▪ Ryan Dinwiddie (2001, loss at South Carolina): 18-of-31, 162 yards, 1 TD, 1 int., 106.15 rating
▪ B.J. Rhode (2001, win vs. Central Michigan): 13-of-27, 191 yards, 1 TD, 1 int., 112.39 rating
▪ Jared Zabransky (2004, win vs. Idaho): 11-of-16, 234 yards, 0 TDs, 1 int., 179.10 rating
▪ Taylor Tharp (2007, win vs. Weber State): 14-of-19, 184 yards, 1 TD, 0 ints., 172.40 rating
▪ Kellen Moore (2008, win vs. Idaho State): 14-of-19, 274 yards, 2 TDs, 0 ints., 229.56 rating
▪ Joe Southwick (2012, loss at Michigan State): 15-of-31, 169 yards, 0 TDs, 1 int., 87.73 rating
▪ Grant Hedrick (2013, loss at BYU): 25-of-42, 232 yards, 1 TD, 1 int., 109.02 rating
▪ Ryan Finley (2015, win vs. Washington): 16-of-26, 129 yards, 0 TDs, 1 int., 95.52 rating
▪ Brett Rypien (2015, win at Virginia): 24-of-35, 321 yards, 3 TDs, 0 ints., 173.90 rating
▪ Montell Cozart (2017, win vs. New Mexico): 15-for-19, 137 yards, 2 TDs, 0 ints., 174.25 rating
▪ Hank Bachmeier (2019, win at Florida State): 30-of-51, 407 yards, 1 TD, 1 int., 128.40 rating
▪ Chase Cord (2019, loss at BYU): 18-of-31, 185 yards, 2 TDs, 2 ints., 116.58 rating