The Boise State football team rallied to beat San Jose State 52-42 on Saturday night at CEFCU Stadium.
The Broncos trailed 14-0 in the first quarter, 24-17 at halftime and 27-17 in the third quarter before the rushing attack came alive. They finished with 253 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.
True freshman running back George Holani led the Broncos with 126 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Wide reciever John Hightower added five catches for 129 yards.
True freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier returned from a one-game absence with a hip injury to go 13-for-17 for 213 yards and an interception. He also rushed for 6 net yards. Notably, he scampered for a first down on third-and-15 on a touchdown drive but left the game briefly with apparent shoulder discomfort after taking a big hit at the end of the run.
The Broncos’ defense struggled all night to contain San Jose State quarterback Josh Love, who threw for 438 yards and two touchdowns. The Broncos finally forced a turnover on the last of San Jose State’s 76 offensive snaps, an interception by linebacker Benton Wickersham.
The No. 21 Broncos improved to 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the Mountain West. They’re in first place in the Mountain Division and in a tight race with the top teams in the American Athletic Conference for the New Year’s Six berth that goes to the top Group of Five conference champion.
Below is the scoring summary from the San Jose State game and some news and notes:
SJSU — DeJon Packer 1 run (Matt Mercurio kick), 10:58. Key plays: Kaire Robinson busted runs of 13 and 9 yards, and Tre Walker made a one-handed catch for 36 yards to the 1-yard line on second-and-15. Drive: 9 plays, 82 yards, 4:02. San Jose State 7, Boise State 0
SJSU — Josh Love 4 run (Mercurio kick), 3:26. Key plays: The Spartans were 4-for-4 on third down, with Love hitting Derrick Deese for 15 yards, Walker for 19 (on third-and-14) and Deese for 21 (on third-and-15). Drive: 15 plays, 76 yards, 5:05. San Jose State 14, Boise State 0
BSU — Avery Williams 66 punt return (Eric Sachse kick), :15. San Jose State 14, Boise State 7
SJSU — Mercurio 35 field goal, 12:01. Key plays: Love found Walker for 27 yards and then again for 16 yards on third-and-10. Drive: 10 plays, 60 yards, 3:07. San Jose State 17, Boise State 7
BSU — George Holani 1 run (Sachse kick), 7:58. Key plays: Defender Matt Locher fumbled the short kickoff but recovered it and quarterback Hank Bachmeier hit wide receiver John Hightower for back-to-back gains of 23 and 41 yards. The latter was on a pass that was nearly intercepted but Hightower was able to catch the deflection. The TD came on fourth-and-goal. Drive: 8 plays, 70 yards, 4:00. San Jose State 17, Boise State 14
SJSU — Isaiah Hamilton 16 pass from Love (Mercurio kick), 1:13. Key plays: Brandon Ezell made a one-handed interception to stop Boise State, and Walker turned a short, low throw into a 23-yard gain on the first play of the ensuing drive. Love added a 21-yard strike to Bailey Gaither on third-and-8 and another 21-yarder to Gaither on the next play. Drive: 6 plays, 83 yards, 2:38. San Jose State 24, Boise State 14
BSU — Sachse 30 field goal, :24. Key plays: Bachmeier connected with Hightower for 36 yards on the first play and a roughing-the-passer penalty pushed the Broncos deep into Spartans territory. On fourth-and-1, Bachmeier easily got the first down but two linemen jumped early for a false start. That forced the field goal. Drive: 5 plays, 55 yards, :42. San Jose State 24, Boise State 17
SJSU — Mercurio 35 field goal, 10:27. Key plays: Williams was flagged for pass interference on third-and-1 and fellow cornerback Jalen Walker was penalized for the same foul later in the drive. On third-and-7, Williams tackled Brett Foley 2 yards short of the first down. Drive: 7 plays, 58 yards, 2:39. San Jose State 27, Boise State 17
BSU — Holani 6 run (Sachse kick), 9:13. Key plays: Akilian Butler returned the kickoff 27 yards to the San Jose State 45-yard line, and Holani followed with a 19-yard run that was extended by a targeting penalty on San Jose State’s Jesse Osuna. Drive: 3 plays, 45 yards, 1:05. San Jose State 27, Boise State 24
BSU — Chase Cord 8 run (Sachse kick), 3:28. Key plays: Wide receiver Khalil Shakir turned a short throw into 18 yards and tailback Andrew Van Buren added a 10-yard run. On third-and-15, Bachmeier scrambled up the middle of the field and plowed into a defender at the first-down line for an 18-yard gain. Drive: 9 plays, 63 yards, 4:58. Boise State 31, San Jose State 27
SJSU — Packer 3 run (Mercurio kick), :53. Key plays: Walker beat Williams down the sideline for a 40-yard catch on the first play of the drive. Packer ran for 12 and Foley made a 19-yard catch. Drive: 6 plays, 75 yards, 2:35. San Jose State 34, Boise State 31
BSU — Holani 6 run (Sachse kick), 11:31. Key plays: Bachmeier returned from the locker room between quarters to toss a 17-yard pass to Holani and a 22-yarder to Hightower while being drilled. Bachmeier added a quarterback sneak on third-and-1, and Holani made a terrific cut in the backfield on the TD run. Drive: 9 plays, 79 yards, 4:17. Boise State 38, San Jose State 34
BSU — Van Buren 32 run (Sachse kick), 6:24. Key plays: Holani rushed for 11 yards and fumbled, but tight end Garrett Collingham recovered. Van Buren busted a 16-yard run on the next play. Drive: 7 plays, 77 yards, 3:29. Boise State 45, San Jose State 34
SJSU — Gaither 9 pass from Love (Walker pass from Love), 3:56. Key plays: Williams was flagged for pass interference and linebacker Riley Whimpey was penalized for a late hit, leading to the laser throw from Love to Gaither in the end zone. On the play before the TD, Boise State’s Walker batted a pass into the air and it hit Whimpey in the hands, then the helmet, then his hands again but fell incomplete. Drive: 9 plays, 75 yards, 2:28. Boise State 45, San Jose State 42
BSU — Holani 8 run (Sachse kick), 1:35. Key plays: The Broncos recovered an onside kick and Hightower gained 15 yards on a third-and-5 fly sweep. Drive: 7 plays, 39 yards, 2:19. Boise State 52, San Jose State 42
NEWS AND NOTES
Bachmeier returns but three starters out for Boise State
True freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier returned to the starting lineup on Saturday night for Boise State’s Mountain West game at San Jose State.
Bachmeier exited the Broncos’ win over Hawaii on Oct. 12 with a hip injury and missed Boise State’s 28-25 loss to BYU. Sophomore Chase Cord started against the Cougars and finished 18-of-31 for 185 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Bachmeier was 6-0 in his college career before the injury.
The Broncos were down three starters on Saturday night. Running back Robert Mahone and safety Kekoa Nawahine were injured in the first half of the loss to BYU. Neither was available against San Jose State.
On the offensive end, that meant more work for freshman running back George Holani, who posted 97 yards on the ground against BYU. It also meant more carries for sophomore Andrew Van Buren.
Defensively, Jordan Happle stepped in for Nawahine.
Senior left guard John Molchon, a captain, also was out — a surprising development. Molchon also has started at left tackle and right tackle this season because of injuries. He was wearing a protective boot on his right foot before the game.
Junior Jake Stetz replaced Molchon, making his second start. It was the fifth starting lineup in eight games this season on the offensive line.
Bachmeier exits briefly
Bachmeier left the game in the third quarter after taking a big hit at the end of an 18-yard scramble for a first down on third-and-15. The run set up a touchdown. Bachmeier went into the injury tent, came out, shook his throwing arm and tried throwing passes, then went to the locker room. Backup Chase Cord took over briefly but Bachmeier returned for the start of the fourth quarter.
Boise State wore all white but with an orange helmet decal. ... San Jose State won the coin toss and took the ball. ... San Jose State punter Alex Galland played the trumpet with the Spartans’ marching band during the national anthem. ... Bruno DeRose carried the Dan Paul Hammer. Curtis Weaver carried the American flag and Holani carried the Bleed Blue banner. ... San Jose State was without linebacker Jesse Osuna for the first half. He was ejected for targeting in the fourth quarter of the Spartans’ win over Army. Osuna led the Spartans with three sacks and was fourth on the team with 51 tackles entering the game. Osuna returned in the second half but was ejected for targeting again with 10:09 left in the third quarter. ... Boise State improved to 14-0 all-time vs. San Jose State. ... Cornerback Avery Williams was Boise State’s single-game captain. ... Boise State has won two road games after trailing at halftime in a season (Florida State, San Jose State) for the first time since 2005, and two when trailing entering the fourth quarter for the first time since 1990.