Just a bad day?
Or a culmination of their flaws?
The Boise State football coaches say the Broncos’ stunning 52-26 loss Friday at Utah State is the former — a one-day convergence of poor performances and bad luck that resulted in the team’s largest halftime deficit in 17 years.
And they say they’re eager to get back on the field Saturday against Wyoming (8:15 p.m., ESPN2) to prove just that.
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“Am I upset? I’m absolutely upset,” coach Bryan Harsin said Monday. “I’m upset for our coaches and players more than anything. At the same time, I know that these guys will bounce back and I know that they’re going to compete hard and I know they’ll get ready for this week of prep and do it the right way, and I’m glad I get to be a part of that.”
The Broncos (5-2, 2-1 Mountain West) committed eight turnovers in the loss to the Aggies, seven of them in a first half that ended with a lopsided score of 45-10.
The Broncos had committed just one turnover in the previous four games to become one of the national leaders in turnover margin.
However, the Broncos have committed 11 of their 14 turnovers this season against BYU and Utah State. Those aren’t just the two games they’ve lost or the two games they’ve played in Utah.
Those are the only opponents the Broncos have faced who have winning records.
Boise State ranks 16th in the FBS in scoring (38.6 points per game) and 27th in yards (461 per game). It is 94th in yards per carry (3.9), tied for 106th in sacks allowed (2.7 per game) and 48th in pass efficiency (139.92). The Broncos were better in all of those areas last season.
“There’s a lot of good things about our offense and we’re not going to lose confidence in who we are,” offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz said. “We’re not going to forget that four straight weeks we had (one turnover total) and averaged over 40 points per game. That’s who we are. We had a slip-up last week. We’re not going to focus on the negative. We’re not going to lose our confidence.”
The Utah State game was evenly contested in most areas. Utah State outgained Boise State 334-333 (the Broncos ran 13 more plays), Boise State held the edge in first downs 20-15, both teams were 5-for-16 on third downs and converted two fourth downs and both scored touchdowns on all but one red-zone possession.
The difference: Utah State’s only turnover was a fumble on an interception return.
“You just have to eliminate the eight turnovers down the road,” Harsin said. “We can talk about all these other things: It came down to eight turnovers. That’s the bottom line in the game. We cannot let that happen. If we get one, we need to recover faster.”
Deayon out about four weeks
Boise State senior cornerback Donte Deayon will be out for about four weeks after minor knee surgery to fix a recurring issue, Harsin said.
Deayon hadn’t practiced much for several weeks, defensive coordinator Marcel Yates said, and the injury was aggravated by a low hit Deayon took while fielding a punt against Colorado State.
Deayon, a third-year starter, is tied for the team lead with four interceptions. He has 17 in his career, one off the Mountain West career record shared by teammate Darian Thompson.
Deayon could return in time for the Nov. 14 game against New Mexico or the Nov. 20 game against Air Force.
True freshman Tyler Horton and junior college transfer Raymond Ford will compete for Deayon’s starting spot this week.
Starting tailback Jeremy McNichols is expected to play this week, Harsin said. He missed the last game after a helmet-to-helmet hit against Colorado State.
Sticking with Rypien
Harsin didn’t have any thought of pulling true freshman quarterback Brett Rypien from the Utah State game, even for a series, he said. Rypien committed five turnovers in the first half.
“Let Brett play through it,” Harsin said.
Rypien was 12-for-23 for 221 yards without a turnover in the second half. He was 13-for-27 for 78 yards with three interceptions and two lost fumbles in the first half.
“The one thing I wanted to make sure of with all of our guys is that we didn’t go out there and play timid, at that position in particular,” Harsin said. “You put yourself in a position where you become more one-dimensional and he’s still throwing the ball well, he’s still making good decisions.”
UNLV game on ESPNU
The Broncos’ game Oct. 31 at UNLV has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Mountain and will air on ESPNU. The school doesn’t get a TV bonus for ESPNU games.