Bronco Walk: Utah State
The Boise State football team improved to 4-0 overall, 1-0 in the Mountain West with a 21-10 win over Utah State on Saturday night at Albertsons Stadium. The Broncos exacted some revenge for the 52-26 loss they suffered last year at the hands of the Aggies (2-3, 0-2).
Junior running back Jeremy McNichols, who did not play last year in Logan, ran for 132 yards on 30 carries and had six receptions for 73 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown catch from receiver Cedrick Wilson.
USU—Andrew Rodriguez 30 pass from Kent Myers (Brock Warren kick), 7:41. Key plays: The Aggies twice kept the drive alive on fourth down, once drawing a pass interference on fourth-and-18 from their own 27, and getting a 15-yard pass from Myers to tight end Wyatt Houston on fourth-and-4 to get into Boise State territory. Drive: 14 plays, 75 yards, 4:22 elapsed. Boise State 21, Utah State 10.
BSU—Cedrick Wilson 36 pass from Brett Rypien, 12:03. Key plays: Boise State got the ball at the Aggies’ 40-yard line after a 15-yard penalty on linebacker Anthony Williams for targeting on punt returner Akilian Butler. Running back Jeremy McNichols kept the drive going with a 6-yard run on a third-and-5 to get to the USU 29. After a holding penalty, Rypien found Wilson open in the end zone on third-and-17 for the score. Drive: 6 plays, 40 yards, 3:30 elapsed. Boise State 21, Utah State 3.
BSU—Thomas Sperbeck 5 pass from Brett Rypien, 8:07. Key plays: Rypien hit Sperbeck for 26 yards on the drive’s fifth play to get into Utah State territory, down to the 34. Running back Jeremy McNichols had a 25-yard to get into the red zone, to the 8, on his first play after sitting out the previous four following a hit along the sideline that took him crashing into players on the Bronco sideline. Drive: 10 plays, 85 yards, 4:40 elapsed. Boise State 14, Utah State 3.
This season, it has been the second halves that have bedeviled the Boise State Broncos. On Saturday, it was the first half that left something to be desired.
The Broncos led 7-3 at the break, but outside of receiver Cedrick Wilson’s 61-yard touchdown pass to running back Jeremy McNichols, they amassed 96 yards of offense in the first two quarters. Sophomore receiver Akilian Butler muffed a punt late in the second quarter, with the Aggies recovering at the Boise State 25-yard line. However, they did not take advantage, missing a 32-yard field goal as time expired.
USU—Brock Warren 28 field goal, 12:27. Key plays: Running back Tonny Lindsey plunged for a 2-yard gain on a fourth-and-1 to get to the Boise State 29. On the play before the field goal, Boise State broke up a pass near the goal line, and cornerback Jonathan Moxey dropped a sure interception at the 4. Drive: 12 plays, 45 yards, 3:35 elapsed. Boise State 7, Utah State 3.
BSU—Jeremy McNichols 61 pass from Cedrick Wilson (Tyler Rausa kick), 5:56. Key plays: Quarterback Brett Rypien hit receiver Thomas Sperbeck for 7 yards on third-and-4 on the drive’s third play. Two plays later, Rypien threw a lateral to Wilson, who hit McNichols leaking out of the backfield, wide open, deep on the other side of the field. Drive: 5 plays, 81 yards, 2:05 elapsed. Boise State 7, Utah State 0.
Boise State was without one of its key players Saturday night against Utah State, as senior linebacker Tanner Vallejo is out with an undisclosed injury, a Bronco official confirmed.
Vallejo left last Saturday’s win at Oregon State with an injury and did not play in the second half. Despite that, Vallejo is tied for the team lead with 27 tackles.
Junior center Mason Hampton also was not out for warmups. He will be replaced by senior guard Steven Baggett, and right tackle Mario Yakoo slides in at right guard in Baggett’s place. Redshirt freshman John Molchon will get his first start in Yakoo’s spot.
Boise State (3-0, 0-0) begins its Mountain West slate with an 8:15 p.m. Saturday kickoff at Albertsons Stadium against Utah State (2-2, 0-1).
Here is some pregame reading material of this week’s coverage:
Boise State reporter Michael Katz will conduct our live chat below. Ask your questions during the game.