Bronco Beat

Final: Boise State 24, Troy 13; backup QB provides key spark

The Boise State football team won its season opener 24-13 over Troy on Saturday at Albertsons Stadium.

Both teams went 10-3 last season.

Read below for a recap of our coverage throughout the game.


First quarter

BSU — Avery Williams 81 punt return (Haden Hoggarth kick), 13:24. Key plays: On his first-ever play, the redshirt freshman sliced his way through the Troy special teams and down the left sideline for the team’s first punt return TD since Nov. 22, 2014. Boise State 7, Troy 0

TROY — Bratcher Underwood 38 field goal, 10:14. Drive: 8 plays, 54 yards, 3:10. Key plays: Troy QB Brandon Silvers hit Damion Willis on a 26-yard pass on a first-and-20 to get into Boise State territory. Jamarius Henderson’s 26-yard run got Troy inside the red zone, but Boise State held steady, aided by a Kekoa Nawahine tackle for a 2-yard loss to force a third-and-12. Boise State 7, Troy 3

Second quarter

BSU — Alexander Mattison 49 run (Hoggarth kick), 7:51. Drive: 6 plays, 77 yards, 3:15. Key plays: With senior Montell Cozart leading the drive at quarterback, he completed his only pass for 17 yards on the play before the score and helped create some room for the backs to run. Mattison converted the lone third down with a 2-yard plunge on a third-and-1 on the drive’s third play. Boise State 14, Troy 3

TROY — Blace Brown 53 interception return (Underwood kick), 2:30. Key plays: After Cozart was in the previous two drives, Boise State starter Brett Rypien was back under center. He hit running back Ryan Wolpin on his first play for 20 yards, then telegraphed a long pass to the sideline to Cedrick Wilson. Brown stepped in front of it and forced Rypien to miss a tackle on the way to the end zone. Boise State 14, Troy 10

BSU — Hoggarth 41 field goal, :27. Drive: 6 plays, 18 yards, 2:03. Key plays: The Broncos were given excellent field position on a 48-yard Avery Williams kickoff return. Rypien was 3-for-4 on the drive for 21 yards. Boise State 17, Troy 10

Fourth quarter

TROY — Underwood 39 field goal, 10:59. Drive: 9 plays, 30 yards, 3:51. Key plays: One drive after a near-touchdown ended on a fumble out of the end zone, Troy benefited from a 28-yard Boise State punt. Jordan Chunn had a 13-yard run on a third-and-5 to get to the BSU 21. Boise State 17, Troy 13

BSU — Jake Roh 7 pass from Cozart (Hoggarth kick), 2:12. Drive: 10 plays, 49 yards, 5:05. Key plays: Cozart again was under center as the Broncos started the drive at the Troy 49 thanks to a nice leaping interception by safety Kekoa Nawahine on a deep pass. Rushes by Cozart and Wolpin on third downs kept the drive going. The touchdown pass was the only pass of the drive. Boise State 24, Troy 13

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Live Blog Boise State football vs. Troy


▪  Boise State’s Reid Harrison-Ducros bobbled and lost a near-interception and the football fell into the hands of Troy receiver Deondre Douglas, who ran it in for what was initially ruled a touchdown with 1:01 on the clock in the third quarter.

But the call was overturned after a review that showed Boise State linebacker Desmond Williams knocked the ball from Douglas’ hands before he crossed the goal line, resulting in a touchback.

Had the original call stood, Troy would have pulled within 17-16. Instead, the Broncos maintained a 17-10 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

▪  Montell Cozart transferred from Kansas over the summer and had limited time to learn the Broncos’ offense, but the senior quarterback looked comfortable at the helm in his first game as a Bronco.

Cozart led a six-play, 77-yard scoring drive midway through the second quarter, capped by sophomore Alexander Mattison’s 49-yard run for a TD and a 14-3 lead. It was the Broncos’ first offensive touchdown of the 2017 season.

Cozart gave the Broncos some breathing room on the ground by completing his only pass of the drive, a 17-yarder to Cedrick Wilson.

He stayed in for a second drive that ended on a fourth down. Starter Brett Rypien returned for the next possession and threw a pick six.

Rypien was 9-for-13 for 120 yards with an interception and three sacks in the first half. Cozart was 3-for-4 for 20 yards but also had four carries for 20 yards. His rushing total was second-best on the team.

▪  Boise State junior cornerback Michael Young, who transferred from Dodge City (Kan.) Community College in January, didn’t suit up for Saturday’s game. The 6-foot, 211-pounder was impressive in the spring and is listed as a co-starter at the cornerback spot opposite junior Tyler Horton. Sophomore Reid Harrison-Ducros started in his place.

That will be a position of intrigue, as Troy returns its senior quarterback, Brandon Silvers, and 98.7 percent of its offensive production.

The only players out for the game because of injury are safety Evan Tyler (out for the season with a torn ACL) and senior defensive end Austin Silsby.

▪  Boise State has three full-time captains this season: senior wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, junior quarterback Brett Rypien and junior linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. A single-game captain will join them throughout the season. On Saturday, it was senior center Mason Hampton.

A new tradition this season is a player will be selected each game to carry the “Bleed Blue” flag as someone that represents the program’s best aspects. Senior linebacker Gabe Perez was the first against the Trojans.

▪  The Boise State football program honored legendary coach Lyle Smith before Saturday’s season opener by dropping 101 blue and orange daisies at his statue outside Albertsons Stadium during the Bronco Walk.

The biggest logistical challenge: Finding flowers in that color. Daisies were the favorite of Smith, who died in July at 101 years old.

The secret solution? The Bronco painted the white flowers in school colors.

The flowers were carried by players and coaches during their traditional walk from the Student Union Building to the Bleymaier Football Center. Many of them patted the left knee of Smith’s statue after delivering the flower.

One of the last flowers was set in place by running backs coach Lee Marks’ daughter. Smith’s son, Bill, and daughter, Marge Swint, visited the statue immediately after the team. Smith and Swint were honorary captains for the game.

Smith was the football coach at Boise Junior College from 1947 to 1967 and the athletic director at Boise State until 1981.


Links to our coverage this week:

Fans’ guide to Boise State-Troy

Game breakdown: matchups, players to watch, depth charts

Boise State has a lot to prove, to its fans and its critics

He’s ‘one of your classic Boise State guys,’ and ready to get after QBs

Walk-ons getting scholarships is great, but also comes at a cost

Hill ready for debut as playcaller, plus college predictions

Boise State-branded beer? Seems like a no brainer, but ...

Tampa Bay waives rookie, former Boise State star

Matchup of Boise State, Troy quarterbacks ‘going to be an awesome battle’

Ticket sales tank despite rare afternoon kickoff

Tighter than ever? Boise State praises strong team bond