BOISE STATE 34, LOUISIANA 9
The Boise State football team raced to a 21-3 lead against Louisiana on Saturday night at Albertsons Stadium, then sputtered through unforced errors the rest of the night.
The Broncos won 34-9 — their third straight victory, all by double digits, as they head into a two-game stretch of Mountain West road games.
Boise State has won 18 straight non-conference home games and nine straight home games overall.
“We built some momentum tonight and we need that going into conference play,” senior quarterback Grant Hedrick said. “That’s where it counts.”
Boise State took its 21-3 lead with 12 minutes, 4 seconds left in the first half.
The rest of the game included two missed field goals, a touchdown wiped out by a formation error, two third-quarter timeouts on offense and a third-down offside penalty that gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a first down on a touchdown drive.
The Broncos (3-1 overall, 1-0 Mountain West) likely will need to play cleaner football Saturday at Air Force, a place that can be difficult for first-time visitors, and Oct. 4 at Nevada, which looks like a conference title contender.
Boise State has failed to score at least 40 points in five straight games — the longest such streak since 2008.
“At times, we’re clicking really well and at other times, we only beat ourselves,” Hedrick said. “That’s the way it felt out there. We were moving the ball whenever we wanted to. We were just beating ourselves. That’s kind of the next step we can take is to clean that up.”
Bryan Harsin, Boise State coach
— On the game: “To win a college football game and at the same time, when you walk out of there and there's still a lot you can get better at, it makes it fun and that's kind of the edge you like these guys to have. Satisfied with the win, but at the same time excited about tomorrow, and getting back to work and figuring out a way to improve.”
— On the offense: “We need to run the ball. We need to be balanced — 262 (yards) rushing and 237 passing. We operate the best when we’re like that.”
— On the defense: “I'd probably say one of the bigger plays for us was early on when we had the penalty when we roughed the punter and they were able to hit a couple big plays. We held them to three points in the red zone. To me, that was probably the most significant — they had their chance to close the gap, and we shut them down, they got three points out of it. Being on the other side of that, that's demoralizing — that hurts.”
— Injury updates are in the notebook below.
Grant Hedrick, Boise State quarterback
— On the fast start: “That was kind of our emphasis in the week is to get into a good rhythm. Last week, we didn’t really get into that as a pass game early on.”
— On no offensive turnovers for the second straight game: “That’s huge. I think any time we turn the ball over zero times we’re going to win the game. That’s been one of my big goals this season.”
— On wide receiver Matt Miller: “I feel like any time I throw the ball anywhere near him he’s going to come down with it.”
Blake Renaud, Boise State linebacker
— On the Broncos sacking Terrance Broadway twice (he had been sacked once previously): “He did a good job of being elusive. We wanted to get more sacks on him. He’s a hard guy to sack.”
— On the run defense: “We’re playing so much faster and we’re physical. It’s basically everyone doing their job. When everyone does their job, it works out like that.”
Jay Ajayi, Boise State tailback
— On his TD celebration: “It’s just the Jay Train getting it cranking. I’m the conductor.”
— On his performance: “After UConn, we really put an emphasis on getting our ground game started back up this week. Every week I go out and I want to make sure I’m doing whatever I can to help our team win. Last week, we did a great job of getting the win but I felt like I didn’t do as much as I could have to help us win. My mindset going through the week was to make sure to have a great game this Saturday night and I was able to do that.”
— On the offense: “I feel like we have a lot of potential to where we can be really explosive not making the mistakes we made tonight. It was just a lot of uncharacteristic stuff that is easily fixed. Once we make those easy fixes, when we get into the red zone we’ll be clicking and we’ll start to reach the full potential of what our offense can really do.”
Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana coach
“Our defense played much better. I’m going to put this on the offense. You look at every score in college football today, every team probably won 45-, 35- our defense played much better, I thought. Can they play better? Yeah. We lost (linebacker) Trae Johnson in walkthrough yesterday and he’s our leading tackler, and we still rallied hard, we made some nice plays defensively, got zero help from the offense. They were on the field all day long. And offensively we have to create some ways to get our playmakers the ball.”
Hot start for Hedrick
Boise State senior quarterback Grant Hedrick completed his first 15 passes of the game, three short of Kellen Moore’s Mountain West record for consecutive completions in a single game.
Moore completed his first 18 passes for Boise State in 2011 against Colorado State. Jared Zabransky also completed 18 straight passes for Boise State in 2006 against Utah State, but not to start the game.
Hedrick was 17-for-20 for 189 yards in the first half. He finished 24-for-31 for 237 yards.
“When a quarterback is really at his best, you don’t notice him a whole lot,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “He’s just out there delivering. Tonight, those first 15 plays, he was just out there delivering and guys were making plays. That’s really what you want to see and we want him to continue that.”
Ajayi back on track
Boise State junior tailback Jay Ajayi, bottled up a week earlier at Connecticut, topped the 100-yard mark rushing before halftime. A 26-yard run gave him 107 yards on his first 13 carries.
He finished the game with 27 carries for 150 yards and three touchdowns. He added five catches for 37 yards.
He rushed for 39 yards a week earlier at Connecticut.
“I could have hit some different holes (at Connecticut),” Ajayi said. “I was trying to get my footing a little bit because I wasn’t used to that surface. At the end of the day excuses are excuses. What you’ve got to do is you’ve got to produce on the field. That was just tough not being able to do that so I really had a mindset that I wanted to produce tonight.”
Deayon rises again
Junior cornerback Donte Deayon grabbed a highlight-reel interception for the second straight game.
Deayon, who ripped the ball away from Connecticut’s Geremy Davis for a pick six, made a leaping interception along the sideline Saturday in the third quarter and tapped his toes in bounds.
“He’s trying out for offense is what he’s doing,” Harsin said. “It was impressive. It’s another big play. That’s two weeks in a row that we’ve had big plays from Donte on turnovers.”
Said Deayon: “(The defensive backs) think we have better hands than the receivers.”
— Freshman Archie Lewis started at left tackle for the second straight game in place of injured junior Rees Odhiambo, who was in uniform for pregame warm-ups. Odhiambo is expected to return next week. He could have played in an emergency, Harsin said.
— Senior safety Jeremy Ioane did not play. “He’s not healthy right now,” Harsin said. “In an emergency situation, he could play. We’ll have him back next week. He’ll be feeling better.” The Broncos compensated by starting senior nickel Corey Bell at safety and playing with three linebackers, adding senior Blake Renaud to regular starters Tanner Vallejo and Ben Weaver. True freshman Dylan Sumner-Gardner played safety when Bell moved to nickel in passing situations.
— Junior wide receiver Troy Ware did not play. He is expected back next week.
— Senior cornerback Bryan Douglas played after missing one game with concussion symptoms. However, senior wide receiver Dallas Burroughs was the primary kickoff returner.
— Wide receiver Tanner Shipley was not in uniform.
Miller record watch
Boise State senior wide receiver Matt Miller entered Saturday’s game needing 167 receiving yards to break the school career record. He also had caught a pass in 42 straight games, five short of the Mountain West record.
Miller made five catches for 107 yards in the first half. That extended his streak to 43 straight games with a catch and moved him within 60 yards of the school yardage record.
Miller was shaken up on a 20-yard catch in the third quarter and did not return. He could have played, Harsin said, but the lopsided score made that unnecessary.
“I saw that safety — he took a pretty good shot,” Hedrick said. “I think it probably knocked the wind out of him a little bit. I gave him a high-five and he’s probably going to be pissed at me after that (throw).”
Interesting night for Goodale
Boise State senior kicker Dan Goodale missed a 44-yard field goal wide right late in the second quarter. He had made nine in a row since missing a potential game-winner against San Diego State in November and 21 of his previous 22. His career long was 47 yards.
Just before halftime, Goodale lined up for a 54-yard attempt. That would have tied for the second-longest field goal in school history — a distance not achieved by a Bronco since 1986.
Earlier in the week, Harsin said Goodale could kick a 55- to 60-yarder. And in warm-ups, Goodale hit the left upright from 57 yards.
But the Broncos didn’t let him try this one. They called a fake, with Miller — the holder — flipping the ball over his shoulder to Goodale, who was tackled for a 7-yard loss.
“We saw a look that we thought we could do it,” Harsin said. “We had the timeout there, we came back and it was like, ‘If that’s what we get, it’s going to be money.’ We had that exact look, and right before we snapped it, (after) you can really check out of it, the guy backs out. They showed one thing and they backed out of it, they probably saw it so good on their part. But it would’ve been something.”
Goodale made a 40-yard field goal in the third quarter and a 33-yarder in the fourth quarter.
“Had a couple that were pushed right, but the one thing I know, Dan will come back and work at it — I don't need to say anything to Dan,” Harsin said. “ We're going to get better because of this game.”
Boise State wore all blue with a new look for their helmets. A chrome “B” logo was added to the left side. The usual gray Bronco head stayed on the right. The number was moved to the back. And the Broncos used the chrome facemasks from the orange helmets they wore in the season opener.
The “B” is the university logo. It was used in conjunction with homecoming.
Kickoff was pushed back to 8:39 p.m. by CBS Sports Network. Former Boise Junior College football coach and Boise State athletic director Lyle Smith served as an honorary captain. The field at Albertsons Stadium is named for him. Boise State’s single-game captains were Hedrick and junior safety Darian Thompson. Sophomore linebacker Darren Lee, who tipped two punts against Connecticut, carried the Hammer. Boise State won the coin toss and deferred. The attendance was 33,337. It was the third time in the past four home games that the crowd was smaller than 34,000. Capacity is 36,387.
BSU — Jay Ajayi 2 run (Dan Goodale kick), 8:37. Key plays: Ajayi carried eight times for 45 yards, including a 17-yard gain on third-and-4. Wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes made an 8-yard grab on third-and-6 to start the march. Drive: 12 plays, 70 yards, 4:46. Boise State 7, Louisiana 0
BSU — Ajayi 2 run (Goodale kick), 6:21. Key plays: Linebacker Tyler Gray broke up a pass on a Louisiana fourth down. On the next play, quarterback Grant Hedrick threw deep down the right sideline to wide receiver Matt Miller for 57 yards. Drive: 3 plays, 64 yards, :54. Boise State 14, Louisiana 0
UL — Hunter Stover 22 field goal, 2:01. Key plays: On fourth-and-14, holder Jake Guidry dropped the field-goal snap. Stover scooped up the ball and lofted a desperation pass to Evan Tatford for a 14-yard gain. Earlier in the drive, a roughing-the-punter penalty on Joe Martarano gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a first down and running back Elijah McGuire made a 23-yard catch. Drive: 12 plays, 70 yards, 4:20. Boise State 14, Louisiana 3
BSU — Ajayi 16 run (Goodale kick), 12:04. Key plays: Hedrick completed a 16-yard pass to Ajayi, a 15-yarder to tight end Jake Roh and a 15-yarder to Williams-Rhodes to run his streak to 10 straight completions to start the game. Drive: 5 plays, 62 yards, 1:28. Boise State 21, Louisiana 3
BSU — Goodale 40 field goal, 10:58. Key plays: Dallas Burroughs returned the opening kickoff of the second half 47 yards. Hedrick provided the big offensive play with a 16-yard scramble. Drive: 10 plays, 30 yards, 4:02. Boise State 24, Louisiana 3
BSU — Devan Demas 5 run (Goodale kick), 6:39. Key plays: Williams-Rhodes gained 33 yards on an end-around and Hedrick hit Miller for 20 yards on the next play to reach the 5. Drive: 6 plays, 73 yards, 2:07. Boise State 31, Louisiana 3
UL — McGuire 7 run (Stover kick failed), 11:56. Key play: Boise State jumped offside on third-and-1 to give the Cajuns a first down. Drive: 11 plays, 80 yards, 4:56. Boise State 31, Louisiana 9
BSU — Goodale 33 field goal, 1:27. Key play: Demas ran 73 yards. Drive: 5 plays, 75 yards, 2:35. Boise State 34, Louisiana 9
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