Bronco Beat

Full of new starters, Boise State defense rose to occasion at Louisiana

Boise State defensive end Sam McCaskill after season opening win

BSU defensive end Sam McCaskill talks about the 45-10 win over Louisiana-Lafayette in the season opener
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BSU defensive end Sam McCaskill talks about the 45-10 win over Louisiana-Lafayette in the season opener

Seven Boise State defensive players were making their first or second career start in Saturday’s 45-10 win at Louisiana, and it wasn’t easy to tell.

The Broncos allowed just 38 yards on the Ragin’ Cajuns first five drives, helping put the game out of hand quickly, as Boise State scored four touchdowns on its first five drives for a 28-0 lead. Louisiana’s longest rush was 17 yards, and only three passes went more than 20 yards as the Broncos outgained the Cajuns 584-267.

“It was really nice to see those new guys step in and play their role,” senior defensive end Sam McCaskill said. “... I can’t really remember busting a big pass play at all. We had a lot of guys step up in the secondary, and that was awesome.”

Boise State (1-0) racked up 12 tackles for loss and five sacks in the win, and helped the offense by keeping Louisiana off the scoreboard until the final snap of the first half. The game was essentially sealed when senior cornerback Jonathan Moxey made a second quarter open-field tackle on a swing pass on fourth-and-1 for a 1-yard loss that gave the offense the ball at the Louisiana 37-yard line. Two plays later, it was 28-0 in the Broncos’ favor.

“Our defense did an unbelievable job today,” sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien said.

Stalwarts such as senior linebacker Tanner Vallejo (team-high nine tackles) and McCaskill (two sacks) helped lead the charge. Junior Cameron Hartsfield had eight stops, and fellow first-time starting safety Evan Tyler had 1.5 tackles for loss.

“It’s definitely a confidence booster. ... Hopefully we can keep the train rolling,” Vallejo said.

Up next: Washington State

For the second straight season, Washington State lost its first game to a Big Sky Conference team. Last year, it was Portland State. On Saturday, Eastern Washington racked up 606 total yards in a 45-42 win in Pullman.

Boise State hosts Washington State in its home opener at 8:15 p.m. Saturday at Albertsons Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

The Cougars boast one of the nation’s best quarterbacks in junior Luke Falk, who was 41-of-51 for 418 yards with four touchdowns and an interception against EWU. He threw for 4,561 yards with 38 touchdowns and eight interceptions last season. Senior receiver Gabe Marks had 10 catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns Saturday.

Defense is not typically a strength of Mike Leach teams, but Washington State seemed to take a step up last season, allowing 13 touchdowns through the air and intercepting 13 passes. They did, however, allow 193.3 rushing yards per game (95th nationally). Eastern Washington, a pass-heavy team where Boise State assistants Zak Hill and Junior Adams once coached, threw for 496 yards Saturday.

Mountain West recap

Wyoming won a wacky late one early Sunday morning, topping Northern Illinois 40-34 in triple overtime, a victory that finished at 2:34 a.m. MT after lighting delayed the kickoff until 10:20 p.m. Saturday.

That win gave the Mountain West its second win of the opening weekend over a Football Bowl Subdivision school, joining Boise State’s 45-10 rout of Louisiana.

Other games:

Utah State 45, Weber State 6

New Mexico 48, South Dakota 21

UNLV 63, Jackson State 13

Colorado 44, Colorado State 7

Nevada 30, Cal Poly 27 (OT)

Michigan 63, Hawaii 3

Air Force 37, Abilene Christian 21

Tulsa 45, San Jose State 10

Nebraska 43, Fresno State 10

San Diego State 31, New Hampshire 0

Deayon makes practice squad

According to a report from SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano, former Boise State cornerback Donte Deayon is expected to join the New York Giants’ practice squad. Deayon was released Saturday by the team as the NFL cutdowns to the final 53-man rosters took place, but he impressed in camp and in the preseason.

Washington State at Boise State

  • When: 8:15 p.m. Saturday
  • Where: Albertsons Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf), Boise
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Radio: KBOI (670 AM)/KTIK (93.1 FM); Bob Behler, Pete Cavender
  • Series: Washington State leads 4-0 (won 42-20 in 2001 in Boise)
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