Boise State took another step in the right direction on their path to the Mountain West Championship game, with a 34-17 homecoming victory over rival Nevada on Saturday night.
The game began with a scary opening play from scrimmage for the Broncos on their first offensive possession, when redshirt senior quarterback Joe Southwick went down with an ankle injury while scrambling towards the sideline.
Southwick would not return, suffering a broken ankle. This left redshirt junior quarterback Grant Hedrick to take the reigns for the rest of the night.
“Yeah, it definitely sucks to lose a great leader like that when it’s his senior year,” redshirt senior linebacker Khayree Marshall said. “But at the same time we still got a game to play and we have to continue to play that game.”
Hedrick picked up where Southwick left off with his completion percentage, connecting on 18-of-21 passes on the night for 150 yards and one interception off a tipped pass.
Hedrick also showcased his mobility as he exploded for 115-yards rushing on eight carries, scoring two touchdowns.
A long run of 49-yards sparked the Boise State offense at the end of the first half, before redshirt sophomore running back Jay Ajayi scored the Broncos only touchdown of the half, as they headed to the locker rooms trailing Nevada 17-7.
“It was the same game plan,” Hedrick said. “Obviously we ran the ball really well.”
Ajayi led the way for the Boise State Broncos on the ground, with 222-yards on 24 carries and three touchdowns. The 9.3 average per carry was helped by a long touchdown run of 71-yards as the Broncos outscored Nevada 24-0 in the second half.
The 71-yard touchdown run by Ajayi matched his career long, when he took one 71-yards against New Mexico last season
“I just think it was a really good team effort in the second half,” Boise State head coach Chris Petersen said. “Both sides responded about as well as we possibly could have.”
The Boise State Broncos will now head to BYU next Friday night on ESPN on a short week. The non-confernce rivalry will provide a short break from the Mountain West Conference schedule.
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