Boise State football kicked off for the first time in 308 days. The Broncos took on the Utah State Aggies in the first game of their shortened eight-game season. Boise State received the opening kick off before being held to a three and out their first possession. The Bronco defense responded by holding the Aggies to a three and out of their own.
The Broncos defense led the way in a 42-13 victory by holding the Aggies to 45 total yards of offense in the first half and 203 for the game.
“I’m happy for our guys, I really am. I’m happy for their families. I’m happy for our fans. It was obviously a very different environment,” said Head Coach Bryan Harsin. “One of the things people ask me ‘what it was like?’ and I just tell them is that I hope we never have to again.”
No fans were in attendance for the game as Boise State University decided it was in the best interest of campus safety. The Broncos still emerged from the tunnel in a haze of fog flying the American and “We Bleed Blue” flags.
No players from Boise State’s roster were forced to sit out due to COVID-19 related issues, allowing Harsin and the rest of the coaching staff to suit up whichever 74 players they wanted.
“A lot of the seniors didn’t know if we were going to get a season,” said linebacker Riley Wimpey. “For me, I’m grateful that we were even able to get out there and play. The next step is to get our families in the stands and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be there. There are protocols that we can put in place to allow them to be there.”
Running back George Holani scored the first touchdown of Boise State’s 2020 season on a 1-yard run halfback dive capping off a nine play, 79-yard drive.
Boise State has had a 1,000-yard rusher for the last 11 years. With a shortened season, that streak will be much harder to maintain. This year the Broncos will be playing eight regular season games with a ninth bowl game. To keep the streak alive, Holani will have to average just over 111 rushing yards per game. He had 100 against the Aggies.
Sophomore quarterback Hank Bachmier started for the Broncos after speculation that transfer Jack Sears may take the spot. Bachmeier looked confident spreading the ball around completing 20 of his 28 passes. Bachmier finished with 4 total touchdowns and 268 yards including a 52-yard pass to Khalil Shakir, the second longest touchdown of Bachmier’s career.
“I feel like we did a great job operating and executing, but I think we stalled a few times later and throughout the game,” Bachmier said. “I missed a few throws, I’m a little disappointed in myself, but I’m excited to see how much we can grow and get better next week.”
Wide receiver Khalil Shakier had 157 all-purpose yards with 2-receiving touchdowns. This was the third time in his career that he has had over 100-receiving yards.
The sole turnover of the game came on the final play when Bronco cornerback Tyric LeBeauf picked off a pass as the clock struck zero in the fourth quarter. Boise State did have a special teams mishap in the fourth quarter when punter Joel Velazquez punted the ball into the back of up man John Bates resulting in the Aggies taking over possession on the Broncos’ 21-yard line.
Boise State showed signs that they were just as dominant as years past. In 2019, the Broncos finished first in the Mountain West in offensive scoring (34.7) and fourth in defensive points allowed (21.9).
The Broncos next matchup will be an away game against the (1-0) Air Force Falcons Oct. 31.