Coming into their Dec. 12 matchup against the Wyoming Cowboys, the Boise State Broncos had clinched a Mountain West Championship appearance. The Broncos had an unknown amount of their coaching staff out due to COVID-19 protocol.
Before the game, the football field was completely covered in snow and had to be cleared between television breaks.
“I don’t think I’ve played in anything like that before,” said wide receiver Khalil Shakir. “That much snow, it was tough. I think everyone in the world knows that it was cold out there, but at the end of the day we have a football game to play.”
Hank Bachmeier started as quarterback for the Broncos this game. On the offensive play of the game, he threw an interception that set the Cowboys up at the Broncos 34-yard line. The Cowboys kicked a subsequent field goal that put them up 3-0 early in the first quarter.
Bachmeier turned the offense around and led the Broncos 75-yards down the field for a 4-yard passing touchdown to running back George Holani.
It was a defensive battle in the second quarter. The Broncos scored the only points of the quarter with a 34-yard field goal and having 102 yards of offense in the quarter to Wyoming’s 5.
The Broncos blocked their fifth kick of the season with 7:30 left in the quarter. Despite taking over at Wyoming’s 26-yard line, Boise State was held scoreless on the drive after a botched snap on a field goal attempt.
On the final drive of the first half, the Broncos drove the ball down to the Cowboy’s 2-yard line with two seconds left. The Broncos attempted to run a play before the ball was legally allowed to be snapped. To the displeasure of Wyoming fans, the referees allowed the Broncos to reset themselves. Bachmeier then threw the ball to the back corner of the endzone for an incompletion to end the half. The Broncos had the lead at the half 10-3.
Andrew Van Buren ran in the first and only touchdown of the third quarter when he punched it in from two yards out on a halfback dive. The Cowboys responded with a 36-yard field goal to end the half 17-6.
The Broncos began the fourth quarter with two three-and-outs failing to run out the clock.
The Cowboys responded with a three-and-out of their own followed by a 53-yard drive capped off with another 36-yard field goal cutting Boise State’s lead down to eight.
“That was a tough game,” said head coach Bryan Harsin. “The weather conditions were certainly a factor and Wyoming played hard like they always do. It was more difficult as the game went on. Really the key to the game was special teams.”
The Broncos regained possession of the ball with 4:28 left to play. They were able to run the clock down to 0:41 before punting the ball away. The Cowboys drive was short-lived, only lasting four plays and finishing with an interception as the clock struck zero, ending the game in a 17-9 Bronco victory.
Boise State will play San Jose State in the Mountain West Championship on Dec. 19, at a to be determined location and time. Linebacker Riley Whimpey commented on playing in the team’s fourth straight championship game.
“We’re pumped that we have the opportunity to play San Jose State. They’re a great team and they deserve to be in the Mountain West Championship game. We’re excited to go face them this upcoming week and put ourselves in a successful situation,” Whimpey said.