Boise State football defeats UTEP 54-13 in home opener

Boise State vs. UTEP
Photo by Claire Keener | The Arbiter

Boise State’s home opener against the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) resulted in a 54-13 victory for the Broncos on Friday, Sept. 10. 

This game was Head Coach Andy Avalos’s first career win as Boise State’s head coach.

“I think [the offense] made the most of their opportunities in the first half,” Avalos said. “The offense was explosive and were really clicking.”

Similar to last week’s game against UCF, the Broncos had a strong start as their first drive ended in a field goal by sophomore kicker/punter Jonah Dalmas followed by an 81-yard punt return touchdown by redshirt junior receiver Stefan Cobbs.

According to Boise State Athletics, Cobbs’s punt return tied for the sixth-longest punt returned for a touchdown in program history.

Boise State vs. UTEP
[Boise State’s game against University of Texas El Paso on Sept. 10 ended in a 54-13 victory]
Photo by Claire Keener | The Arbiter

“That play was huge and was a huge momentum shift for us there,” Avalos said. “We were able to gain a ton of momentum and run away with the win from then on. It was not a better time to get a special teams touchdown than on [special teams coach] Stacy Collins’s birthday as well.”

Boise State started to pull away from UTEP in the second quarter as they scored four touchdowns in this quarter alone including a 61-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Hank Bachmeier to Cobbs. 

The defense only gave up 10 points, giving the Broncos a 41-13 lead heading into halftime.

The second half was all Boise State as they had compiled two field goals by Dalmas and a touchdown pass from Bachmeier to redshirt junior tight end Tyneil Hopper while preventing UTEP from scoring.

Led by Bachmeier, the Boise State offense compiled a total of 461 yards with 121 yards on the ground and 340 yards through the air. 

Bachmeier ended off the night with 340 yards and two passing touchdowns, one to Cobbs and the other to Hopper. 

“[Bachmeier] had done a much better job at taking what the defense is giving him and spreading the ball around the field,” Avalos said.

Along with Bachmeier’s strong performance, senior wide receiver Khalil Shakir had 166 receiving yards off seven receptions, senior running back Andrew Van Buren had two rushing touchdowns and redshirt sophomore running back George Holani had one rushing touchdown.

The Bronco defense had a rough start but picked up the pace as the game progressed. The defense finished off with six turnovers, including three fumble recoveries and three interceptions. 

Junior safety JL Skinner stole the show defensively as he finished off the game with nine total tackles and two forced fumbles.

“I’m just working on myself before every game to the point where I just know that I am locked in before every game,” Skinner said. “Right now I am just really focused on the game of football.”

The defense performance also included freshman cornerback Seyi Oladipo having two interceptions, fifth-year linebacker Riley Whimpey having eight total tackles and redshirt freshman defensive end Shane Erwin with a strip-sack.

Boise State’s next game will be against Oklahoma State University on Saturday, Sept. 18 at Albertsons Stadium.

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