The highly anticipated game on The Blue did not turn out the way Bronco fans wanted as Oklahoma State defeated Boise State 21-20 in a very close game on Saturday, Sept. 18.
This is the first loss on The Blue for Boise State since Oct. 8, 2020, against Brigham Young University (BYU).
“We have to go look at the film and [we’ve] got to just be more consistent at moving the ball on first downs and being able to move those sticks,” said Head Coach Andy Avalos.
Both teams scored all of their points in the first half and left the second half of play scoreless.
Boise State started the first quarter off with a 40-yard field goal by sophomore kicker/punter Jonah Dalmas, followed by a 28-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Hank Bachmeier to redshirt senior receiver Davis Koetter for his first touchdown catch of the season.
“I think some of the best players in the world are the best because of what they can do without the ball in their hands, so I try to make an impact regardless of the ball being in my hands,” Koetter said after being asked about his first touchdown catch. “When I am lucky enough for the ball to come my way, I am just trying to make something happen.”
Oklahoma State responded to these scores with a 75-yard rushing touchdown by redshirt senior running back Jaylen Warren.
In the second quarter, Boise State had a five-yard rushing touchdown by redshirt senior running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio and a 36-yard field goal by Dalmas. Oklahoma State responded again by scoring on a six-yard rushing touchdown by Warren and a one-yard rushing touchdown by redshirt junior quarterback Spencer Sanders.
Both the third and fourth quarters ended up being a defensive showdown as both teams left the other scoreless.
The most controversial play of the second half was a forced fumble by fifth-year linebacker Riley Whimpey recovered by junior safety JL Skinner and returned for a touchdown with 3:22 left in the fourth quarter.
The ball carrier was initially ruled down by contact but the play was overturned, resulting in Boise State gaining possession of the ball. Because of their initial ruling, the play was called dead too early by the referees, leading to the referees not counting the touchdown that Skinner had gotten on the play.
“I think that they should have let that play go and review it after,” said fifth-year nickelback Kekaula Kaniho. “That would have helped the Broncos a lot. At the end of the day, it is what it is. We ended up getting the ball back, but we need to finish better on both offense and defense.”
The Boise State defense struggled to stop Oklahoma State’s run game in the first half by giving up 168 rushing yards. The defense made adjustments at halftime and did a better job against the run in the second half, only letting up 78 rushing yards.
“[Oklahoma State] came out with a great gameplan with the run, especially with the outside run play, so going into halftime we knew that that’s what we needed to stop,” Kaniho said. “I think we did a great job coming out in the second half and doing that, but we needed to stop their running game from the get-go.”
The halftime adjustments worked well enough that Skinner was able to get 2.5 tackles for a loss of yards and Kaniho was able to get two tackles for a loss of yards in the second half.
“On defense, we say that it takes everybody to stop the run so being able to step up and make plays on defense is a great feeling and is a testament for the other guys doing their job too,” Kaniho said after being asked about his two tackles for loss.
The outcome was ultimately not what Boise State had hoped for, but the team will head on the road to play at Utah State on Saturday, Sept. 25.