Boise State completed the underdog upset this week with the huge win over Brigham Young University (BYU). The Broncos traveled to Provo and defeated the No. 10 ranked Cougars 26-17 on Saturday, Oct. 9.
“It’s a huge win, obviously the records are a big deal,” said head coach Andy Avalos. “[BYU has] got an unbelievable team and coaching staff, but this is part of reestablishing the foundation — reestablishing what Boise State has been all about, and that’s about hard work, diligence and taking care of each other. This just shows what we are capable of.”
While having fewer total yards than BYU, Boise State was able to capitalize off BYU turnovers, which led to a great starting field position and saw strong drives in the red zone. According to Boise State Athletics, Boise State’s average field position was the opposing 17-yard line.
Despite losing a key player, junior safety JL Skinner, in the second quarter due to a targeting penalty, Boise State’s defense was able to hold the top-10 offense in the country,forcing four turnovers, three fumble recoveries and one interception throughout the game.
“When it comes to turnovers, they are always huge,” said fifth-year linebacker Riley Whimpey. “Our defense has done a great job getting the ball back to our offense this year. A couple of those turnovers came at crucial points in the game and set our offense up with great field position, and they capitalized on those.”
What stood out about the team’s performance was the 140 rushing yards they were able to gain. After struggling all year with running the football, Boise State fixed an area of their game that needed improvement.
“The O-line, the running backs and tight ends did a tremendous job in the running game, and I’m so proud of them,” Avalos said.
Boise State started off slow in the first quarter, allowing BYU to score 10 points. The Broncos managed to escape the quarter 3-10, thanks to a field goal by sophomore kicker Jonah Dalmas.
The momentum shifted in the second quarter as the Broncos dominated the Cougars before halftime. Boise State forced BYU to turn over the ball twice and managed to score 17 points.
The Broncos scored on an 11-yard touchdown run from redshirt senior running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio, a 1-yard touchdown run by senior running back Andrew Van Buren and a 20-yard field goal by Dalmas, giving the underdogs a 20-10 lead heading into halftime.
“I think schematically BYU’s defensive structure causes them to drop eight defenders which is hard to throw the ball against.” said junior quarterback Hank Bachmeier. “You have to run the ball against the three-man rush and we were able to do that today. I credit coach Keen and the O-line who were criticized so much throughout this year and I’m so happy for those guys”
Boise State cooled down a bit in the third quarter, only gaining 63 total yards compared to BYU’s 119 yards. Regardless, the Broncos forced another fumble and added three more points off of a 28-yard field goal by Dalmas.
The Broncos finished strong through the final quarter, defying the second-half falters that have plagued the team this season. They let up a BYU touchdown early in the quarter, but bounced back and scored a field goal by Dalmas to extend their lead to two scores. An interception late in the quarter sealed the Boise State victory.
Boise State is now 3-3 on the year and 6-3 against top-10 teams all-time with the win in Provo, Utah.
“I’m just happy with the coaches and players for being persistent and being real with each other,” Avalos said. “We obviously have some things that we need to keep working on, but right now we are going to enjoy the fact that we kept perspective and worked harder than we have every day this week than we have done all season. The guys are finally understanding that to be our best for all four quarters, each weekend it takes hard work every single day.”
Boise State will return to The Blue next week as they face Air Force on Saturday, Oct. 16.