Boise State earns hard-fought win over North Texas in the Frisco Bowl

Photo courtesy of Boise State Athletics

The Broncos went out with a brawl, literally. 

Boise State beat North Texas 35-32 in an unexpectedly entertaining Frisco Bowl on Dec. 18 in a back-and-forth battle.

Tensions were high for the majority of the tightly contested match. The game was chippy as players trash talked throughout before coming to a head in the third quarter.

With three minutes remaining in the third quarter, North Texas led 24-21 as the Broncos faced a second-and-15 from their own 44-yard line. 

Boise State redshirt freshman quarterback Taylen Green dropped back to throw, was forced out of the pocket and ran to his left. As he hurdled along the sideline, he took a big hit that sent him into the North Texas bench.

As North Texas players surrounded Green on the sideline after the hit, Boise State redshirt sophomore wide receiver Latrell Caples came flying into the frame and shoved a North Texas player out of the way to get to Green.

Once Caples finished the shove, several players from both teams started fighting on the North Texas sideline in an all-out brawl.

[Tweet from @CFBBluePrint.]

It took the officiating crew several minutes to sort out who should be penalized from both teams, but ultimately all unsportsmanlike conduct penalties were offset, and the down was replayed. 

In addition, there were no ejections for the several players from both teams involved in the brawl. 

Green scored on a 19-yard touchdown running play later in the drive to give the Broncos a 28-24 lead.

Green helped Boise State score a bowl-program-record 22 points in the third quarter with two rushing touchdowns.

He added 137 passing yards and one passing touchdown in Boise State’s first bowl victory since 2017.

”The message at halftime was just ‘keep doing what we’re doing and don’t stress,’” Green said. ”We’ve been in this position before. We trust the game plan. We trust the coaches. We told ourselves to stay calm and do what we do.”

Freshman running back Ashton Jeanty ran for 178 yards as Boise State piled up a season-high 320 yards rushing.

The Broncos outscored North Texas 29-22 in the second half after the Mean Green led 10-6 at the break.

Both teams lost their conference championship games, Boise State in the Mountain West and North Texas in Conference USA.

”It’s so gratifying to be able to see these guys celebrate,” Boise State head coach Andy Avalos said. ”It’s tough to leave the locker room right now being around the guys, just because they deserve this.”

The Broncos completed a bowl game for the first time since 2019 and only the second time in the last five seasons, a stretch that began in the school’s last trip to the Dallas area when the 2018 First Responder Bowl against Boston College was canceled and declared no contest due to severe weather.

Last year, the Broncos withdrew from the Arizona Bowl due to COVID-19 cases within the program, and in 2020 Boise State voted not to participate in a bowl game after going 5-2 during the COVID-shortened season. 

Avalos will continue his pursuit to return the Broncos to national prominence after Boise State finished with four losses for the second straight season.

The Broncos finished with ten wins for the 18th time in 24 seasons, and have gone undefeated in Mountain West Conference play three of the last four seasons. 

Despite great conference success, the team hasn’t cracked the AP Top 25 in either of Avalos’s two seasons after being ranked every season from 2002-2020.

With a new offensive coordinator, Bush Hamdan, at the helm, the Broncos have hope for an even stronger season in 2023. 

“We told Bronco Nation we were going to be diligent,” Avalos said. “Bush brings something to the table that a lot of people don’t. There’s a lot of very-qualified people out there, but today we’re very excited to announce Bush as our offensive coordinator.”

[Boise State celebrates their Frisco Bowl win against North Texas on Dec. 18.]
Photo courtesy of Boise State Athletics

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