The Boise State Broncos defeat the San Diego State Aztecs 34-31 in a back and forth battle to obtain their second straight win on the season.
The Broncos have never lost a Mountain West Conference opener and they weren’t going to start now.
In one of the most evenly matched games of this season, the Broncos edge an incredibly ferocious Aztec offense and win for the second week in a row.
Throughout the start of this season, questions surrounded the Bronco offense. Wondering about the lack of explosive plays, the inability for wide receivers to be effective and lack of confidence in quarterback Taylen Green.
Though there were hints of struggles in the offense during this match, there is no doubt there have been significant strides since week-one.
Wide receiver Eric McAlister, who came off a phenomenal game against University of North Dakota, tallied five catches on the night for 90 yards and a touchdown.
However, the star of the night was none other than Bronco running back Ashton Jeanty. An absolute force in the running game and quite literally ran the Blue and Orange to a victory.
Jeanty ran for 205 yards on 23 attempts, averaging 8.9 yards per carry, as well as putting up two touchdowns on the night.
As running back George Holani is still out due to injury, there is no doubt that there is an upcoming star in Jeanty, putting the weight of the offense on his back and turning head in the process.
With his 205 yard performance, he became the first Bronco since Alexander Mattison in 2018 to run for more than 200 yards.
“Really awesome,” head coach Andy Avalos said about Jeanty’s performance. “I love the way he’s grown. Staying the course, being humble and hungry … as you go from game to game each week he’s got to continue to keep doing stuff like this.”
The back and forth matchup did not look too promising for the Broncos in the first quarter, as the Boise State defense looked ill prepared and stunned by an explosive San Diego State offense that came out swinging.
Aztec quarterback, Jalen Mayben, put on an absolute show and ran his offense with such speed and tenacity.
Mayben put up astounding numbers, with a 73% completion percentage, 241 yards and a touchdown.
The first play of the game, San Diego State running back Kenan Christon ran for a 71 yard punt return that had the incredibly sparse amount of Aztecs fans in Snapdragon Stadium cheering on their Aztecs.
Despite the lack of fans in attendance for the matchup, there was no denying the incapability for the Boise State defense to stop the San Diego State offense.
With miscellaneous missed tackles, continuous errors and allowing Aztec receivers an 81% completion rate, the Bronco defense still has much improvement on the defensive end.
“We just got to be better at tackling,” Avalos said. “We have to be clear about our tackling … I was impressed with how we were doing things, but we weren’t finishing plays, so we will get that cleaned up.”
Going into half, the Broncos and Aztecs were tied 17-17 and it wasn’t until the second half that Green really got his feet underneath him and was leading the offense to a victory.
Green threw for 163 yards, a 55% completion rate and one touchdown and put on display his complete athleticism and why this year could really be his year.
In a crucial play late in the fourth quarter, Green kept the Broncos hopes alive with a speedy, shifty, athletic and diving first down play that displayed not only his running ability but also his power and readiness.
As the Broncos regained a ten point lead after a touchdown by Jeanty, the Aztecs showed no sign of going down without a fight.
Mayben led his team down the field and limped his way into the endzone to keep the Aztecs within three points of the Broncos.
The Aztecs onside kick was unsuccessful and it was only fitting for Jeanty to recover the kick and secure the Bronco win.
With the win, the Broncos improve to a 2-2 record on the season and start Mountain West Conference play 1-0.
The Broncos will travel to Memphis, Tennessee to face the University of Memphis on September 30 for their last non-conference game of the season.