Boise State Scores 28 straight to comeback against San Jose State, 35-27

Taya Power-Thornton | The Arbiter

Boise State beats San José State 35-27 in a comeback victory on a historic homecoming weekend.

“Comeback” is really an understatement. The Broncos were down 27-7 at one point in the game, until they flipped a switch and scored 28 unanswered points matching the second largest Bronco comeback in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) era.

“This is a brotherhood,” redshirt sophomore linebacker Andrew Simpson said. “We just looked at each other and we just decided we’re not going to lose today.”

They did it all without senior running back George Holani and sixth year linebacker DJ Schramm.

Not only did the Broncos pull off a huge comeback, but they did it in front of the second largest crowd in Albertsons Stadium history.

“Bronco Nation was a huge part of that … the stadium was electric,” head coach Andy Avalos said. “There was one part when the referees came over to us and were asking about the volume within the stadium and how loud the crowd was. Can’t do anything about the crowd, but they asked us to turn down the volume in the stadium. That’s never really happened before. That was pretty cool.”

Much like their season, the Broncos got off to a rough against what seemed like one of their easier matchups on their schedule.

San José State outclassed Boise State in the first quarter. They outscored the Broncos 14-0 and forced two turnovers, one of which was a fumble by star running back Ashton Jeanty.

The second quarter didn’t go much better. The team turned the ball over two more times, totaling to three offensive turnovers. The Spartans were able to score on all three turnovers.

Going into this game, Jeanty was said to be the best player on the field, but the Spartans made the sophomore look like a liability in the first half.

His second fumble came in a crucial redzone drive where the Broncos were aiming to get back in the game as they trailed 20-7. 

“I worked hard enough to put myself in this position,” Jeanty said. “What comes of it is mistakes, and obviously you would like to take those away … as much as I’m getting the ball, to the best of the best it happens.”

Instead, San José State recovered the ball on their own 16. Spartans receiver Nick Nash burned Bronco safety Zion Washington for a 58 yard pass shortly after and found the endzone four plays later, putting them up 27-7.

Jeanty had a bad first half, and it showed just how important his good play is for the offense.

On the final drive of the second quarter, the coaches kept him off the field, as redshirt freshman quarterback Maddux Madsen led the Broncos on a 14 play, 70 yard scoring drive to close out the half, 27-14 San José State.

The second half was a different story for the Broncos.

Madsen took most of the snaps to decent success by this point, but Green and Jeanty revived the offense midway through the third quarter.

“They are both great players,” Jeanty said. “They both bring different things to this offense. When the time came to execute, they both executed.”

Green took significantly less snaps than normal on the night but completed 4 of 8 pass attempts for one touchdown and 74 yards. He also rushed five times for 40 yards and two touchdowns.

Jeanty returned to his former self, dominating in the final two quarters. He rushed for 167 yards on 24 carries on the night.

Ashton Jeanty made history during his second half performance, becoming the first player to surpass 1,000 all purpose yards through six games in the FBS era since 1996.

“If we were going to get ourselves back in a hurry like we needed to, Ashton is going to be a big part of that,” Avalos said. “[I’m] really proud of him. It’s not always going to be perfect, but I’m really proud of how Ashton persevered tonight.”

Madsen played just as big of a role in the passing game.

Seeing the most snaps of his young career, he led the team with nine completions on 16 attempts, totaling 155 yards, a touchdown and an interception early in the game.

Offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan was unpredictable when calling plays for each of the two quarterbacks.

“They both worked off each other very well today,” Avalos said. “Obviously once we got going and we limited the turnovers in the first half it was awesome to see. I thought Bush did a great job of mixing it up …Those guys are capable of doing a lot of things.”

Though Green is known for his quickness and run design plays and Madsen is known for more pass option plays, Hamdan made sure to keep the San José State defense on their toes. 

The first year offensive coordinator boldly called three designed run plays for Madsen, who is typically a pocket passer. Nevertheless he notched eight total carries and 39 yards.

This week against San José, the Broncos were a tale of two quarterbacks and two halves.

Despite having their largest point deficit since the University of Washington game, something happened in the locker room at halftime that led to the defense shutting out San José State and the offense putting up 28 straight points.

“Super excited for the team to find the will from within to come back in the second half and play the way we did,” Avalos said. “Super excited for the coaches. They did some unbelievable things … there were some adjustments at halftime.”

The defense came up big late in the fourth quarter. For the first time this season they held firm on a critical defensive stand. 

With under three minutes on the clock, junior safety A’Marion McCoy put the nail in the coffin when he picked off Cordeiro 

“A’Marion is one of my closest friends,” Simpson said. “He transferred in and is bringing the ball game … It is exciting to see him continue to grow this season.”

Simpson said there’s definitely things the team has to clean up, even in the second half.

That there is, as the defense gave up another 400+ yard game to the Spartans.

“Just taking steps every day,” Simpson said. “Just trying to be better as a unit, all on the same page … we just made sure that everybody takes one step at a time and does their job … it is just defense … you can play well 65 snaps and do bad five and you had a bad game … we just have to be consistent.”

Boise State remains unbeaten in Mountain West play (2-0) and improves to 3-3 on the season overall. 

“It’s nothing more than this team is capable of,” Avalos said. “There were guys that had to beat the game, guys stepped up and played in the game. We adjusted personnel in certain situations and moved some guys around.”

Though the Broncos sit atop the Mountain West standings, with teams like Wyoming, Air Force and Fresno State on their schedule, they can’t expect to compete for a championship maintaining this level of play.

The Broncos will head to Colorado to face Colorado State on October 14.

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