Boise State stays alive in Mountain West with win over Utah State

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Elise Ledesma | The Arbiter

Boise State’s interim head coach Spencer Danielson wasted no time in leading the Broncos to a dominant 45-10 win over the Utah State Aggies. 

In what was one of their best games of the season, the Broncos are paying an homage to the Bee Gees by “Stayin’ Alive” in the Mountain West. 

Despite the adversity that Boise State football has experienced in the last two weeks, with Andy Avalos being fired, wide receiver Eric McAlister entering the transfer portal and injuries plaguing their starting lineup, the Broncos notched a dominant win over the Aggies. 

With just six days of playing the role of head coach, Danielson helped the Broncos rise from the ashes and establish themselves as a fighting force in the Mountain West Conference yet again. 

The win over Utah State granted the Broncos Bowl Eligibility for the 26th straight year, keeping the second-longest active streak in the FBS alive. 

Not only will the Broncos be in a bowl game, but they will also have the chance to pave their way into the Mountain West Championship game. 

With the win, the Broncos now hold a 5-2 record in the Mountain West and 6-5 overall record on the season. 

As the Broncos are slated to host Air Force (5-2 conference record) on Nov. 24, it will be the determining matchup to see who will most likely face UNLV (6-1 conference record) in the Mountain West Championship.

Despite being favorites to win the Mountain West Championship, the Broncos have had a huge fall from grace. With the emergence of Danielson, the Broncos seem to be turning a new leaf at the most opportune time.

After the statement win, players did not hold back their love and support for their interim head coach. 

“Those guys are excited. They love Coach D [Spencer Danielson] and everything he brings to his program,” running back George Holani said. “He’s a really great coach. He’s always been for the boys and we definitely all love that guy.”

Danielson was showered in a Gatorade bath and swarmed by his players during his post game interview. 

“It’s a group of young men that has my heart,” Danielson said. “They love each other, they love their coaches and like I said, they impact me in way more ways than I impact them. I see them every day … puts a smile on my face.”

The former defensive coordinator will look to lead the Broncos through the remainder of the season as head coach. 

The energy from the Broncos was undeniable throughout the game. High spirits, camaraderie and an unbreakable bond was shown in what was one of the most crucial games of the season. 

“This is the most close this team has ever been,” defensive end Ahmen Hassanein said. “With all the changes happening with all the coaching changing, this is the most closest we’ve ever been.”

After the first quarter of the game, which consisted of struggles in the passing game, questionable coaching decisions and defense giving up big pass plays, the Broncos turned around and had one of the best quarters of play this season. 

Despite being down 0-10, the Broncos came back and overtook the Aggies to secure a hefty 31-10 lead going into the half.

With 31 points in the second quarter, the Broncos recorded the program’s highest scoring quarter since 2015.

The Broncos looked flawless on all fronts of the game during the second quarter. 

Broncos defense kept the Aggies to just 79 yards in the second quarter while also forcing three turnovers. The offense, led by quarterback Taylen Green, held down the other side of the ball. 

Green had two passing touchdowns and Holani had two rushing touchdowns and 158 yards in the quarter. 

The Broncos did not let the foot off the gas for the remainder of the game. 

A once struggling Broncos squad put up incredible numbers on the night with 445 total yards, four forced turnovers and six touchdowns. 

Defensively, the Broncos had an all out performance. 

The Bronco defense rose to the occasion with Danielson at head coach. The team tallied nine sacks on the night which is the most in a single game since Boise State entered the FBS in 1996. 

Hassanein notched his 11th sack of the season, recording the most by a Boise State player in a season since Curtis Weaver in 2019.

Cornerback A’Marion McCoy and safety Rodney Robinson both had an interception to make up two of the four forced turnovers on the night by the Bronco defense. 

As the team is set to return to the Blue to face Air Force, the Broncos look to be in the best condition possible to face a tough team with the Mountain West Championship game at stake.  

Though the Broncos are without their head coach, leading wide receiver, much of the starting lineup and are facing an uncertain future, the Broncos have truly never looked better. 

“I love this team. I love these players. I love this community,” Danielson said. “We love the blue. I love these kids. And as long as I’m here with this group that’s exactly where my mindset is going to be.”

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