Boise State University crowned Mountain West Champions

The Boise State University Broncos are the 2023 Mountain West Champions. 

Players celebrated, danced and embraced one another as the white and purple confetti rained down on them. After what was one of the wildest seasons, the Broncos added their fifth Mountain West title to the books and cemented themselves into the pages of history. 

The 44-20 win over University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) was not only the cherry on top for the Boise State squad, but concluded what was one of the wildest season comebacks.  

Going to the Mountain West Championship game felt far-fetched for the Broncos just a month ago, with the loss of their head coach, loss of their leading wide receiver and injuries plaguing the team the season looked like a complete wash.

“If you would have told us we would have been here a few weeks ago,” running back Ashton Jeanty said. “I wouldn’t have believed you. What we did was keep our heads down. Keep Working … Coach [Danielson] came on the scene through a dark time and gave us all hope, gave us all faith.”

As the stars began to align, the Broncos miraculously found themselves in contention for the Mountain West Championship. 

Heading into the game against UNLV, it seemed to be one of the more evenly matched games of the season for either team. With comparable offense and defense, it looked as the two would be going head to head the whole way. 

To the surprise of many, the Broncos blew the Rebels out of the water. 

With 316 total yards and four touchdowns, there was no surprise that quarterback Taylen Green would take home the Offensive Player of the Game award.

To accompany Green’s stats, Boise State rushed for 301 yards as a team. The dynamic running back duo was on display yet again to complete the win. Ashton Jeanty notched 153 yards and a touchdown, while his other half, George Holani, had 76 yards.

Boise State came out of the corral as hot as they could have. 

The Broncos went 75 yards on the opening drive of the game and took a 7-0 lead on an 8-yard run from Green, who dove into the pylon resulting in a touchdown. 

After a back and forth with UNLV, the Broncos used another impressive drive to go back in front at 14-7 on a 5-yard touchdown run from Jeanty. Though the Broncos looked to be in impeccable shape, Green threw a pick-six to UNLV to even the score up 14-14.

Green did not let that miscue sway him one bit. Coming back onto the field, Green threw a 57-yard dime to wide open receiver Austin Bolt just three plays later to regain a 21-14 lead. 

Had it been earlier in the season, Green would have possibly folded like a cheap suit after a pick-six. He didn’t and he couldn’t, because the championship was on the line. 

“I am so proud of Taylen and how he responded,” Danielson said. “Football is all about your response. Momentum goes one way then comes back the other way … he responded when things didn’t go his way, which they never will be perfect.”

On the offensive side, Ahmed Hassanein and Alexander Teubner were absolute powerhouses. With a forced fumble by Hassanein and the pick up by Teubner, the two compiled what was one of the biggest defensive games the Broncos had all season. 

Teubners’ fantastic night  led him to becoming the Defensive Player of the Game. He garnered 10 tackles on the night, which is extraordinary for a conference championship matchup. 

The picked up fumble by Teubner led to Green going 70 yards straight to the house. He utilized his incredible running capabilities, dodging defenders and making his way into the endzone. 

Leading early in the second quarter 28-14, the Broncos looked like the early favorites to the matchup.

On UNLV’s next possession, the team forced yet another turnover. The interception by A’marion McCoy turned into a 31-yard field goal from Jonah Dalmas to make it 31-14. 

The teams traded field goals in the third quarter before Boise State put the game away with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Green to Matt Lauter late in the third quarter, and a short field goal by Jonah Dalmas in the fourth quarter. 

Safety Seyi Oladipo made one of the last plays of the game taking down UNLV behind the line of scrimmage and tying the most perfect game in a nice little bow.

The Broncos just did the impossible.

The Gatorade was thrown on Danielson, players jumped around, cried in one another’s arms, it was a vision of emotion, excitement and relief. 

The Broncos had something to prove, and that they did. 

With the win, the Broncos are set to participate in the Los Angeles Bowl Game presented by Rob Gronkoswki on Dec. 16.

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