Boise State football starts freshman quarterback for the LA Bowl

Photo by Marlei Soderquist

Despite what has been one of the most historic seasons for the Broncos, the magic had to stop at some point. 

The Broncos received their first loss since firing their former head coach Andy Avalos during the LA Bowl against UCLA. 

The 35-22 loss against the Bruins signals the end of the 2023 season for the Broncos. 

After a season of triumph and bringing home the Mountain West Championship title, the Broncos were unable to close out the season with another win. 

As the Broncos were slated to face the Bruins, they had to face a difficult decision of who would be playing quarterback. 

Their options were limited with Taylen Green transferring to Arkansas and Maddux Madsen out for the year. This led the team to rely on true freshman CJ Tiller to lead the Broncos in the LA Bowl.

It was “Tiller Time” in SoFi Stadium. 

Tiller stepped up for his first collegiate start going 12-21 for 117 yards.

The Broncos struggled in the red zone during the first half, but were still able to put points on the board. Although the Broncos were coming off a tremendous performance in the Mountain West Championship game, they had a tough time making key stops and getting things going on the offensive end. 

Boise State started to sputter in the second half.

The Bruins trailed 16-7 at halftime and scored on their first three drives in the second half to take control.

In spite of Boise State’s early lead, the Bruins came back and rallied over the Broncos. 

Bruins starting quarterback Collin Schlee left early in the second half, giving Ethan Garbers the opportunity to lead a comeback. Both Garbersand running back TJ Harden scored two touchdowns in the second half, propelling  UCLA to a 35-22 victory over Boise State.

UCLA wide receiver J. Michael Sturdivant had four receptions for 142 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter that put UCLA up by three scores.

Bronco running back George Holani had both of Boise State’s touchdowns and finished with 138 yards rushing on 17 carries. 

Though the season’s ending wasn’t exactly what the team had hoped for, there will be plenty of time during the offseason for the Broncos to continue their search for the missing pieces of their squad.

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