Boise State secures pivotal win in New Mexico

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After staying on The Blue two weekends in a row, the now No. 21 Boise State Broncos hit the road to face off against the University of New Mexico Lobos on Friday, Nov. 16, resulting in a smooth and easy 45-14 victory.

The Broncos’ triumph brings their overall season to 9-2 and 6-1 in the Mountain West. They garnered a strong start and retained momentum despite the Lobos’ best efforts in opposing them. After a long season’s worth of struggles, they managed to maintain a solid grasp here.

“Tonight was all about New Mexico. To me, it was all about what are we going to do this week … a lot of it was about just being focused,” said head coach Bryan Harsin. “If we were thinking about anything else, then it would show up in the game, and some of it did. It wasn’t a perfect game.”

The Broncos managed a strong start by scoring two touchdowns within the first quarter, first with senior quarterback Brett Rypien hitting redshirt senior wide receiver Sean Modster for a 15-yard touchdown on the Broncos’ opening driver with 12:38 left on the clock. Next, with 2:21 left, Rypien hit Modster once again this time from 16 yards out.

However, in the second quarter, New Mexico cinched a touchdown with running back Daevo Vigilant breaking through from the 10-yard line, making the score 13-7. But Boise State maintained its lead with another touchdown ran by sophomore strongside linebacker Desmond Williams after stripping and scooping the ball from the Lobos. Right before halftime, redshirt senior kicker Haden Hoggarth scored a field goal, bringing Boise State up 24-7.

In the third quarter, Rypien passed the ball to Modster, who scored his third touchdown with 11:07 left on the clock. The Broncos held off against the Lobos for the rest of the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, New Mexico safety Marcus Hayes ran an 86-yard punt return into the endzone. After sophomore safety Kekaula Kaniho intercepted the ball from New Mexico, junior running back Alexander Mattison ran 41 yards to bring another touchdown. Freshman running back Andrew van Buren rushed 8 yards to the end zone, marking his second-ever touchdown. The Broncos then scored a two-point field goal, effectively ending the game at 45-14.

“I thought we got off to a good start,” Rypien said. “Second half, we’ve got to be a little better in the red zone, make sure we’re finishing off those drives and we’ve got a big one next week, and that’s going to be big (in that game).”

Rypien’s three touchdown passes now bring him to third place in Mountain West history at 88 passes, surpassing Fresno State’s Derek Carr, who previously held that position.

“It felt good. The offensive line blocked amazing on that play and it just opened up,” Mattison said. “To see (tackle) Ezra (Cleveland) come down and the joy on his face after the touchdown. We had to bring our energy today and that’s what we brought. It was amazing.”

Mattison’s last run brought him over 1,000 running yards for this season. He also posted his second straight 100-yard game with a season-high 145 yards.

Hoggarth merited five for five in point after touchdown attempts, kicking within the net after each touchdown. Modster accumulated nine catches for 129 yards along with his touchdowns.

Redshirt sophomore STUD Curtis Weaver and redshirt freshman wide linebacker Ezekiel Noa each contributed sacks to the team. Junior safety Kekoa Nawahine led the Broncos’ defense with six tackles, with Noa following at five stops.

“We’d be fools to look past this week. I’m just happy we came in, did our job and came out,” Modster said. “Next week’s going to be a big one.”

On Saturday, Nov. 24 the Broncos will return to The Blue to face off against No 14 Utah State (10-1 overall, 7-0 MW) for the final regular season game. This match will not only decide who plays in the Mountain West Conference Championship, but also if Boise State will once again host this pivotal game.

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