The Broncos leave Las Vegas Bowl feeling unlucky in 38-7 defeat

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Quarterback Hank Bachmeier reemerged for the first time since Nov. 2 as Boise State’s starter in the 2019 Las Vegas Bowl. Much like the rest of the game, though, Bachmeier’s return was lackluster.

The Las Vegas Bowl was one of the most anticipated games of the bowl season, in large part because University of Washington head coach Chris Peterson would be taking on his former team and offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin in the final game of his career. Peterson and the Huskies outcoached and outperformed the Broncos 38-7. 

Redshirt senior quarterback Jaylon Henderson had earned the Broncos’ past four starts, but missed practice in Las Vegas due to an illness. Both Harsin and Henderson said that Bachmeier’s start had nothing to do with the illness. 

“I was only sick for like a day, so it wasn’t really anything that bad at all,” Henderson said. “I was good. I was in bed sick and then the next day I was good and ready to go.”

The Broncos’ first drive of the game concluded with a careless interception. Bachmeier evaded a sack but made the decision to throw the ball down the field into a sea of purple and gold. The interception paved the way for the Broncos’ poor performance. Bachmeier went 15-for-26 for 119 yards and two interceptions. 

The Broncos’ offense managed to put together one solid drive, and that was in the third quarter when Henderson took the field. The drive was 11 plays for 77 yards and it led to the Broncos’ first and only score of the game, a 10-yard pass to true freshman running back George Holani.

Holani’s impressive season extended the Broncos’ 1,000-yard rusher streak, but he and the rest of the running backs were unsuccessful against a tough Huskies defense. Holani had 11 carries for 35 yards. 

The defense, which was the Broncos’ strength for most of 2019, struggled as much as the offense. 38 points were the second-most points the Broncos’ defense allowed all season. The Huskies’ offense anticipated every one of the Broncos’ defensive moves. 

“Obviously, it doesn’t feel great going out like this,” said senior tackle Chase Hatada. “I know every single one of the guys on the outside didn’t quit, and I couldn’t be more appreciative of those guys and the coaches. It doesn’t feel great, but I know these guys next year will come back and ball out and keep the Bronco tradition going.”

After the game, STUD Curtis Weaver sat alone crying on the sidelines it had already hit him that the Broncos would have to sit on this ugly loss until September of 2020. 

“I take it very personal,” Weaver said. “It goes back all the way to when we had our first players’ meeting before fall cap. The whole defense and the whole offense, those guys every day are going to give you their all, and that’s what it is at Boise State. No one is going to give you 90%. Everyone is going to give you 110%, and if they can’t, that means they’re injured.”

Two Broncos forego their final year of eligibility

Since the Las Vegas Bowl, the Broncos have lost stars in Weaver and offensive lineman Ezra Cleveland to the NFL Draft. 

Cleveland started in 267 straight games for the Broncos in 2017-18 and only missed one game in 2019 while battling a foot injury. 

Weaver finished his career at Boise State with 34 sacks, three forced fumbles and two interceptions. Weaver is projected to be taken in the first or second round of the NFL draft that is taking place on April 25-27.

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