The role of student leadership in the Broncos’ win over CSU and overall 2019 season

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The Broncos became the first team in program history to complete the regular season undefeated in Mountain West conference play since joining the league in 2011. On Nov. 29, their 31-24 win against Colorado State moved them to 8-0 in the conference and 11-1 overall.

“Today, we wrote history,” said redshirt junior STUD Curtis Weaver.

After a Rams touchdown early in the first quarter, the Broncos’ offense responded with a game strategy resembling “keep-away.” Redshirt senior quarterback Jaylon Henderson led a series of strategic, long-scoring drives to minimize the time the ball spent in the hands of the Rams. 

Henderson found a reliable receiver in redshirt senior tight end Garrett Collingham, who scored two touchdowns for the Broncos. Henderson also acquired his career-first rushing touchdown with a one-yard run in the third quarter.

The Broncos’ defense managed to keep the Rams to one score per quarter with defensive turnovers caused by interceptions by Weaver and redshirt sophomore safety Tyreque Jones. Graduate defensive tackle David Moa extinguished Colorado State’s last drive with a sack late in the fourth quarter, causing them a loss of nine yards.

Head coach Bryan Harsin partially credited his coaching staff for the team’s success, but primarily pointed to student leadership. 

“When there are people in the locker room driving it and leading it, there is a whole lot more happening in a positive way,” Harsin said.

Harsin praised redshirt senior John Molchon, senior Kekoa Nawahine and graduate David Moa, the team captains, for their guidance both on-and-off the field, claiming the team would not be in this position if the athletes were not self-motivated.

“This team is completely player-driven,” Harsin said. “These guys do a tremendous job of getting themselves up.”

Throughout the game at Colorado State, there were moments during which the Boise State benches were empty – virtually every player was on their feet supporting their teammates. 

Amongst the voices on the sideline, one of the most prominent was that of team captain Nawahine.

“The whole time during the game, we were talking to each other. You know, ‘Leave your legacy,’ ’Legacy Week’ and things like that, understanding what it is that we’re trying to accomplish… like [what]the great teams in the past at Boise State have done and to be able to do something like that was amazing,” Nawahine said.

In addition to the Broncos who were voted into roles of leadership, other athletic stand-outs play a major role in the momentum of the team.

Naturally, the quarterback position holds much responsibility. In his three starts of the season, Henderson has not only led the Boise State offense to three victories, but his spirit towards the game has a similar impact on the team.

Sophomore wide receiver Khalil Shakir expressed his gratitude for Henderson’s attitude toward the game.

“In not one moment he is sitting there with his head down. He always has that high energy – [he]is always telling us to go. Like I said, he just never folds,” Shakir said.

As the Broncos move on, the question regarding who will start as quarterback in the Mountain West Championship remains. There have been whispers of freshman Hank Bachmeier or redshirt sophomore Chase Cord returning.

No matter who is in the pocket, Harsin claims to be confident in each athlete’s abilities.

“That’s the thing about that [quarterback]room. The way the whole season has went – all those guys have played, they’ve all prepared and they are all ready to play,” Harsin said. “If their number is called, they’ll go out there and they will do the very best they can.”

Boise State will take The Blue against Hawaii on Dec. 7 at 2:00 p.m. in the Mountain West Championship, where their student and staff leadership will be put to the ultimate test.

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