Spectacular special teams, an active defense, and a backup quarterback lead the Boise State Broncos to a 24-13 victory over the Troy Trojans.
Fireworks were already on the agenda for Albertsons Stadium and the Boise State Broncos on Saturday.
Avery Williams made sure they happened in the sky when he brought his own to the field the very first time he touched the ball.
Williams took Troy’s first punt of the game to the house, rumbling and stiff-arming his way to an 81-yard touchdown.
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) September 2, 2017
Williams ended the day with 172 total return yards, 124 of those on punts. Troy mostly avoided kicking to him in the second-half as the redshirt freshman enjoyed a banner day.
A first-half of special teams and defense
After the punt return of Williams put the Broncos up early, the Trojans responded with a drive of their own. A pass interference call on Boise State plus two plays of over twenty yards, allowed Troy to march down the field. The Trojans eventually settled for a Bratcher Underwood 38-yard field goal.
Boise State–after a 55-yard kickoff return by Cedrick Wilson–drove to the Troy 23 but Alexander Mattison was stopped for no gain on a 4th and 1, the first of two failed fourth down conversions in the half by the Broncos.
Turnovers continued to plague junior quarterback Brett Rypien. The Trojans had three sacks on the half, including a strip-sack by Jabir Daughtry-Frye that stopped a Bronco drive.
The big turnover was an interception thrown by Rypien that was picked off by Blace Brown, who promptly returned it for a Troy touchdown.
This was after transfer quarterback Montell Cozart came in for two series, leading the Broncos on a touchdown drive. It was a 49-yard touchdown run by Mattison that had briefly put Boise State up 14-3.
A Haden Hoggarth 41-yard field goal put Boise State up 17-10 at the half.
The Boise State defense allowed only 95 total yards in the first-half, with Curtis Weaver and Leighton Vander Esch each racking up a sack.
A game of punts overtook the first part of the third quarter. Weaver added another sack early on while Boise’s offense, despite a nine-play, 41-yard drive, failed to do much.
The Trojans appeared on their way to a score after putting together a 16-play, 70-yard drive. Bronco corner Reid Harrison-Ducros appeared to have an interception, only to have it bounce out of his hands and into Troy’s Deondre Douglas.
Douglas looked to have a score, but the ball was forced out by Desmond Willams. The ball rolled out of the end zone, giving Boise State the ball and their first turnover of the year.
After another shaky series Rypien, followed by a poor punt, Troy added a field goal by Underwood to make it 17-13.
Cozart re-entered the game and drove the Broncos once again into Troy territory. For the third time, the Broncos were stuffed on a fourth-and-short.
On Troy’s first play, Kekoa Nawahine intercepted Brandon Silvers. The Broncos used a ten-play drive to put the game away with a Cozart to Jake Roh touchdown pass.
Sam Whitney sacked Silvers on Troy’s next possession, also causing a fumble which was recovered by Boise State’s Sonatane Lui.
Cozart finished the game 6-9 for 50 yards and he ran for another 36. Rypien was 13-23 for 160 yards.
The team carried 44 times for 147 yards, led by Mattison’s 82. Senior Ryan Wolpin added 47.
Three things we learned
- We knew Wilson (4 rec, 65 yds) would be good. The question remained as to who would step up and if the tight ends would be utilized. A.J Richardson (4 rec, 39 yds) and Octavius Evans (2 rec, 26 yds) both contributed and Roh was targeted multiple times outside of his touchdown catch.
- The defense showed up today. They allowed only 66 rushing yards and forced Silvers into a 17-33 day for only 139 yards. Outside of a couple of silly penalties, the entire unit pitched in, providing solid depth on a hot afternoon.
- The offensive line is going to be a work in progress. Only one starter from last year–Mason Hampton–played today and even he was shaky at times. Talent is there and they will get better, but three failed fourth-down and short conversions and multiple sacks allowed contributed to the offense’s woes.