Recall when predicting this game I likened it to Columbo solving a perfect murder. Columbo often said there is no such thing as the perfect murder; close but never perfect.
The second half of the Boise State/Fresno State, if a Bronco fan, was near perfect. The first half, the Broncos were near perfect but couple key mistakes.
The fake field goal seemed ill-advised. Fresno didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. They’re a savvy team.
Quarterback, Brett Rypien, at times places too much confidence in his receivers and launches passes that might be best tossed to one the trainers on the sidelines.
Two players have reversed their approach to the game. Mattison played like Rypien had been passing—with wild abandon. And Rypien played like Mattison used to run—cautiously.
Alexander Mattison has found his grove—and just in time. He ran the ball 30 times for 144 yards. He also scored two TDs.
His style of running the last two games has become more aggressive. Just when you think he’s down, he bulls ahead for another three or four yards.
Early in the year, the defense punished him. Now he is punishing the defense. Like Walter Payton used to say, “If they’re going to tackle you, make ‘em pay for it.”
The offensive line not only provided Mattison some daylight but also gave Rypien time. It was an incredible performance by the line. The Fresno defensive game plan could be summed up in two words—Bah litz.
Good Game Plan
Although the line protected Rypien, he did not need a lot of extra time that it takes to toss the bombs. Instead, he settled into a short and medium range passing attack. He surgically dismantling one of the best defenses in the country.
Rypien turned in a masterful night, connecting on 24 of 29 passes for 269 yards. He tossed one TD and had one INT.
So Many Receivers, Too Few Defenders
Without John Hightower suiting-up, Fresno may have felt AJ Richardson and Sean Modster were the only receivers worthy of deep attention. Not so fast—Rypien arched a perfect TD pass to Khalil Shakir for a 49 yard TD.
Richardson and Modster both had 5 catches each.
Well, everyone in the Mountain West Conference knows CT Thomas is left-handed now. He came within a whisker of tossing a TD pass to Rypien. The Fresno safety reacted at the last second to bat the ball. (Boise never has had a good left-handed passer.)
Next week CT tosses the ball right-handed—nah, not gonna happen.
Plugging The Dike And Who Is Hans Brinker (Google it.)
Losing stellar starters on defense for the season like DeAndre Pierce, Jalen Walker, David Moa, and Riley Whimpy, it’s like trying to plug leaks in a dike. They may soon become more than a leak but a gusher.
Defensive coordinator, Andy Avalos, continues to plug the hole with the right guy and also put together a good defensive scheme.
However, the Bronco defense continues to allow long gains like a pesky leak. Yet, it seems as though they collect themselves and stick their finger in the leak.
Although a significant number of defensive starters are out for the season, guys on the depth chart raise to the occasion, becoming a modern-day Bronco version of Hans Brinker. (Did you Google it?)
There is little doubt the key to the win over Fresno must be shared by everyone.
After all is said, Zak Hill called a good game. The Broncos offense executed his plan and he called a near perfect. (I don’t think he called for the fake field goal nor did he tell Rypien to throw into coverage.)
The defense seemed a little more disciplined. In the past, they have sold out too quickly on play-action. It’s great to see six or eight Bronco hats surround the ball (Hyperbole alert.) but not good when there is a receiver waiting for the ball on the ten-yard line with nobody with 15 yards.
In conclusion, textbook win.