Jack Sears and the Boise State Broncos made it pretty clear from the get-go they were ready to play on Saturday night in Colorado Springs, CO.
Sears, the transfer from USC, launched a 75-yard scoring strike to CT Thomas on the game’s opening play as the 25th-ranked Broncos (2-0) rolled to a 49-30 victory.
Starting in the place of an absent Hank Bachmeier, Sears played his role to perfection. The junior was 17-20 for 280 yards and three touchdown passes. He also carried the ball five times for 36 yards, scoring on a 1-yd plunge late in the game.
Prior to kickoff, it was announced Bachmeier and safety JL Skinner did not make the trip, though no reason was initially given aside for it not being a disciplinary one.
Both played in the season-opener last week against #UtahState.
The university it not specifying why, but *neither is for disciplinary reasons.* pic.twitter.com/gJTnWwa9QK
— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) October 31, 2020
Injuries in the game also forced a handful of players into more action. Running back George Holani left in the first quarter with an apparent knee injury. Andrew Van Buren filled in nicely, carrying the ball 12 times for 70 yards and two scores. Walk-on Tyler Crowe also saw action, carrying the ball twice for 14 yards and hauling in one catch for 15.
Defensive players Demitri Washington and Scale Igiehon also left the game in the first-half. Both did not return.
In true “next-man-up” mentality, the Broncos displayed plenty of firepower, especially on the offensive side of the ball. And Avery Williams added to the fun with a 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, his sixth return touchdown of his career (punt and kickoff).
Near-perfection on offense
With Sears under center, the Boise State Broncos offense seemingly didn’t miss a beat. He consistently found his open receivers and used his legs as necessary.
Playing with efficiency, Sears completed completions to six different receivers. Thomas had two catches for 101 yards, both touchdowns. Khalil Shakir took care of business, hauling in six catches for 90 yards while tight end John Bates had 5 catches for 40 yards.
Boise State, with only Van Buren and Crowe at running back after Holani’s injury, used creativity in the run game as well. Riley Smith carried the ball three times for 36 yards while Shakir and backup quarterback Cade Fennegan also carried the ball.
The Broncos only had to punt the ball twice and were so efficient they only had to attempt a third-down conversion four times.
Boise State Broncos ‘D’ does just enough
A worrisome trend emerged during the first quarter as Air Force took a 14-7 lead with 3:23 left: The Broncos were not stopping the triple-option. Air Force (1-2), without starters Kadin Remsberg and Timothy Jackson, racked up 167 yards on the ground in the first quarter, averaging 11.1 yards per carry.
Fears of 2014-2016 against the Falcons crept into the mind, in which Air Force ran roughshod over the Broncos for three straight seasons.
Luckily for the Broncos, the defense made adjustments and did enough to keep Air Force out of the end zone.
The Falcons finished with a late score to make the game closer. They finished with 415 yards on the ground, averaging 6.3 yards per carry. After the first quarter, the Broncos held Air Force to 248 yards on 51 carries (4.9 ypc).
Keegan Freeborn and Shane Irwin both had outstanding games up front, combining for 17 tackles.
Air Force attempted seven passes, completing four for 69 yards. Brandon Lewis had 10 carries for 112 yards but only carried three times for 18 yards in the second-half.
The Broncos will have a short week to sort out their injuries and whatever is ailing Bachmeier and Skinner. Boise State hosts BYU on Friday (11/6) with kickoff slated for 7:45 pm on FS1.