Boise State Broncos
Photo via Pam Davis

Boise State Broncos survive fright, win back-and-forth affair

Brett Rypien threw for five touchdowns and 399 yards, Alexander Mattison ran for 136 and the Boise State Broncos finally won at Falcon Stadium, defeating the Air Force Falcons 48-38 Saturday night.

Rypien connected with John Hightower for three of those touchdowns. A week after being held without a reception, Hightower delivered from the get-go, finishing with eight receptions and 182 yards.

Senior Sean Modster also went over 100 yards receiving, finishing with 101 and 1 touchdown.

On a night when the defense was practically non-existent in the first-half, it was a good thing the offense fired on most cylinders. There were a couple of hiccups, but for the most part the experience showed. Another plus was an offensive line that continued to show improvement.

Boise State hot start, Air Force does same

Rypien was in sync with his receivers from the very first drive. He found Modster for 17 yards before hitting Hightower for a 44-yard score.

Air Force went to the air on their first drive as well. Quarterback Isaiah Sanders connected with tight end Kade Woguespack on a 36-yard pass. Fullback Cole Fagan finished off the the drive with a 17-yard touchdown run.

Boise State (6-2, 4-1) went right back to business, with the running backs getting involved. Mattison had a 13-yard run and Robert Mahone added a 10-yard reception on third down early in the drive.

Rypien continued to be in sync with Hightower, finding him twice on the drive, including on a wide receiver screen that went for an 18-yard touchdown.

The Boise State defense again had no solution for the Air Force passing attack. On 3rd-and-10, Sanders found Joseph Saucier for a 28-yard gain.

A few plays later, Sanders found a wide-open Marcus Bennett for 20 yards on 3rd-and-8 to even the score at 14.

Rypien and the Broncos made it 3-3 on scoring drive, with the senior quarterback turning to Modster on this drive. Rypien was sacked on the drive — only Air Force’s 10th sack on the season — but on 3rd-and-16 Rypien found Modster for 17 yards. The two would hook-up later for a 34-yard pass before Rypien found A.J. Richardson for a 21-yard score.

Unfortunately, the Bronco defense let Air Force keep rolling. Sanders again found Saucier, this time for 51-yards, with a touchdown only being prevented by Jabril Frazier chasing Saucier down.

The effort went for naught as Sanders scored on a five-yard run to even it up at 21.

Finally a stop

The teams eventually exchanged punts, with Frazier getting a tackle-for-loss on an Air Force 3rd-and-17.

Boise State was driving again, moving into Air Force territory, before stalling. And on 4th-and-14 attempt, Rypien threw a jump ball to Hightower that appeared to be intercepted by Zane Lewis at the Falcons 2.

The fortune of a turnover that was as good as a punt was overturned upon further review, giving the Falcons the ball at their own 40.

Saucier would later find Andrew Smith for 32 yards on a halfback pass, giving the Falcons a 28-21 lead with 1:12 left.

Rypien and the offense, though, were not done. Finding an array of receivers on the quick drive, Rypien ended it by finding CT Thomas for 35 yards. This tied the score as the teams headed into the locker room.

Second half

There was a change in the Bronco defense starting with the first drive in the second half. It might have included Boise State’s first penalty of the game, but the Broncos stopped the Falcons on their first drive. Jabari Watson came up with a huge tackle of Sanders for a four-yard loss to end the Falcons’ first drive.

Rypien went over 300-yards passing on the ensuing drive, his 20th such game. This tied him with former BYU quarterback Max Hall for the most ever in the Mountain West.

The drive ended with a Haden Hoggarth 30-yard field goal.

Boise State’s defense again rose up, holding Air Force to a three-and-out thanks to the play of Frazier and linebacker Riley Whimpey.

Avery Williams continued his strong play, returning the punt 67 yards to the Air Force five yard line. Mattison scored on a 1-yard run two plays later to put the Broncos up 38-28.

Jake Koehnke kicked a 37-yard field goal for Air Force, but Hoggarth responded with a career-long 47-yard field goal to keep the lead at ten.

A six-minute drive by Air Force resulting in a Kadin Remsberg five-yard score brought the Falcons within three, but the Broncos went for broke on the next drive.

On 2nd-and-9, after collecting one first down, Rypien and Hightower again made magic. Hightower hauled in the pass for a 61-yard score to seal the game.

Whimpey had a sack on the Falcons final possession and finished (unofficially) with 12 tackles.

Frazier was also another bright spot on a disappointing night for the Boise State defense. They did allow Air Force only 154 total yards in the second half after allowing 289 in the first.

The Falcons finished with 201 rushing yards, averaging 3.9 per carry, led by 97 from Sanders. Sanders also finished with 210 passing yards in completing 10 of 15.

Boise State returns home to face BYU on Saturday night.




About Jason Haskins

Jason Haskins
Jason is a 2001 graduate of Boise State and has been an avid fan of Boise State Athletics since the late 90's. Originally from Spring Creek, NV, Jason grew up a fan of the Fred Gatlin era Nevada Wolf Pack, but immediately switched his allegiances while attending school at Boise State. He hasn't looked back since and remains a loyal supporter of Boise State. For more:

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