Boise State Broncos football
Photo via Pam Davis

Cougars Pull Out a Thriller In Pullman

Heading into their showdown with Washington State, the Boise State football team was deemed the underdog; the Vegas line saw the 20th-ranked Cougars as 10-point favorites.

The last time Boise State was a double-digit underdog was back in 2008. The Broncos went into Eugene that year with a young roster and a freshman quarterback named Kellen Moore.

The parallels between the two games?

The Broncos went on the road to face a Pac-12 team and had a sizable chip on their shoulder.

Even if the scoreboard was different in 2008, the Boise State football team came to compete in Pullman.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The battle with the Cougars saw at least two uncanny football features. First, the game saw a battle between both back-up quarterbacks. Second, of the eight total touchdowns scored, overtime not included, three of them had nothing to do with the offense.

Cozart vs. Hilinski

One of the major components to the Boise State-Washington State game was the quarterback battle. How would Luke Falk, who completed his first twenty pass the week prior against Montana State, fair against last years All-Mountain West first team quarterback Brett Rypien?

Rypien left the game after the first quarter. He came back out in his practice apparel and thus, never went back in. Taking his place was transfer senior Montell Cozart.

For the Cougars, head coach Mike Leach pulled Luke Falk from the game both in the 2nd quarter and for good in the 3rd. His replacement was sophomore Tyler Hilinski.

Cozart finished the game completing 12 of his 20 pass attempts. He provided the Broncos with 2 scores; one through the air to Cedrick Wilson and the other on the ground.

Hilinski finished the game completing 25 of his 33 pass attempts. He provided the Cougars with three passing touchdowns.

Non-Offensive Touchdowns

Last season, defensive back Tyler Horton picked off a pass from Luke Falk. The play resulted in an 85 yard touchdown for the Broncos.

Once again, Horton picked off one of Falk’s passes. Midway through the first quarter, Horton picked off a pass intended for Cougar receiver Isaiah Johnson-Mack. The return was for no gain, but it gave the edge to the Broncos as they would start their second drive of the game.

Much like last year, the game between the Broncos and Cougars featured non-offensive touchdowns. However, instead of one, the 2017 edition featured three of them.

The Broncos were on the positive side of that statistic when defensive end Curtis Weaver returned an interception 55 yards to the end zone.

However, the Broncos did see the Cougars return both a fumble and an interception to the end zone.

Three Things We Learned

  1. The Defense Brought their Leftovers to Pullman: Looking back on the game against Troy, we saw the defense play fantastic ball. Heading into the game against the Cougars, all the attention was on Luke Falk. The Bronco defense sacked Falk twice and forced an interception due to pressure on him.
  2. Cozart is Here to Play: Montell Cozart showed Bronco Nation what he was capable of week one vs. Troy. In the game against the Cougars, his leadership, dual threat capability, and poise would be relied on even more. He may have made some questionable decisions but he also made some good ones. If Rypien is out for a while, look for Cozart to improve his game as the Bronco’s starter.
  3. The Offensive Line Will be a Continuous Work in Progress:  In week one vs. Troy, the Broncos failed on three fourth down attempts. However, that does not mean the offense or the offensive line was a complete failure. Football is about accepting the fact that there is opportunity in progress. Late in the game against the Cougars, the Broncos converted a short forth down attempt that saw Alexander Mattison  run threw the trenches. The process may be gradual but the talent is there for the Bronco offense to be successful.

Onto the Next One

During the fourth quarter of the Boise State-Washington State game, an ESPN add said the next on-air college football game would be Boise State vs. New Mexico. Indeed, that is how quickly the Boise State football team will have to turn around for their next game.

Game Information: 

VS. New Mexico 

Thursday, 9/14

6:00 P.M. MDT



About Darrek Harris

Darrek Harris
Darrek was born and raised in Boise, ID. Currently, he has an associates degree in English from the College of Western Idaho. He plans to pursue a bachelors degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. He enjoys sports in many fashions: playing, cheering, and coaching. Bleed Blue, Go Broncos, Amen!

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