Andy Avalos didn’t even let the question be finished.
When Bronco Nation News started a question that was headed towards something about the possibility backup quarterback Maddux Madsen could garner more playing time, Avalos cut in.
“No,” he said. “He did a job tonight. I really thought he did a good job tonight. I thought both of them did a good job tonight. But (Taylen Green) just started cramping up. It was hot out there today. Luckily Maddog was able to come in and do a really good job.”
Midway through the third quarter during Boise State’s 18-16 loss to UCF, the starting quarterback hobbled off the field, grabbing at his right calf. He limped to the benches and sat down, where he was being attended to by a swarm of Broncos’ coaches and trainers.
“TG started cramping up and stuff,” Avalos said. “Maddog has done a nice job through camp and practice and all that stuff. He has the confidence of the team so when he had to jump in there and roll, we were able to stick with him.”
On the sidelines, Green stretched out. He started walking around and even did some short runs in front of the benches with no limp. But when the Broncos’ next offensive drive came, Green had his helmet resting on his forehead as Maddux went back into the game.
Avalos did not touch on the severity of what Green was dealing with and also didn’t say if Green was healthy enough to return to action.
But Madsen was manageable for most of the game, relying heavily on running backs Ashton Jeanty (24 carries for 124 yards) and Breezy Dubar (5 carries for 33 yards) while also taking some punishing sacks.
When the Broncos needed him most, though, he came through.
Down five, Boise State had eight minutes to score a touchdown — and Madsen led the night’s best drive: a 9-play, 86-yard sequence that ate off five-and-a-half minutes of clock and finished in the end zone.
His first highlight came on 4th-and-2. Needing a first down, Madsen bootlegged out to the right. Nothing was open. So Madsen tucked the ball and darted forward, right at UCF’s 200-pound linebacker Jason Johnson. Madsen — the 5-foot-10, 200-pound QB — lowered his shoulder and pushed forward for the first down.
“Obviously we had to convert,” Madsen said. “It’s one of those things, competitiveness-wise, I had to be there. First read wasn’t open. Second read wasn’t there. I had to do something.”
Three plays later, on a 3rd-and-10 on the UCF 28-yard line, Madsen hit Stefan Cobbs over the middle and Cobbs wiggled out of a tackle and galloped into the end zone. With less than two minutes left, the Broncos had a lead.
Maddux Madsen. Ice in his veins.
The backup QB hits Stef Cobbs over the middle for the go-ahead touchdown. 2-point conversion is no good.
16-15 Boise State // 1:49 Q4 pic.twitter.com/klSK7ON2A3
— Jordan Kaye (@jordankaye_23) September 10, 2023
“It was the perfect play call, perfect look,” Madsen said. “Stef and I actually ran that play earlier in the week and it’s one of those things where it’s practice to game.”
The night was spoiled when UCF marched down the field and kicker Colton Boomer drilled a 40-yarder as time expired, dropping Boise State to 0-2 for the first time since 2005.
But Madsen’s late-game heroics were a positive. On that drive, Madsen was 3 of 4 for 50 yards (He finished the night with only 67 passing yards), converting two third downs and a fourth down.
“One of the biggest things: What you’re gonna get from Maddux is a very consistent decision-making process,” Avalos said. “He is going to work the progressions. He is going to make the decisions as the installs taught, how he’s trained, how he’s prepared from the meeting room to the field. And in those situations on game-ending drives like that, that’s exactly what you’ve got to do. He relied on his prep.”
Meanwhile, before he got hurt, Green was 9-for-19 passing, throwing for 144 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He was not great, but by no means did he seem like a liability.
And, at the moment, Avalos wants no mention of a quarterback competition.