LOGAN, Utah – It took a little longer than expected for the energy and inspired play to show up from the Boise State football team Saturday night in its first game since the firing of coach Andy Avalos.
But once the Spencer Danielson-led Broncos got it going in the second quarter – man was it impressive.
Boise State trailed 10-0 before scoring 31 unanswered points in the second quarter en route to a dominant 45-10 win at Maverik Stadium.
In a span of 13 seconds, Boise State scored two touchdowns and took the lead for good – giving Danielson a win in his first game as interim head coach.
With the win Boise State earned its sixth win of the season and became bowl eligible for the 26th straight year.
Boise State’s defense, led by Danielson, tied a school-record with nine sacks and added four turnovers in its best outing in several years. And the offense wasn’t half-bad either, rushing for 352 yards and scoring a season-high 45 Points.
George Holani had 15 carries for 178 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Broncos, while Ashton Jeanty had 12 carries for 85 yards and a score in his return to action.
Players swarmed Danielson as time ran off and showered him with two buckets of Gatorade to celebrate his first win.
But for a while, it didn’t look good.
The start couldn’t have been much worse. The Broncos had -1 yard on their first six plays – two three-and-outs – and trailed 10-0 at the end of the first quarter. It was the first time all season Utah State led after the opening 15 minutes.
Fans on Twitter complained, and rightfully so. The Broncos looked as bad – if not worse – than much of the season under Avalos.
But the switch flipped to start the second quarter. And it happened quick.
First, George Holani broke free on a 75-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 10-7. Braxton Fely then forced a fumble on the first play of Utah State’s next drive, and Rodney Robinson fell on it. On the next play, Taylen Green found Matt Lauter for a 26-yard touchdown – the first score of Lauter’s career – to make it 14-10.
13 seconds. Two touchdowns. The start of a 3-hour party in Logan seemingly 11 games in the making.
Utah State threatened on its next drive but A’marion McCoy came up with an interception in the end zone on 4th-and-goal from the 2. Holani rushed for 27 yards on the next play and scored on a 33-yard run three plays later to up Boise State’s lead to 21-10.
Another Utah State turnover, this time a fumble again forced by Fely and recovered by Herbert Gums, led to a 2-yard pass from Green to Lauter to up Boise State’s lead to 28-10.
The Broncos added a 44-yard field goal from Jonah Dalmas on the final play of the half to take a 31-10 lead into the break.
It was more of the same in the second half. Jeanty scored on a 5-yard run early in the third quarter, Rodney Robinson had an interception for Boise State’s fourth defensive takeaway of the game and the Broncos added a 10-yard touchdown run from Breezy Dubar in the fourth quarter