EL PASO, Texas – UTEP fans didn’t rush the field following a stunning 27-10 upset of Boise State on Friday night at Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas.
And that may have said it all about the current state of Boise State’s program.
It was the worst loss in two years under coach Andy Avalos and one of the roughest in recent memory. Boise State, once a national power and winner of three Fiesta Bowls since 2006, losing as a 16-point favorite to a team that just lost to New Mexico.
The stats were as ugly as the final score. The Broncos had just 177 total yards, including just 93 passing yards and 84 rushing yards.
“We obviously weren’t our best tonight,” Avalos. “And it starts with me.”
Quarterback Hank Bachmeier completed just 13 of 34 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. The Broncos surprisingly elected to stick with Bachmeier and not go to Taylen Green with the offense struggling throughout the game.
“That’s something we discussed and talked about,” Avalos said of going to Green. “Hank has banked a lot more reps when you go into two-minute mode, but there was a plan built in to get Taylen into the game but we weren’t able to get to it. We only had four drives in the first half. There was a certain series he was going into the game in the first half but we just never got to it.”
It’s believed to be the first time since 1997 in which Boise State didn’t reach 100 passing yards or 100 rushing yards in the same game.
The Broncos went just 4 of 12 on third down.
“We were just getting behind the chains on first down,” Avalos said. “And it was second down and long and then third down and long and those are never favorable situations to be in. We put ourselves i tough positions, field-position wise.”
Through four games Boise State is on pace for the second-worst total offense in program history. The Broncos are averaging 283.3 yards per game, which trails only the 280.6 from the 1988 season as the lowest in Boise State history. The Broncos are averaging just 22.0 points per game, which would be the fourth-lowest all-time.
“That’s obviously the big to-do that we have to get going here really quick,” Avalos said. “There’s enough talk that’s been done about it, but now we have to put something into place and put some action going forward. The one thing I will say is it starts with us and with me as a coach to make sure our offensive coaches and myself, we’re putting our offense in the best situation.
“We have a lot of guys that are working their tails off and they have a huge care factor. Like we just told them in the locker room, we will be better for them.”
Asked if that meant making major changes to either the personnel group or the coaching staff, Avalos said, “We’re going to look at the film and really dissect the things we’re going to move forward on.”
But the defense didn’t do much better, allowing 27 points and 300-plus yards to one of the worst offenses in the country. Boise State’s defense didn’t have any takeaways against the Miners, a week after UTEP’s offense committed seven turnovers to New Mexico.
After talking all week about wanting to run the football and control the clock, the Broncos lost the time of possession to the Miners 19:25 to 40:35.
“They were on the field the whole game,” Avalos said. “We have to do a better job rotating those guys earlier in the game so they don’t get so worn down. I think we could all see how tired they were.”
George Holani was a bright spot – if we can say that – with 75 yards on 16 carries.
It was a stunning loss in all facets – and will bring plenty about offensive coordinator Tim Plough and his future, whether the Broncos might be better off going with Green at quarterback and more.
One saving grace? The Broncos remain 1-0 in Mountain West play heading into Friday’s game against San Diego State.
“Our goal is still in front of us as we move into conference play,” Avalos said.