It was an opportunity for Boise State to make a statement early in this season and let the country know they are a player. The results said something entirely different. The first half of this one would remind someone of an NFL preseason game with six interceptions between the two quarterbacks and several penalties and a 7 – 6 half time score.
You wouldn’t know it by the final score, 35 – 7 but the Broncos were down only one point to begin the fourth. Boise State defensively came apart in the fourth, giving up four touchdowns. The defense played great for three quarters. Allowing only 7 points until the fourth and picking off Bo Wallace, Ole Miss quarterback, three times in the first half and recording two sacks in the game. They held Ole Miss to just 71 yards on the ground.
Boise State finished the game with 135 yards on the ground against what many consider one of the best defensive fronts in the country. They outgained Ole Miss on the ground by 64 yards and a yards per carry average better by a yard and a half. The Broncos offensive and defensive lines showed up to play against Ole Miss and proved they could play with the “big boys”.
It was the interceptions and red zone struggles that ultimately cost the Broncos this game. Sounds funny to say, but this game truly was closer than the score made it appear. Boise State was in the red zone four times and came away with only one touchdown. At one point, the Broncos had first and goal at the one and settled for a field goal. Two drives ended in field goals and another ended with a pick in the end zone. Two of Hedricks picks resulted in Ole Miss points. The pick in the end zone and the Hedrick final interception, both resulted in six for Ole Miss.
Still, there are reasons to believe Boise State will rebound from last year’s 8 – 5 record. The defense looked great throughout most of the game. The Broncos had the advantage in time of possession by nearly 13 minutes and compiled nearly 400 yards against an SEC team, a conference known for great defense. Red zone woes can be practiced and improved, interceptions can be reduced with better decisions, and penalties can be limited with better focus.
Next up for Boise State is their home and conference opener against the Colorado State Rams. The Broncos won last year’s road matchup 42 – 30 in a game Hedrick threw of over 300 yards and five touchdowns.
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