Boise State 35, North Texas 32

The Frisco Bowl at Toyota Stadium played host to the Boise State Broncos and the University of North Texas Mean Green. Some members of the North Texas squad were meaner than others. For example, they attempted to start an altercation (and somewhat succeeded) at one point after Dalmas had a perfect, touchdown-saving tackle right into their sideline. Things got chippy again later after a late, out of bounds hit on Taylen. UNT’s interim head coach even decided to demonstrate his inability to keep a cool head in the post-game handshake by yelling at Coach Avalos (who was clearly not amused, but didn’t escalate things).

Despite all that, and a low scoring first half, the Broncos never really seemed like they weren’t in control of the game and they ultimately won.

Before the game, it was announced that a number of defensive starters would be out. Among them, JL Skinner, Demitri Washington, and Kaniho. Tyreque Jones was also on the sideline without a helmet on. Teubner and Clark filled in on the back end and largely played pretty well. Clark even capitalized when UNT’s QB threw a ball right at him, picked it off, and ran it 38 yards back the other way. The front 7 had some difficulty stopping the run as UNT’s running back, Ikaika Ragsdale, had 94 yards and 2 TDs. However, Matlock was Matlockian, DJ Schramm was all over, and Zeke Noa had a pick that he ran 52 yards with. He actually could have probably scored if he hadn’t tripped at the 15. That would have been even cooler for him. Regardless, it was a huge play and resulted in Boise State points.

Coverage units on special teams were a bit rough, but Jonah Dalmas put an end to a 46 yard return by UNT. And, aside from nearly inciting a riot on the UNT sideline for having the audacity to forcefully tackle the returner, Dalmas was also perfect on his kicks for the night. 2/2 on field goals and 3/3 on extra points. Also, special teamers were responsible for this fun play on a 2pt conversion. Take note of who both the thrower and the catcher are.

The defense and special teams weren’t exactly at their optimal strength in this game and it showed at times. On the bright side, it gave valuable experience to some guys that will probably get larger opportunities next year. The offense, however, was the component that was really worth writing home about–especially in the second half.  Holani began the game at tailback and then inexplicably left after 7 carries. Jeanty then came in and his 178 yards anchored a rushing attack that eventually took over the whole game and helped set a Boise State record for most team rushing yards in a bowl.

The offense seemed a little out of sync to begin the game and Taylen even had an interception (that was thankfully overturned on a PI). They absolutely exploded in the third quarter, though. 22 points in 15 minutes. Jeanty was running with devastating power and he had at least three runs that were absolutely astounding with how he just refused to go down. He also added a TD.

Taylen, of course, never forgot how to run the ball. He’s just been developing his increasingly impressive passing game and hasn’t really needed to get mobile much, but he definitely did a bit of running around in this one…and it was awesome. He had 119 yards and two scores, but mixed in some elusive runs to really add some zazz to his production. 

From the receiving corp, Latrell Caples had some really nice YAC plays and Eric MacAlister showed some vision and catch-and-run ability on Taylen’s lone passing TD.

The game was a nice way to end a season that went to unexpected places at times. The Broncos got to ten wins and collected their first bowl win since 2017 (and the first under Coach Avalos). The way the season ended and how the bowl played out will undoubtedly motivate the returning Broncos with things that can be improved upon, but if you’d told me this team would win 10 games after the gut punch in El Paso, I would have been highly skeptical. This season was about as good of a frown-turned-upside-down as you’re ever going to get.

Overall, it’s hard not to be proud of how this team turned things around and to not be excited for a very bright future–especially on offense. The schedule sets up to be a lot of fun next year and hopefully we’ll see you all when the 2023 season kicks off. Until then, and as always…