Our long national nightmare is over.
Well, kind of.
Boise State got the dub (super-great!) but looked kinda ‘meh’ while doing it against an FCS team (not quite as great). Yeah, North Dakota is good–for an FCS team–but the Broncos, nor the fans, should have been sweating it as much as we collectively did.
The Broncos had opened the game with a quick 12-yard run by Jeanty and a sweet-first down. Then immediately had to punt it away. This was matched by a North Dakota three-and-out.
The Broncos did go on a 12 play, 71-yard drive to score the games first touchdown with Taylen Green walking it in for the score (Jonah Dalmas PAT was good, natch).
UND then took their turn scoring on the ensuing drive, less good but the PAT failed so, we can call that a push since the Broncos were still up 7-6.
The Broncos did manage to rattle off three TD drives (two Ashton Jeanty rush TDs and an Eric McAlister TD reception). To put the Broncos up 28-6. You’ll never know it, but catching the ball is pretty good.
The defense played ok(?) given the opponent by limiting certain pass plays (no one look at the over the top plays, please) and pressuring Tommy Schuster (he was sacked five times).
Things were starting to settle down for the Broncos until the third quarter where Broncos turned the ball over three times (twice by Jeanty on fumbles, and an INT that hit Riley Smith right in the hands). The Fighting Hawks did score on those two turnovers (touchdowns) but managed to goof up the two-point conversion every time. Good.
The Broncos had to “resettle” down and managed to keep North Dakota out of the endzone while scoring two more times (one more rush from Jeanty and a McAlister reception in what you could call “garbage” time from Madsen). This put the Broncos up 42-18.
There were some good that came of this: Jambres ‘Breezy’ Dubar’s coming out party: 62 yards rushing (and he probably should have had that TD that went to Jeanty). Eric McAlister reasserts that he is the future of Broncos receiving with 143 yards off six catches and two TDs. Dalmas did hit a 54-yard FG that was waved off due to a roughing the kicker penalty.
Some bad: tackling could be better. Special teams gets a bit of a side-eye. CATCH THE BALL.
Nice to get in the win column for 2023.