CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia--Boise State put on a solid display of defense and offense in dismantling a talented Virginia team last night 56-14.
#6 Notre Dame scored with 12 seconds left to defeat the same Cavalier team just two weeks before, 34-27. The Broncos did not wait as long.
Boise State exploded early, as defensive end Kamalei Correa pressured Virginia quarterback Matt Johns, who threw an ill-advised pass which was intercepted and taken into the end zone by defensive tackle Justin Taimatuia.
Jeremy McNichols was the man on the Broncos' second drive, rushing 47 yards on first down and taking it in from the two-yard line to make it 14-0.
T.J. Thorpe and the Cavaliers struck back on the next series, as Johns dropped back and hit Thorpe with a third-down strike.. After a couple of missed Bronco tackles, Thorpe was in the end zone for a 75-yard touchdown, Virginia's first score of the game.
After a series of punts, Brett Rypien led Boise State on a brilliant mix of runs and throws, with McNichols scoring again from 10 yards out after catching a pass from Rypien in the flat.
The big-play Bronco defense then forced Johns to throw from his end zone, and an intentional grounding call put two more points up on the board for the Broncos via a safety. Tyler Rausa added a Boise State field goal on the ensuing kickoff.
Taquan Mizzell broke loose after catching a pass from Johns and sprinted into the end zone for a 45-yard touchdown to cut the margin to 26-14.
Unlike the first two games, Boise State put the dagger in after a fumble by Mizzell when Rypien went back and found Thomas Sperbeck in the end zone. Interfered with, Sperbeck hauled the ball in with one hand and gathered it in for the touchdown. Nickelback Mercy Maston added a score with a pick six with three minutes left in the third quarter, and Rypien tossed two fourth quarter passes to Sperbeck for another.
After the game, Mizzell said, “I feel like they were the best team we played. They’re a good team overall, defensive-wise and offensive-wise. We knew they were going to be a good team regardless of the ranking. Everything we saw on film, we saw out on the field."
Rypien completed 24-of-35 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns, with Sperbeck catching five balls for 121 yards and two scores. McNichols led the ground effort for the Broncos with nine carries for 69 yards and a touchdown.
Tyler Rausa also had a big night with four field goals, including a career-high 51-yarder.
Johns finished 12-25 for 199 yards and two touchdowns, but also had three interceptions.
Boise State returns home to open the Mountain West Conference season next Saturday against Hawai'i.