Boise State finished off Utah State 21-10, sort of avenging last year's eight-turnover loss to the Aggies.
Like I said, sort of.
It wasn't pretty offensively, but the Broncos' defense once again came to play. BSU limited Utah State to 358 total yards, including a mere 71 on the ground on 25 attempts (2.84 average).
Oh, and the defense held the Aggies to just 10 points.
With that in mind, BroncoCountry has some post-game "awards" to hand out. Each winner gets a crisp high five and epic bragging rights.
RB Jeremy McNichols
Just like last week, Jeremy McNichols was an easy choice. The junior carried the ball 30 times for 132 yards, and added six receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown. He didn't score on the ground for the first time in forever, but reaching the 100-yard mark against a powerful Aggie front seven is very impressive.
With starting center Mason Hampton out for undisclosed reasons, a reconfigured Boise State offensive line struggled to get a push against USU's stingy defense. McNichols didn't care. He got stronger as the game went on, wearing down the Aggies and picking up huge first downs late in the contest.
McNichols is the heart and soul of the Boise State offense. He proved that once again Saturday night.
DL David Moa
DL Sam McCaskill
Against a very experienced offensive line, McCaskill recorded 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks for five total tackles, while Moa pitched in 1.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for loss. Both players also made their marks by batting down passes from Utah State quarterback Kenton Myers, who never got comfortable in the pocket.
Boise State went deep into its bag of trick plays midway through the first quarter and utilized the Swiss Army-like skill set of Wilson.
A quick pass to Wilson on the right side was followed by the junior launching a bomb back across the field to a wide open McNichols, who finished things off. The play gave Boise State its first points of the game and re-energized every blue and orange-clad fan and player in the stadium.
Also considered: USU's missed field goal just before halftime, Brett Rypien's 36-yard TD pass to Wilson in the fourth quarter
The true freshman and son of former all-pro and Super Bowl-winning linebacker Ray Lewis showed signs of what he will be before his time at Utah State is up.
Lewis caught seven passes for 82 yards and often looked like the Aggies' best player. Myers didn't help him out by floating some short passes well over his 5-foot-10 frame, but Lewis made the most of the chances he got.
Also considered: QB Kenton Myers, LB Anthony Williams
I'm not the first writer to wax poetic on the ridiculousness of the NCAA's targeting rule, and I won't be the last. Both Boise State and Utah State were penalized according to the letter of the targeting law, and both show how much the rule needs to be revised.
Aggie LB Anthony Williams and Bronco CB Jonathan Moxey were flagged and, after lengthy reviews, ejected for targeting, although neither was at fault, per say.
Williams hit BSU receiver Akilian Butler in the neck with his arm, but only because Butler was crouched down to receive the punt. Had he been standing in a more natural position, Williams would have hit his chest or stomach. (A kick-catch interference penalty still would have been called.)
Moxey dove at a receiver's legs to make a tackle, and for some reason the receiver's head was a foot from the ground. Helmet hit helmet, so by the letter of the law it was targeting. But, HE DOVE AT THE LEGS AND WAS FLAGGED FOR TARGETING!!!
How ridiculous is that?
In both instances the receivers' positions put them at fault for the subsequent contact, not the defenders' actions. I am not sure how else either defender was supposed to avoid it. The referees got both calls right according to how they're supposed to officiate the game, but neither was the fault of the defender. The NCAA rules committee has an issue on its hands. I doubt they do anything about it.
Also considered: Boise State's defense giving up a fourth and 18 from deep in USU territory, the officiating.
Best fan photo:
This one from Maria Brandone of a Boise State band member plugging her ears as the Harlem Shake was played over the stadium speakers.
Also considered: BroncoCountry's own Nate Peters and his bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers.