Boise State went full blitzkrieg on University Stadium in Albuquerque, leaving the Land of Enchantment with a 49-21 victory and temporarily soothing the nerves of triple option-weary Bronco fans across the nation.
Here are BroncoCountry's post-game awards, handed out to the best of the best Broncos both on and off the field. The winners get mad props and unending respect.
QB Brett Rypien
Rypien bounced back from a couple of "subpar" games, torching the Lobos every chance he got. After punting on its first possession, Boise State scored on seven straight drives, five of which were touchdown passes from the super duper sophomore.
With a heavy heart that was mourning the death of his grandmother earlier in the week, Rypien nuked the New Mexico secondary with TD passes of 7, 53, 54, 8 and 35 yards, respectively. Three scores went to dynamic receiver Cedrick Wilson, the other two to equally-dynamic receiver Thomas Sperbeck. Rypien finished 21 of 28 for 391 yards and five touchdowns.
The Lobos stacked the box and sent blitzers in an attempt to corral running back Jeremy McNichols and get pressure on Rypien. They held McNichols relatively in check (62 yards and two TDs on 21 carries), but I would be remised not to mention the outstanding play of the Bronco offensive line in keeping its QB's jersey clean and giving him time to throw. UNM's defensive game plan backfired, and Rypien exploited the one-on-one matches in the secondary with ruthless precision.
Also considered: WR Cedrick Wilson, WR Thomas Sperbeck, the entire Boise State offensive line
DB Chanceller James
Usually when your safeties lead the team in tackles for a game, it means your linemen and linebackers aren't doing their jobs. But against a triple option offense, it simply means he's making plays.
With little to no passing game to be found for UNM, James flew around the field and made play after play for the Broncos. He finished with eight tackles, including one for loss.
In reality Boise State very much got a solid team effort from the entire defensive squad. UNM was without its leading rusher Terriyon Gipson, and it showed. However, the Broncos were missing two key linebackers in Leighton Vander Esch and starter Joe Martarano, so It evened out. Boise State was simply the better team.
James stepped up and led with his play and example. The Broncos needed him, and he delivered.
Also considered: DL Sam McCaskill, LB Tanner Vallejo, LB Joe Provenzano
Brett Rypien's 53-yard TD pass to Cedrick Wilson late in the first quarter
Boise State got on the board first, but New Mexico responded with one of those dreaded big plays when RB Tyrone Owens went up the middle and raced 62 yards for a touchdown.
Last night could have been a repeat of last season's matchup with the Lobos, but instead the Broncos responded to the Lobo punch with a left hook of its own.
UNM sent the house at Rypien, but the BSU line picked it up expertly just as Wilson broke free from his defender down the left sideline. Rypien hit him in stride, and he took it the rest of the way. Gorgeous toss and catch.
The quick response fired up the Bronco defense, and the Lobos melted away from the pressure the rest of the game.
Also considered: Every Boise State scoring play, Sam McCaskill's huge third-down sack near the end of the second quarter
Wonderful Lobo (Lobo means Wolf in Spanish, hence the "Wonderful" part. I couldn't find a synonym for wonderful that starts with an L):
QB Lamar Jordan
Jordan was asked to do a lot with Gipson on the sideline. He did his best, finishing with 174 rushing yards on 21 attempts. He added just 39 passing yards and one touchdown through the air.
Boise State's defense made the Lobo offense one-dimensional, yet Jordan still racked up the yardage. Granted, a lot of it came in the fourth quarter with the game well out of hand and a host of young defensive players on the field.
I have to give the award to someone, don't I?
Fans whining about conservative play-calling in the second half
You realize there was literally zero chance that New Mexico could come back from a 42-point deficit, right? Not with that offense. There was no reason to keep the starters in nor air it out instead of running the ball and eating clock. Harsin did the classy thing and also elected to keep his best players healthy by playing the backups.
Yet I saw some tweets and comments about how frustrating the offensive was in the second half.
Get a life.
Best narrative before, during and after the game:
New Mexico's picture on The Blue
The Lobos celebrating a win in Boise was documented with a team photo on the blue turf, complete with a New Mexico state flag, a bunch of players mean-mugging the camera, and one guy rocking a red bandana across his face like he was about to rob a train.
That photo served as motivation for the Broncos this entire offseason. Defensive coordinator Andy Avalos said the team spent a lot of time in the offseason working on defending the triple option. They didn't like the feeling of losing. They loathed the UNM photo, even if no one would say much about it.
Whether it was meant to be disrespectful to Boise State or not, the Broncos took major offense to the celebration and unleashed a fury of Rypien touchdown passes and defensive gut punches on the Lobos.
The lesson? Win and lose with class.