Broncos Bring Their "A" Game

Bronco fans saw the most complete effort of the season from their Boise State team tonight, as the Broncos downed a solid Southern Mississipi team tonight in Bronco Stadium.

In today's pre-game article, it was pointed out that the winner of tonight's game would gain momentum for the remainder of the season.  Tonight was definitely a momentum builder for the victorious Broncos, as Boise State's offense, defense and special teams took it to the highly-regarded Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi in a 38-16 decision.

So complete was the offensive effort that the Broncos gained more rushing yards, more passing yards and more total yards than Tennessee did two games ago against the same Southern Miss team.  Tailback Ian Johnson hit holes with bursts of speed, punished the Golden Eagles with receptions for big gains and overall enjoyed his biggest game of the season.  The likeable Johnson finished with 191 yards of total offense, 111 of those via his running to go with three touchdowns.  He also finished with three catches for 80 yards, including a gorgeous 54-yard run after a reception in the backfield.

Boise State scored right out of the gate with two nice drives set up by great special teams' play that set them up in business at or past the 45-yard line.  Southern Mississippi game back for a field goal to close the gap to 11 but that would be as close as the talented team would come.  Boise State built a 28-10 halftime lead, but the Golden Eagles mounted another challenge when quarterback Jeremy Young tossed a 23-yard touchdown pass to tight end Shawn Nelson.  That cut the lead to 28-16 but the extra point failed.

But Johnson and the Broncos came storming back with an impressive seven-play, 79-yard drive with #41 finding the end zone yet again.  Young suffered an ankle injury on the ensuing possession and his spark was missed down the stretch.

Bronco quarterback Taylor Tharp was solid, topping the 300-yard mark (307 yards) on 19-of-27 passing and two TD's in front of a nationwide television audience on ESPN.  Jeremy Childs, Titus Young, Julian Hawkins and Vinny Perretta gave the senior excellent targets all night along.   

Boise State finished with 506 yards total offense and converted 10 of 15 third-down situations.  The Bronco defense stymied the vaunted Golden Eagle rushing game and delivered punishing hits all evening long.  Damion Fletcher of Southern Miss, who rushed for 1,692 yards last season -- 11th best in the nation-- had 83 yards on 21 carries.  The Bronco special teams were much-improved as well with Marty Tadman giving Boise State great field possession with his thrilling punt returns.

Young finished 13-of-23 for 190 yards and one TD, but missed most of the second half after hurting his right ankle.  The Golden Eagles had 318 yards total offense.

The Broncos moved their record to 3-1 with the win, setting up two Sunday night Western Athletic Conference games in Bronco Stadium.  The Broncos entertain New Mexico State next Sunday night in another ESPN game.  Southern Mississippi slipped to 2-2 with a Conference-USA game awaiting them against Rice.



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