After forcing Boise State three-and-out in the game's opening possession, Iowa State took over with good field position near midfield. Seneca Wallace converted on a pair of third downs by rushing twice for 21 yards.
However, after hitting Lane Danielsen for a 12-yard pass on first down, the Cyclone quarterback was helped off the field and replaced by Cris Love. The injury and false start penalty killed ISU's drive and led to a 30-yard field goal from Adam Benike with 8:46 left in the quarter.
Cold and rainy conditions killed any chance of an offensive explosion from Boise State. The Broncos gained just one first down throughout the first quarter and saw two of their three drives end after just three plays.
Without Wallace in the huddle, however, ISU's offense wasn't much better. Love's highlight of the opening quarter was a 14-yard strike to Kyle Knock on first down. But the backup struggled holding onto the ball and had to fall on his own fumble twice.
Boise State's offense got going to start the second quarter, scoring on an impressive 12-play drive that spanned 80 yards. Brock Forsey and David Mikell did most of the work. Forsey rushed for a two-yard touchdown to cap off the drive, and also caught two passes for 25 yards. Mikell had an 11-yard carry near midfield.
Wallace returned to the lineup on the ensuing possession and helped the Cyclones answer with a long drive of their own. A couple of BSU penalties helped their cause. A personal foul call gave ISU a fresh set of downs after a Wallace five-yard carry on 3rd-and-7. Two plays later on 2nd-and-4, the Broncos jumped off-sides.
The Cyclone quarterback carried the load from there, completing passes to Lance Young, Jack Whitver and Jamaul Montgomery. The completion to Montgomery went for a six-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-goal and gave ISU a 10-7 lead with 2:29 remaining in the half.
Advantage: Iowa State.
Momentum clearly swung in Boise State's favor with each team's first possessions of the half. ISU gained nine yards on Wallace's rush on first down to open the third quarter, but then was stuffed for no gain on the following two rush attempts. Troy Blankenship was forced to punt.
The Broncos took over at their own 46-yard line and wasted no time picking apart the Cyclone defense. Ryan Dinwiddie completed 3-of-4 passes for 44 yards and Forsey capped off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to the left. In doing so, BSU took a 14-10 lead with 10:24 remaining in the quarter.
ISU's offense failed to pick up a first down yet again and was forced to punt from deep in its own territory. Boise State took over with excellent field position at its own 49-yard line. Much like they have done throughout the season, the Broncos demonstrated the ability to score points in bunches.
BSU tacked on another touchdown to go up 21-10 with four minutes remaining in the quarter. Lou Fanucchi provided the key play with a 25-yard reverse run on 1st-and-10, moving the Broncos into the red zone. Six plays later, Dinwiddie plunged into the end zone from a yard out. Boise State put the ball in the air just once during the 10-play drive when Dinwiddie connected with Jay Swillie for seven yards on 3rd-and-5.
In need of a big play against the Broncos' offense to gain an edge in field position, the Cyclones got it in the form of an Anthony Forrest blocked punt. The block came after the second straight three-and-out from Boise State and gave ISU possession at the 32-yard line.
However, ISU's fortunes didn't last long. Chauncey Ako forced a Mike Wagner fumble on first down. The Broncos took over at their own 19-yard line.
Advantage: Boise State.
The Cyclones got going on offense after a BSU punt. Wallace picked up first downs on completed passes to Young and Danielsen. However, the drive stalled after two straight incomplete passes third and fourth downs.
ISU would get another chance, taking over at its own 30-yard line with 7:37 remaining after a three-and-out from the Broncos. Those hopes were short lived as Blankenship came in to punt after a three-and-out. Boise State took over near midfield and put the Cyclones away with a swift five-play touchdown drive. Forsey made it 27-10 at the 5:20 mark with a nine-yard scoring run up the middle.
Wallace led his team to its first and only score of the second half, hitting Danielsen on a 4-yard touchdown pass with 2:34 remaining, but is too little too late. The drive was one of ISU's most impressive of the game, as it went 69 yards on 14 plays in just under three minutes.
Advantage: Boise State.