The Air Force Falcons landed in Boise as 30 point underdogs to the No. 5 Boise State Broncos but ended up giving Boise State a run for their money. With a final score of 37-26 in favor of the Broncos, Boise State was well shy of the 30 they were expected to defeat Air Force by.
To Air Force's credit, they came to this game fully prepared to win. Their powerful Triple Option put up 275 rushing yards against a very good Bronco defense. The Falcons put up numbers the Broncos have not seen since playing the likes of Nevada or Virginia Tech.
But in the end, it was the unstoppable Kellen Moore—Doug Martin combo that prevailed in this game as the Broncos offense totaled 420 yards and four touchdowns, making it impossible for the Falcons to keep up.
To date, this has been Boise State's worst performance this year but it is safe to say that it wasn't through the bad play of the Broncos, but the excellent play of Air Force.
I'm sure both teams learned a lot about each other in their first matchup against each other, but here are the five things we learned about the Broncos in their win over Air Force.
Every time we played Nevada during the Kaepernick years, it was a nail biter. Even when Boise was obviously supposed to dominate the game, Nevada always kept it close. Chalk it up to the pistol offense I guess.
Air Force now presents the same issue to Boise State. A team that is good at keeping the Broncos' explosive offense off the field while confusing the defense with a shifty option run system.
I fully expected the Broncos to win the game, but I also expected it to be a game where Boise State had to earn it, just like Nevada used to do.
This may be the beginning of a beautifully irritating relationship for the Broncos.
After yet another blocked PAT where it seems that Dan Goodale is just not elevating the ball enough, the field goal kicker was placed in possibly his most stressful situation yet. Granted the Broncos were winning and at home, but that kick made it so Air Force could not win the game on a single drive.
I know that situation is hardly stressful by kicking standards but we need baby steps, people. The fact of the matter is he is now 3-for-4 on field goals with the kick that pushed the game out of Air Force's grasp. I'm sure it was a boost to this young kicker's confidence and is also a boost to my confidence in the BSU field goal kicking unit.
Boise State has been very good at stopping opposing offenses this season, but none presented more than one or two dimensions for the defense to have to worry about. Their opponents were either great at passing or great at running, not both.
Though Air Force is not a very good pass team, being an extremely good run team opened the pass up for them. Multiple times, Boise State was so focused on the run that Air Force would break off a long pass.
Or they were so focused on the run up the middle that the sweep got them. When the Bronco defense is right, which they seem to be most of the time, the results are devastating for the opposing offense.
However, playing a team like Air Force who forces you to broaden your defensive scope, focusing on one point of the play proves to be disastrous, as Air Force demonstrated today.
This was the first time since playing Georgia that Boise State's starters have played the whole game. This became a problem last year when the second and third string would come in midway through the third quarter letting the first team rest.
Then they faced a Nevada team that wore them out because the starters were required to play the whole game and were out of shape.
Though the defense did get a little tired, and that is to be expected when playing a team like Air Force, they held firm the entire game. This was the most physical game the Broncos have played this year and after watching this test, it is reassuring to see that Boise State does have what it takes to put their best foot forward for the whole game.
Before the game even started, Chris Petersen told the fiercely loyal Bronco fans to not boo Air Force as they took the field. The fans, in fact, cheered for the Falcons in an expression of gratitude aimed at service members everywhere.
There was excellent sportsmanship throughout the hard fought game and the Air Force fans, many of whom live in the Treasure Valley, were treated very respectfully.
With Mountain Home AFB and Gowen Field so close to Boise, I was happy to see Air Force receive such a warm reception and equally as happy to see them leave with a loss.
Kudos to the Boise State fans, players and coaches. You represented Boise beautifully and this Soldier appreciated it.