Boise State defeats Utah State 34-23 for season’s first road win
Joe Southwick passed for a career-high 335 yards and two touchdowns on 30-of-44 passing as Boise State topped Utah State 34-23 Saturday night.
Shane Williams-Rhodes caught 13 of Southwick’s passes for 150 yards and a touchdown while running back Jay Ajayi added 109 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. The Broncos (4-2, 2-1 Mountain West) gained 26 first downs to USU’s 16 in the game and gained 447 yards of total offense.
Junior Craig Harrison made his first start at quarterback for Utah State (3-4, 2-1 Mountain West) after Chuckie Keeton, three-year starter for the Aggies, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter of a loss to BYU last week.
Harrison went 7 of 17 for 105 yards and rushed for 36 yards. Freshman Darell Garretson replaced Harrison with 9:23 to play in the third quarter and went 9 of 14 for 116 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
BSU held Utah State scoreless in the third quarter. Southwick found Williams-Rhodes on a 2-yard slant for a score and Dan Goodale nailed a 39-yard field goal, his longest of the year.
USU’s first second half touchdown came when cornerback Nevin Lawson intercepted Southwick and scampered for a 65-yard score a minute into the fourth quarter. Garretson found Tavis Van Leeuwen for a 2-yard TD pass with 20 seconds to play in the game, completing a 91-yard drive.
Boise State dominated the game early. Ajayi scored on a 2-yard run with 7:13 to play in the first quarter following 21-yard pass by Southwick to Williams-Rhodes. Southwick ran in from 7 yards out with 9:03 to play in the first half and hit Aaron Burks on a 24-yard pass play to extend the lead to 24-7. The Broncos had 274 yards offense in the half, Southwick passing for 207.
USU’s early touchdown came on a 3-yard run by Joey DeMartino. Utah State blocked a BSU punt with 57 seconds to play in the half but were unable to score and trailed 24-10 at halftime.
Scoring summary, notes
By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman
BSU — Jay Ajayi 2 run (Dan Goodale kick), 7:13. Key plays: Joe Southwick bought some time in the pocket and hit Shane Williams-Rhodes for a 21-yard gain on second-and-20. The Broncos also converted third-and-10 with a holding penalty on the Aggies. Drive: 10 plays, 61 yards, 3:43. Boise State 7, Utah State 0
BSU — Goodale 35 field goal, 4:18. Key plays: Southwick rolled to the right and lofted a strike to Williams-Rhodes down the right sideline in tight man coverage for a 39-yard gain. Drive: 5 plays, 44 yards, :58. Boise State 10, Utah State 0
USU — Joey DeMartino 1 run (Nick Diaz kick), 13:43. Key plays: Trevor Harman shanked his punt to give the Aggies good field position. On first down, Craig Harrison hit wide-open receiver Travis Reynolds on a crossing route for a 40-yard gain. Drive: 3 plays, 50 yards, :56. Boise State 10, Utah State 7
BSU — Southwick 7 run (Goodale kick), 9:03. Key plays: Southwick connected with Aaron Burks for 8 yards on third-and-5 and tight end Holden Huff for 12 yards on third-and-2. He added a 25-yard throw to Williams-Rhodes on a scramble and scored on a third-down scramble. Drive: 13 plays, 91 yards, 4:35. Boise State 17, Utah State 7
BSU — Burks 24 pass from Southwick (Goodale kick), 3:04. Key plays: Wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn broke a tackle for a 21-yard gain and made an 18-yard catch on the next play. Ajayi spun his way to a 19-yard run. And the touchdown was a perfect strike on a skinny post on third-and-18. Drive: 9 plays, 89 yards, 3:13. Boise State 24, Utah State 7
USU — Diaz 33 field goal, :57. Key plays: Reynolds made a nifty, 26-yard catch along the sideline that held up on review. The Broncos stopped the drive with a 6-yard tackle for loss. Drive: 7 plays, 59 yards, 2:07. Boise State 24, Utah State 10
BSU — Williams-Rhodes 2 pass from Southwick (Goodale kick), 9:33. Key plays: Southwick was 8-for-8 on the drive for 62 yards. Drive: 11 plays, 69 yards, 4:18. Boise State 31, Utah State 10
BSU — Goodale 39 field goal, 2:29. Key plays: Tight end Jake Hardee made a 27-yard catch. The drive stalled on a broken play and two incompletions. Drive: 10 plays, 48 yards, 3:37. Boise State 34, Utah State 10
USU — Nevin Lawson 65 interception return (Darell Garretson pass failed), 14:12. Boise State 34, Utah State 16
USU — Travis Van Leeuwen 4 pass from Garretson (Diaz kick), :20. Drive: 14 plays, 91 yards, 5:26. Boise State 34, Utah State 23
Boise State thought it could run out the first-half clock by taking knees, but Utah State used its timeouts to force a punt. After the second-down play, some Broncos and Aggies ran into the locker room and the Broncos’ offensive coaches left the press box.
The Broncos still seemed flustered on the punt with defensive end Sam McCaskill joining the formation late at guard. Cornerback Devin Centers broke through the middle and blocked the punt, which went out of bounds at the Broncos’ 12-yard line.
The Aggies threw two passes into the end zone, both broken up by cornerback Bryan Douglas. They settled for a 29-yard field-goal attempt by Nick Diaz, but offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr. blocked the kick. It was the Broncos’ third blocked field goal in two games.
Big half for SWR
Boise State sophomore wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes made eight catches for a career-high 106 yards in the first half against Utah State. That followed a career-high nine catches against Southern Miss — giving him 17 catches in six quarters.
He added four more catches and a TD on the Broncos’ first drive of the second half. With 12 catches, he had the most by a Bronco since Austin Pettis in the 2010 MAACO Bowl Las Vegas against Utah.
Harrison gets nod
Utah State’s backup quarterback, Craig Harrison, started in place of injured starter Chuckie Keeton. He was 7-of-17 for 105 yards through the first drive of the third quarter.
True freshman Darell Garretson made his career debut on the second drive of the third quarter. He competed with Harrison in practice for the starting job.
Some injured return
Wide receiver Aaron Burks (missed two games), tight end Holden Huff (three) and defensive lineman Tyler Horn (one) returned to action Saturday.
Tight end Gabe Linehan missed his third game and linebacker Jonathan Brown missed his fifth.
Wide receiver Kirby Moore (had missed one game) and right tackle Rees Odhiambo (injured vs. Southern Miss) traveled but did not start. Redshirt freshman Steven Baggett started at right tackle because backup Jake Broyles did not make the trip.
Burks made a 24-yard touchdown catch and Huff made a key 12-yard catch in the first half.
Boise State wore all-blue uniforms because Utah State staged a whiteout. … Boise State’s captains were offensive lineman Spencer Gerke, cornerback Donte Deayon, wide receiver Matt Miller and linebacker Corey Bell. … Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence carried the Hammer. He blocked two field goals against Southern Miss. … Utah State won the coin toss and deferred. … Boise State junior cornerback Bryan Douglas made his fourth interception of the season.
Monday blog: Highlights from coach Chris Petersen’s press conference, with video
Tuesday story: Tailback Aaron Baltazar will miss the rest of the season
Tuesday blog: Mountain West Football Report
Wednesday story: Utah State tries to replace QB Chuckie Keeton
Wednesday blog: Safety Taylor Loffler thrives in first playing time
Thursday story: Linebacker Ben Weaver’s preparation leads to breakout season
Thursday blog: Washington game becomes 2015 opener and live chat replay
Friday story: The budding relationship between Boise State and Utah State
Name the Score Contest
Friday blog: Fields, Ware get opportunities
Saturday story: QB health a key element to run game
Saturday column: Utah State the latest following in Boise State’s footsteps