Boise State running back Jay Ajayi ran for a career-high 222 yards on 24 carries with three touchdowns to lead the Broncos to a 34-17 win over Nevada.
Backup quarterback Grant Hedrick threw for 150 yards and ran for 115 more.
Hedrick, a junior who had only attempted 36 passes in his career, took over when starting quarterback Joe Southwick injured his right foot on the Broncos’ first offensive play from scrimmage. He finished 18-of-21 passing. He is also the first Bronco quarterback to rush for over 100 yards since Jared Zabransky rushed for 123 against Hawaii in 2004.
Boise State (5-2, 3-1 Mountain West) won its eighth straight game at home against Nevada.
Nevada (3-4, 2-2), which led at halftime against Boise State for the first time since 1997, lost its fifth straight on the road dating back to last season.
Boise State’s defense, which yielded 246 yards of offense in the first half, held Nevada to 127 yards in the second half.
Trailing 17-7 at halftime, the Boise State offense also found its rhythm in the second half.
On their first possession of the second half, the Broncos drove 64 yards in eight plays, scoring on a 4-yard touchdown run by Ajayi. A missed extra point left Nevada with a 17-13 lead.
On Boise State’s next possession, Ajayi raced 71 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. With the extra point, Boise State took its first lead at 20-17 with 9:31 left in the third quarter.
Boise State added two more touchdowns to secure the victory.
Nevada receiver Brandon Wimberly led the Wolfpack with 11 catches for 121 yards. However, his streak of five straight games with a touchdown reception was snapped.
By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman
UPDATE: Boise State QB Joe Southwick broke his right ankle, coach Chris Petersen said. It’s possible he will return this season but there is no timetable.
Boise State senior starting quarterback Joe Southwick left the field on crutches after an awkward tackle from behind on a scramble to the sideline on the Broncos’ first play Saturday against Nevada.
Southwick went to a training table on the sideline. He was given crutches and hopped, his right foot bare, to the Idaho Sports Medicine Institute in the corner of the stadium. Fans cheered him as he exited.
At the end of the first quarter, Southwick was carted from the ISMI to the locker room with a towel over his head.
Southwick is the first Boise State starting quarterback to sustain a significant injury — more than a couple plays missed — since Ryan Dinwiddie broke an ankle in 2002 at Arkansas.
Junior Grant Hedrick replaced Southwick. He threw a tipped pass that was intercepted to end the first drive.
NEV — Brent Zuzo 32 field goal, 7:45. Key plays: Nevada converted three third downs and Brandon Wimberly made catches of 31 and 12 yards. But defensive end Demarcus Lawerence’s second sack of the drive on third-and-goal at the 6 forced the field goal. Drive: 15 plays, 60 yards, 7:15. Nevada 3, Boise State 0
NEV — Kendall Brock 6 run (Zuzo kick), 7:40. Key plays: The Wolf Pack ran repeatedly over the left side, gashing the Broncos’ defense. Brock gained 5 yards on fourth-and-1 at the 6 and, after a penalty, scored on first-and-goal from the 6. Drive: 13 plays, 75 yards, 5:44. Nevada 10, Boise State 0
BSU — Jay Ajayi 8 run (Dan Goodale kick), 6:02. Key plays: Backup quarterback Grant Hedrick, replacing the injured Joe Southwick, scrambled up the middle for a 49-yard gain on third-and-4. Ajayi needed two carries to cover the remaining 25 yards. Drive: 5 plays, 80 yards, 1:38. Nevada 10, Boise State 7
NEV — Don Jackson 3 run (Zuzo kick), 1:01. Key plays: Quarterback Cody Fajardo threw to wide receiver Richy Turner on third-and-5 from the Boise State 19. He was marked short of the first down but the spot was changed on review to give him a 5-yard gain. Drive: 12 plays, 78 yards, 5:01. Nevada 17, Boise State 7
BSU — Ajayi 4 run (Goodale kick failed), 12:14. Key plays: Hedrick used a ball fake to scramble for 11 yards on third-and-4 and Ajayi busted a 17-yard run on a quick snap. The touchdown was granted on replay review. Drive: 8 plays, 56 yards, 2:46. Nevada 17, Boise State 13
BSU — Ajayi 71 run (Goodale kick), 9:20. Drive: 1 play, 71 yards, :11. Boise State 20, Nevada 17
BSU — Hedrick 20 run (Goodale kick), :42. Key plays: Ajayi gained 6 yards on third-and-5, Hedrick fired a 14-yard strike to wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes and tight end Connor Peters caught a 7-yard pass on third-and-7. Peters added a 10-yard catch on third-and-9. The touchdown came on the zone read, with Hedrick holding the ball in the back’s gut until the last moment. Drive: 11 plays, 74 yards, 3:33. Boise State 27, Nevada 17
BSU — Hedrick 19 run (Goodale kick), 8:28. Key plays: Backup tailback Derrick Thomas rushed for 17 yards, wide receiver Troy Ware made a 20-yard catch and Thomas ran for 12 more. The touchdown came on an option keeper, one play after a touchdown was called back on a penalty on the same play. Drive: 7 plays, 77 yards, 2:51. Boise State 34, Nevada 17
The Wolf Pack, coming off a bye, whipped the Broncos in the lines in the first half.
Nevada entered Saturday’s game at Boise State with a most un-Nevada-like rushing average of 181.8 yards per game and just 3.6 yards per carry.
But Nevada — which ranked as one of the top running teams in the nation from 2008 to 2012 under former coach Chris Ault — rediscovered its running ways in the first half.
The Wolf Pack rushed for 130 yards on 33 carries in the first half, including touchdown runs of 6 yards by Kendall Brock and 3 yards by Don Jackson.
Nevada found success behind left tackle Joel Bitonio and tight end Stephen Jeffers. On the Wolf Pack’s second scoring drive of the half, Nevada rushed for 62 yards on 10 carries. Four of the carries went over the left side of the line for 36 yards.
The Broncos rushed 18 times for 144 yards in the first half, but 74 of those yards came in a three-play burst sparked by a 49-yard scramble by backup quarterback Grant Hedrick. Hedrick was under constant pressure. He replaced starter Joe Southwick, who was injured on the Broncos’ first play when he scrambled immediately out of trouble and was tackled from behind on a 7-yard gain.
The Broncos outscored the Wolf Pack 20-0 in the third quarter. That continued a season-long trend for Nevada, which now has been outscored 106-33 in the third quarter this season.
Junior starting middle linebacker Blake Renaud did not play Saturday after injuring a leg in the first half against Utah State. He did not play in the second half of that game. True freshman Tanner Vallejo made his first start in Renaud’s place.
Starting right tackle Rees Odhiambo and starting tight end Gabe Linehan returned from injuries. Odhiambo started.
Starting wide receiver Kirby Moore did not play for the third straight game.
The Broncos wore their all-black uniforms for the first time this year. … In the 2008 through 2012 meetings, Boise State outscored Nevada 112-26 in the first half and was outscored 102-61 in the second half. The Broncos were 4-1 in those games. … Boise State’s captains were safety Taylor Loffler, defensive end Kharyee Marshall, center Matt Paradis and tailback Jay Ajayi. … Left tackle Charles Leno Jr. carried the Hammer for his blocked field goal against Utah State. He’s the second offensive lineman to carry it in recent memory. Nate Potter brought the Hammer out two years ago on behalf of the offensive line. … Boise State won the coin toss and deferred. … Boise State’s honorary captains were quarterback Bart Hendricks (1996-2000) and defensive back Bobby Fryer (1981-82). … Junior wide receiver Matt Miller has moved into fourth place in career catches at Boise State. …
Monday blog: Notes and video from the weekly press conference
Tuesday blog: Mountain West Football Report
Tuesday story: Broncos need more production at tailback
Wednesday story: Not much has changed at Nevada
Wednesday story: Scouting Nevada
Wednesday story: Boise State seeks to extend Nike contract
Wednesday blog: Joe Southwick makes Unitas list
Thursday story: Kicker Dan Goodale enjoys breakout season
Thursday blog: Live chat replay and other notes
Friday story: How Boise State changed its practices to deal with the demands of a fast-paced offense
Friday blog: Questions at tailback, right tackle
Saturday story: Our midyear report
Saturday column: Brian Murphy on the pistol