Boise, ID

What Happened to Boise State’s Smurf Turf Mystique?

Stuart Gustafson

“An Armchair Quarterback’s Real-time Critique of the Boise State-Nevada Football Game

As the announcers of last week’s BSU-Utah State game pointed out, six points are what separated Boise State from a 2-2 record (after the Utah State win) and an unblemished 4-0 record. The fans in Boise are used to the Broncos winning close games, keeping hopes alive for one of those elusive New Year’s Day games. Those hopes were dashed in game one against University of Central Florida who beat the Broncos 36-31 in a game that saw several bad decisions contribute to the loss.

The one-point loss to Oklahoma State 21-20 on the blue turf at Albertsons Stadium was an aberration as the Broncos have been virtually unbeatable at home. A second half that saw no scoring by either team belied the ability of both teams to score. Even a final field goal would have earned a victory for BSU. But it was not to be, and Boise State was handed its second loss of the young season under new head coach Andy Avalos.

For the record, I never played football, but I am pretty good at watchingall sports and saying what went wrong, and how the player(s) should have played. That is all tongue-in-cheek, of course, but this is a real-time critique of the October 2nd Boise State-Nevada football game.

The first weekend in October saw the Nevada Wolfpack coming to Boise for a conference game. Entering the game, BSU was 1-0 in the Mountain West Mountain Division, and Nevada had not yet played a game in the Mountain West West Division. Neither team could take it easy as each had some tough opponents to face later in the season. But, as most coaches tell their players:

“It’s one game at a time. We can’t worry about future games. Today’s game is the one game we have to focus on.

Bright orange uniforms of BSU looked resplendent on blue turf.
Stuart Gustafson from FS1 TV show

Though favored by less than a touchdown, BSU’s lead at the end of the first quarter was a bit deceptive. Nevada took the opening kickoff for a score. 7-0 Nevada

BSU was held on ensuing kickoff, only a defensive offside penalty on 4th and punt kept drive alive for a score 7-7

After the kickoff, Nevada marched right down the field, but FG 10-7

BSU then went down and scored with a circus touchdown catch by Shakir 14-10 BSU.

End of Q1

Summary: BSU pass defense playing a bit loose, allowing for good Nevada plays

Offense: Good running and good passing.
Stuart Gustafson from FS1 TV show

2nd quarter continued where first ended. Nevada marched down for TD 17-14.

BSU moving, but two ugly snaps from center killed drive and led to first BSU punt.

BSU defense held Nevada and they punted for first time – a 39 yard run back by Shakir, set up a few plays to TD 21-17 BSU leading with 12:22 left in half.

2 minute offense by Nevada. Marched down field despite a few good defensive plays by BSU. Last play of half started with 5 seconds remaining … 37 yard FG attempt was good . 21-20 BSU at the half.

Fairly even first half: yards 229-213 Nevada; First downs 12-12; score 21-20 BSU

“Second Half, BSU Ball
Stuart Gustafson from FS1 TV show

Having deferred the opening kickoff, Boise State got the ball to start the second half.

On first play, Bachmeier was blindsided and lost the ball; Nevada 1st down at BSU 18; a bunch of plays later, including 4 straight penalties….Nevada drove the ball into the End Zone, 2 point play to take 28-21 lead; 6th lead change.

BSU marched down field, but had to settle for FG; 28-24 Nevada.

Nevada had good running game, but then stalled; FG, 31-24 Nevada.

Next possession … BSU – 21 yard sack on 3rd down; bad punt.

The Broncos are losing the aura of of playing on the blue.

Quick Nevada TD 38-24.

KO runback from mid-end zone to 21; 2nd time bad decision. Why not just take fair catch and go to 25?

Some good plays, some not so good. End of third quarter 38-24 Nevada.
Stuart Gustafson from FS1 TV show

Start of 4th quarter; two plays, and turn over on downs. Too much inside traffic to run; spread things out. Nevada has ball with 14:17 left in game, and up by 14. With great run game.. but then a good hold by BSU defense. 4th and 13. Nevada punt. BSU pass play; catch, ball ripped out. Nevada ball on BSU 29. Nevada held to FG, but a 3-score lead, 41-24.

Another Nevada kickoff and another CT Thomas stop short of the 25 – give it up!

Next play to Thomas, pass bounces off his leg, Nevada interception to BSU 25.

Looking like another day game on the Blue going the wrong way for the Broncos!

Could it be the three second half turnouvers?

4th and 35 from midfield. Nevada punt into end zone.

Real-time problem?

Need 3 scores; under 8 minutes to play, and going for short pass plays. That won’t work. Never has, never will.

4th and 6. Floater pass after Bachmeier hit, caught by BSU.

Broncos might get TD, but one score (of 3 needed) in 4 minutes doesn’t work out mathematically.

Another 2 yard play that uses up 30 seconds – great, you’ll only lose by 10 – it’s still a LOSS!

Over 4:54 on this drive; don’t see any sense of urgency.

Finally a TD, but used over 60% of available time. 41-31 Nevada. Nevada can run ball, BSU will have to use timeouts.

Nevada run – no timeout – run no time out. Finally a time out but had already lost time on the clock between plays – BAD time management, Coach Avalos!

Run, timeout. 4th down and 2, run. 2:16 left in game. BSU gets the ball. Can they score 10 points in 2:09? Doubtful.

Short play, clock moving – who thinks that’s a winning plan?

Then a run play – really? You need 2 scores, and you do a run play?

Pass play up middle, clock runs. QB sack –

Where is Dandy Don Meredith to sing, : “Say Good night, the party’s over”?

Final BSU timeout. 1:10 left; 3rd and 9.

Tackled inbound.. Players walking – no rush.

How about a coaching staff with offensive mentality?

Tackled; game over. 41-31 Nevada.

The Smurf Turf mystique is GONE!

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Articles on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday about travel, relevant local/regional items, some finance. Always with a slant to ask you to think.

Boise, ID

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