LOGAN—There was no Aggie comeback this time as Boise State handed Blake Anderson his first loss as the Utah State head coach. USU was unable to find the endzone in the 27-3 defeat as the Aggies fell to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play.
It isn’t that Utah State couldn’t move the ball. The Aggie offense put up 443 total yards to Boise State’s 435, but the team couldn’t turn the opportunities into points. Anderson was well-aware of the stat, and said total yards are worthless if a team can’t finish in the endzone.
“We were one-for-four in the redzone, they were five-for-five,” he said. “That is the game right there.”
A pair of missed field goals, two interceptions, a lost fumble and a failed fake punt from the team’s own 26 yard line kept USU on the losing end of the lopsided scoreboard.
“It seemed like we had every little off-schedule-type issue,” Anderson said. “False starts, busts up front, even a couple drops. We just couldn’t maintain rhythm when we did get any kind of rhythm at all.”
Anderson said there were “no moral victories” in this one.
“I feel like we can play with that team,” he said. “We did not do it today.”
Junior linebacker AJ Vongphachanh agreed.
“They weren’t the most physical team on the field today, or even the most talented team,” he said. “I feel like my guys were there step by step. It was just a lack of execution.”
Despite the loss Anderson said he liked his team’s energy, and said was proud of the defense for keeping his team in the game.
“They gave us a chance for way longer than we deserved today with just how poorly we executed,” he said. “When you play a good physical team that is built well, that has been in the fire and played some close games, you can’t shoot yourself in the foot.”
Utah State played both Logan Bonner and Andrew Peasley at quarterback. Bonner completed 11-of-25 passes for 173 yards with two interceptions. Peasley was 2-of-6 for 35 yards. Running back Calvin Tyler Jr. added 126 yards on the ground.
On the Boise State side of the ball, quarterback Hank Bachmeier completed 22-of-39 passes for 287 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Wide receiver Khalil Shakur was on the receiving end of 113 of those yards and a touchdown.
The costly mistakes started early for USU as the Broncos capitalized on an opening-drive interception with a 28-yard field goal. USU’s potential game-tying kick was blocked later in the quarter. Bachmeier found Khalil Shakur on a 69-yard pass the very next play, setting up the game’s only touchdown before halftime.
The Aggies entered the red zone three times during that time, but the results were a pair of missed field goals and an interception. Boise State took a 10-nothing lead into the break.
The deficit grew early in the third. Boise State took a short field after USU lost eight yards on the fake punt from its own 26. The Broncos turned the field position into another touchdown and a 17-0 lead.
Anderson said the fake punt was his fault, but it was a risk he was willing to take.
“At this point we had zero momentum,” he had. “We did not execute it well at all. It still may not have worked, but it was a calculated risk.”
Ajani Carter’s third quarter interception at the USU 12 yard line stopped another potential Bronco score and gave the ball to Peasley, who led an eight-play, 85-yard drive to set up Connor Coles’ 20-yard field goal.
Boise State matched USU’s scoring drive with an eight-play, 60-yard drive capped by a 32-yard field goal of their own. After Peasley fumbled on the ensuing drive, Boise State recovered on the Aggie 20 yard line and added the game’s final touchdown shortly after.
Utah State will take a break from conference play to face in-state rival BYU Friday night at 7 p.m. on Merlin Olsen Field in Logan.
“I’m ready to get (the loss) out of the way and get back to the drawing board,” Tyler said. “We’ve got a short week after this.”