Chase Cord’s first start did not go as planned for Boise State as they faltered on the road in a puzzling loss at BYU. The quarterback’s second start wasn’t that much crisper but at least the Broncos pulled out a win in the end, surviving a stiff challenge from Wyoming 20-17 in overtime to remain in the hunt for the Mountain West title and the elusive Group of Five bid.
The backup signal-caller, making his second start in place of banged up freshman Hank Bachmeier, led BSU on a scoring drive on their very first series of the ball game but otherwise had to fight and claw for every thing else against one of the league’s best defensive units. Cord finished the night with 190 yards, a touchdown and an interception to do just enough to get the victory. It was pretty much all on the QB too as the team averaged just 3.3 yards per carry and saw none of their tailbacks top 40 yards.
The Cowboys were not any better offensively either with their own backup quarterback in the starting lineup for the first time this season too. Tyler Vander Waal, who went 2-6 in the gig behind center last season, made a number of impressive plays off scrambles but couldn’t bring enough consistently moving the chains when all was said and done. Tailback Xazavian Valladay did find some success on the ground with 124 yards and a touchdown but it wasn’t enough to hold off the home squad and notch the program’s first win on the blue turf over Boise.
Still, one has to admire the resolve for both sides in what amounted to a good ol’ fashioned slugfest between some pretty stout defenses. The Broncos simply had more of it, mounting a game-tying drive with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter before watching Eric Sachse nail a 28-yarder in the first possession of overtime for what would prove to be the winning points.
As a result, the team further tightens their grip on the MWC Mountain Division race and keeps them alive for the Cotton Bowl berth that goes to the highest ranked Group of Five champion. Though the AAC has by far more ranked teams in the top 25 of the College Football Playoff rankings, Boise State is not too far off the leaders and their lone loss could be easily explained by having their backup QB in.
Whether it’s enough in the end remains to be seen for Bryan Harsin’s team but at least on Saturday night they can celebrate a hard fought win despite a little more adversity than many thought coming in.