BY MIKE PRATER
The Boise State football team shows off with one of the most dominant offensive openings to a regular season in school history.
Boise State’s defense … hold my beer.
Or, in this case, how do you like our Turnover Throne?
The No. 22 Broncos put on a two-sided display of dominance Saturday night, pounding Troy early and often for a 56-20 victory on a warm night in Alabama. It’s the most points Boise State has scored in an opener since 2007 (56-7, Weber State).
It was the 50th career win for coach Bryan Harsin, whose squad opens at home next Saturday night against UConn (0-1).
SIX FIRST IMPRESSIONS FROM SATURDAY’S VICTORY:
OFFENSE DOMINATES FIRST HALF: Quarterback Brett Rypien threw for 276 yards and four TDs in the first 30 minutes, including scoring strikes to breakout wide receiver Sean Modster (20 and 54 yards). Rypien finished with 305 yards, four TDs and even gained 21 yards on the ground.
– What it means: Mental confidence and momentum is so critical to Rypien, who now doesn’t have to worry about last year’s slow start when he didn’t even toss his first TD until October. With a bad UConn team coming to town, Rypien is poised for a monster start. He completed passes to eight different players, not including Octavius Evans (injured, dressed, didn’t play), star recruit Khalil Shakir (started but no catches) and tight ends Chase Blakley and John Bates (no catches). That gives him 12 targets for future use.
DEFENSE DOMINATES SECOND HALF: As the offense slowed after halftime – no reason for concern there, yet – the defense picked up the slack. Cornerback Tyler Horton added scoop-and-score TDs of 55 and 11 yards, becoming just the fifth player in FBS history to accomplish that in a game. The defense gave up 379 total yards, but held Troy runners to 2.8 yards per carry, picked up four turnovers and had five sacks.
– What it means: The defense is as good as advertised, with as many playmakers as anyone in college football. Wait until tackle David Moa returns (injured, dressed, didn’t play). UConn won’t reach 20 points next week.
THRONE REPLACES THE BELT: Boise State defensive players wore a WWE-style belt on the sideline after creating turnovers last season. This year, they get to sit in the Turnover Throne. The first in the Throne was Idaho transfer Tony Lashley, picture above, who intercepted a pass in the second quarter.
– What it means: The Belt was a better motivational tool because it promoted a championship warrior mentality. Players wore it proudly on the sideline until they went back into the game. The Throne is pretentious and awkward … “Hey, sit here and look at me for a few seconds.’’ Still, players embraced The Throne, which got a ton of social media love and national attention Saturday night. It even has its own Twitter account, created during the game. Hey, embrace the fun in an otherwise troubled world, right?
RUN GAME A CONCERN: The Broncos ran 29 times for 111 yards, an average of 3.8 yards per carry. Alexander Mattison had 56 yards and a TD.
– What it means: The overall run production was poor, and the line needs to be more aggressive and physical (pass protection was solid). No reason to panic – remember what happened last year: The run game started poorly and finished strong. And it’ll be just fine this season because Mattison will get stronger and the line will get better. That’s the Boise State way …
SPECIAL TEAMS NEED SOME POLISH: The Broncos muffed a punt, missed a field goal, and Mountain West Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year Avery Williams (and starting cornerback) left the game with a bad elbow.
– What it means: The Broncos need to clean up mistakes before back-to-back road trips to Oklahoma State (Sept. 15) and Wyoming (Sept. 29). Sloppy special teams could cost the Broncos in their two biggest games of the season.
CHASE CORD MAKES DEBUT: The redshirt freshman quarterback made his debut late in the fourth quarter, didn’t attempt a pass, but ran for a nifty 44-yard touchdown.
– What it means: There will be no Montell Cozart moments this season. Cord is the clear No. 2, and obviously adds a second dimension from the pocket, which makes 2018 transfer Jaylon Henderson an unneeded commodity.
Mike Prater, editor of The Opinionator, co-hosts Idaho Sports Talk with Caves & Prater weekdays from 3-6 p.m. on KTIK 93.1 FM The Ticket and can be heard on Bronco GameNight after BSU football games on KBOI 670 AM and KTIK 93.1 FM. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and found @CavesandPrater(Facebook) and @MikeFPrater (Twitter).