Sunday, November 9, 2014

Boise State Gets 60-49 Win at New Mexico

Quarterback Grand Hedrick threw four touchdown passes and ran for 131 yards (a new school record by a Boise State quarterback) and two more scores as Boise State came from behind to score a wild 60-49 win over New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Hedrick's 498 yards of total offense were the fourth-highest in school history.

With the victory, Boise State posted its 172nd win over the last sixteen years, more than any college football team has had in a 16-year period since 1905.  And the Broncos have four more games to play this season.

Hedrick's 36-yard pinpoint pass to Chaz Anderson gave Boise State their first lead of the game, 53-49, with seven minutes remaining.  The Bronco defense then held New Mexico on a fourth-down try, and Jay Ajayi salted the game away with a 14-yard run for the final margin of victory.

Ajayi rambled for 177 yards and two touchdowns, and added a 75-yard reception for a score on Boise State's first play from scrimmage.  Ajayi went over 1,000 rushing yards on the season (1,162 for 11th in the nation) and over 3,000 (3,135) for his Bronco career.  Ajayi is currently third in the country in all-purpose running with 1,564 yards and sixth with 14 rushing touchdowns.  It was Jay's seventh career game over 150 rushing yards, tying Cedric Minter for the school record.  Ajayi is also tied with Chris Thomas for fifth with 13 100-yard games in his career. 

But it was a long way back in this one for Boise State after falling behind by two touchdowns twice in the first half.  When the Boise State defense stayed in their lanes in the second half, the Broncos held the Lobos to seven points. 

That was not the case in the opening half, however.  New Mexico rang up five plays over 49 yards in the first half to take a 42-35 lead over the Broncos at the half. Jhurell Pressley ran 75 yards untouched on the first play from scrimmage to give the Lobos a 7-0 lead.  Ajayi responded on Boise State's first possession when he took a pass from Hedrick and sprinted 75 yards himself into the end zone.  But Teriyon Gipson burst through a hole for 57 yards and Pressley's two-yard dive made it 14-7.

The Broncos answered on a 13-play drive that resulted in a 13-yard TD from Hedrick to tie the score, only to see Ridge Jones take the ensuing kickoff six yards deep in the end zone and sprint past the Bronco return team to give New Mexico a 21-14 lead barely over 10 minutes into the game.

After Boise State was forced to punt, the Lobos set off more in-game fireworks.  Pressley again had no one around him after bursting through the Bronco line, and his 61-yard dash set up Gipson for a one-yard touchdown to give New Mexico a 28-14 lead.  Beau Martin had one of the key plays in the game when he blocked a 48-yard field goal try, and the Broncos took advantage with Ajayi scoring a four-yard touchdown to cap a six-play drive.

But Gipson then broke loose for another long run of 49 yards, and New Mexico once again had a 14-point lead and 35-21.  Hedrick led the Broncos down the field, and dazzled with a 35-yard TD run of his own.  But the explosive Jones took it 75 yards for a touchdown on the next play from scrimmage, and the Broncos, which came into the game as the nation's 15th top rushing defense, had given up 400 yards in the first half.

To their credit, however, the Boise State offense finished the half with a nine-play drive on the ensuing possession, with Hedrick firing a bullet to Shane Williams-Rhodes in the end zone for an 11-yard score with 28 seconds remaining.

Dan Goodale booted field goals of 30 and 25 yards in the third quarter, when the Lobos scored their only points of the second half to take a 49-41 lead into the fourth.  Kamalei Correa up the first Goodale first field goal when he blocked a punt and recovered it on the Lobo 10 yard-line. 

Down the stretch, the Bronco defense finally stiffened, holding New Mexico on two fourth-down plays, first at the Boise State 37 and then making a crucial stop at the Lobo 48.  The Broncos capitalized on both, with Hedrick once again finding Williams-Rhodes for an 18-yard score to narrow the margin to 49-47 (a two-point conversion failed), then taking the lead on Hedrick's pass to Anderson.

Boise State advanced to 7-2 on the season and 4-1 in the Mountain West and remained in the discussion for a berth in one of the major college football bowls on New Year's Day.  With the victory, the Broncos moved up to #14 all-time with their 16th straight season of seven or more wins

Hedrick vaulted from 12th to 8th in career passing at Boise State, completing 21 of 32 passes for 367 yards.  With 4,568 yards, Hedrick is now 216 yards shy of his predecessor, Joe Southwick, for #7 on the Bronco list.

Hedrick is now in sixth place at Boise State with six 300-yard passing games, sixth in 200-yard passing games with 13, seventh place in career total offense with 5,387 yards, seventh in career completions with 392, eighth all-time with 211 completions in a season, and 11th in career touchdown passes with 32

Thomas Sperbeck had career highs of nine receptions for 164 yards for Boise State.

Gipson had 205 yards rushing and three touchdowns, and Pressley registered 154 yards and two scores for the Lobos despite not playing the second half due to an ankle injury.  New Mexico finished with 505 yards on the ground, setting a Lobo school record for the most rushing yards and a dubious Bronco record for the most rushing yards ever given up in a game.

Boise State returns home for a date with San Diego State--it was the Aztecs which ruined a BCS bowl bid two years ago with a 21-19 victory on The Blue, one of only four home defeats the Broncos have suffered in the last 100 games.

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