A Tale of Two Halves
A neutral-site, prime-time game quickly turned into a true home game for Florida State as they hosted the perennial giant-slayer Boise State football team. Florida State took a commanding 24-6 lead in the first quarter and it appeared as though the fairy tale season for Boise State was being chased out of Doak Campbell Stadium by a very speedy Seminole Squad. Florida State racked up 358 yards in the first half, torching the secondary for Boise State. Going into this game, the big story for the Broncos was the talent and experience of their defense, but it took them 30 minutes to come up with any answers. On only the second drive of the game, Tamorrian “Scary” Terry took a simple screen pass from his own 25, turned on the jets, and took it 75 yards to the house, strengthening the grip on Boise State. Taking advantage of a Florida State fumble, the Broncos marched down the field and answered with a touchdown of their own. Kendall Briles and his pass-happy Seminole offense hardly blinked, allowing James Blackman to burn the secondary yet again with a 58 yard strike to Keyshawn Helton for 58 yards regaining a 31-13 lead But remember, it isn’t over until its over. Shortly before halftime, Boise State marched down the field and true freshman quarterback, Hank Bachmeir, threw a touchdown to Akilian Butler, but the play was called back due to illegal touching by Butler by stepping out of the back of the endzone and being the first one to touch the ball. The Broncos settled for a field goal and went into halftime down 31-19.
23 Unanswered Points, 68 Total Yards, Comeback for the Win
If a game ball was awarded to a Boise State coach, it should’ve been Jeff Schmedding, first year defensive coordinator from Eastern Washington. On the first six drives of the game, Florida State generated 31 points, and averaged 12 yards/play. On the remaining seven drives to finish the game, they only managed 68 total yards, and averaged 2.3 yards/play. Florida State finished 1/12 on third down conversion (Eight yard completion to Tre’ Mckitty in 2Q) and only 1/2 on fourth down conversion (38 yard TD run by Cam Akers in 1Q).This is pretty remarkable, and its worthy of analyzing what adjustments Schmedding made. Remember, Schmedding had only seen one half of the high-octane Seminole offense, but enough was enough. The adjustment of sending an extra roaming safety to cover the deep shots took away any threat to move the ball like Florida State had before, and gave extra time for Curtis Weaver to disrupt the pocket. Moreover, knowing Briles would likely claim four down territory, Schmedding only rushed three lineman on a few third downs to take away the five yard pass down the field, forcing Blackman to throw into double and triple coverage. On a critical third down with 6 minutes left in the game, Schmedding called for Weaver to shift to the left side of the Florida State line, exposing him to the blind side of Blackman. Weaver took a few steps on the outside, then juked inside and beat the blocking tight end. Weaver crashed down and cashed in on the sack.
On the offensive side in the second half, the impressive adjustment was the ability to pick up the pass rush and give Bachmeir and extra second or two in the pocket to go through his reads, his own ability and awareness to climb the pocket and look for a midfield checkdown throw to CT Thomas or Khalil Shakir, and the tough running of all three running backs. Florida State played much more conservatively by not blitzing as much, because Bachmeir would recognize the extra mike or sam linebacker coming down, and tell his running back to pick him up. Boise State was able to torch Florida State’s defense by allowing the extra linebackers to blitz the pocket, but create opportunities for the bubble screen or shallow cross to open up the field for big plays.
Hurricane Hank Steps Up
The true freshman QB, Hank Bachmeir, took shots left and right, a questionable shot to the face mask that wasn’t called, and still went 30-51, threw for 407 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. His toughness to put his past behind him and not get spooked in the pocket proved to be the X-Factor in the monumental 18 point comeback to win the game and begin his collegiate campaign.
4th Quarter Conditioning Pays Huge Dividends
On the last few drives in the 4th Quarter, Florida State looked gassed. Boise State never flinched. The summer workouts of running bleachers in the dog days of summer at Albertson’s Stadium, cranking up the heat inside the indoor practice facility and spraying the grass field down with water proved that it isn’t over until the clock says all zeroes. The up-tempo offense proved to be too much for Florida State, as they played at least five yards off the ball, protecting the deep shot like their life depended on it. Boise State didn’t need to take 50 yard shots down the field because the pass protection picked up in the second half, and a four hour game in the Tallahassee sun broke down the Seminole Defense, who was on the field for 113 plays. The Broncos never looked like they cramped or were out of gas.
The Broncos Have a Kicker
Eric Sachse tied the school record for most field goals in a single game by nailing all five. These were crucial points as the Broncos won by only five points. Give credit to the transfer senior kicker, as he cashed in from 36 yards twice, 41, 26, and 30 yards out. It may be only the first game, but Boise State hasn’t had a kicker this consistent since 2010 when Kyle Brotzman suited up.
Next up, Marshall
The Broncos are back home this Friday against Marshall. Kickoff is at 7:00 PM MT, Boise State is favored by 12, and this starts a three week home stretch followed by FBS Portland State, and finishing up with opening conference opponent Air Force. Marshall finished the 2018 season 9-4. Don’t expect this game to be quite the nail biter that was the 18 point comeback against Florida State, but expect Boise State to start quicker, be more consistent in the red zone, and put Marshall away by the third quarter, Score prediction- Boise State: 45, Marshall: 24