Instant analysis: Boise State shoots itself in foot as rare home losing streak continues

·3 min read

Final score: Air Force 24, Boise State 17

Records: Boise State 3-4. Air Force 6-1.

Why the Broncos lost: Boise State couldn’t get out of its own way, and it couldn’t slow down Air Force’s triple-option offense. The Broncos were called for eight penalties for 75 yards, they lost 16 yards on a fumble near midfield on a drive in the fourth quarter and fifth-year senior Kekaula Kaniho illegally touched a punt late in the fourth, giving the ball to the Falcons deep in Broncos’ territory and opening the door for them to take a two-possession lead with a field goal.

The Falcons gashed the Broncos on the ground for the second year in a row, posting 307 yards on Saturday after racking up 415 rushing yards in last season’s game in Colorado. Missing its top two running backs, George Holani and Cyrus Habibi-Likio, because of injuries, Boise State also struggled to run the ball once again. The Broncos went into the game ranked last in the Mountain West with 85.3 rushing yards a game, and they managed just 78 on Saturday.

Main takeaway: Albertsons Stadium might not be such a nightmare for visiting teams anymore, and Boise State’s chances of making a fifth straight appearance in the Mountain West championship took a big hit after Saturday’s loss. It marked the first time the Broncos have lost three straight home games since 1996 and the first time they’ve lost three home games in a season since 1998. With two losses in the conference and Wyoming, Fresno State and San Diego State still on the schedule, it also means making the conference title game this season will take a Herculean effort by the Broncos.

Player of the game: Air Force running back Brad Roberts paced the Falcons’ backfield with 138 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He scored on a four-yard touchdown to tie the game, 7-7, in the first quarter, and his 1-yard scoring dive gave the Falcons a 21-14 lead in the second quarter.

Stat of the game: Air Force converted 5-of-7 third-down attempts in the first half and finished the game 7-of-15 on the money down. The Falcons also went 2-for-2 on fourth down. Air Force’s fourth-down conversions came on its first two drives of the game, and both ended with touchdowns.

Play of the game: Boise State finished the game 0-for-1 on fourth-down attempts, and the Broncos’ only one came inside Air Force’s 5-yard line. Trailing by seven points with a little more than 5:00 left in the third quarter, the Broncos drove to the Falcons’ 2, where they faced four-and-goal. Quarterback Hank Bachmeier changed the play at the line of scrimmage and rolled right looking for a receiver, but couldn’t find anyone open and took a big hit as the Broncos turned the ball over on downs.

What’s next: Boise State (3-4, 1-2 MW) is on a bye next week before hitting the road to face Colorado State (3-3, 2-0) on Oct. 30. The Broncos have never lost to Colorado State, winning all 10 meetings since 2011.

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