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Bronco Notebook: Boise State’s defense bounces back with strong showing

November 19, 2017 GMT

BOISE — A week after giving up 52 points and 570 yards, Boise State’s young defense had quite the bounceback performance against Air Force Saturday night.

The Bronco defense forced three turnovers, had four sacks and held the Air Force triple option offense to just 296 yards in a 44-19 win on Senior Night.

Boise State held Air Force to just 181 rushing yards after they entered the game ranked No. 5 in the FBS with an average of 310.1 yards per game.

Sonatane Lui recovered a fumble on a botched snap on the second offensive play of the game and Gabe Perez had a fumble recovery later in the first quarter on an ill-advised pitch from Air Force quarterback Nate Romine.

The defensive play of the game came early in the second quarter when Jabril Frazier forced a fumble on Romine as he was sacking him. Corner Tyler Horton picked up the ball and scampered 21 yards into the end zone for a touchdown to put the Broncos up 27-7.

Horton forced another fumble later in the game, but the Falcons recovered.

Boise State now has 21 turnovers forced on defense after having just nine last season. They entered the weekend ranked No. 30 in the FBS in takeaways.

The Broncos also got sacks from Desmond Williams, Kayode Rufai, Curtis Weaver and Frazier.

It was the eighth time this season Boise State’s defense held an opponent to less than 20 points.

MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIP TICKETS ON SALE: Boise State put tickets to a possible Mountain West title game at Albertsons Stadium on sale immediately after the game. Tickets can be purchased at BroncoSports.com/tickets.

Tickets cost $40 in the main stadium and south end zone, and $20 in the north end zone. Those prices are significantly cheaper than tickets for regular season games.

The Broncos have clinched a spot in the title game on Dec. 2 and will play Fresno State, but the location of the game will not be announced until after the two teams play next week in Fresno. The game will be guaranteed to be in Boise should the Broncos win next week in the regular season finale, and it could possibly still be in Boise even if they lose.

The higher ranked team in the College Football Playoff rankings hosts the game, which will be Boise State if they win next week. Fresno State is not currently ranked. Should Boise State lose and fall out of the rankings, a combination of computer rankings similar to the BCS would be used to determine which team would host.

It’s expected that Boise State will host the game no matter what, but the Mountain West has elected to wait until after the two teams play next week to make a final decision.

Boise State will issue full refunds to the credit card used for purchase should the Broncos not end up hosting the game at Albertsons Stadium.

Student ticket are free, and student guest tickets are available for $9.

FRESHMAN EVANS FINDS END ZONE AGAIN: True freshman wide receiver Octavius Evans scored on a 7-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brett Rypien early in the third quarter. It was the second touchdown reception of the season for Evans, who also scored at Utah State on Oct. 28.

Evans is the first true freshman wide receiver to have multiple touchdown catches since Kirby Moore also had two in 2009. For the season Evans has 13 catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns.

HOGGARTH CONTINUES STRONG SEASON: Boise State kicker Haden Hoggarth went 3 for 3 on field goals Saturday to improve to 15 for 16 on the season. Hoggarth, a transfer from Bethune Cookman, connected on field goals of 22 yards, 28 yards and 21 yards.

INJURY UPDATE: Boise State played without starting linebacker Tyson Maeva, starting right guard Eric Quevedo and reserve linebacker Riley Whimpey. Quevedo missed last week’s game against Colorado State, while Whimpey and Maeva were injured against the Rams.

Freshman Benton Wickersham made his first career start in place of Maeva. He’s the 23rd player to make their first career start for the Broncos this season.

BRONCO BITS: Boise State honored 14 seniors before the game on Senior Night. ... The five starting linemen each carried a separate hammer and led the Broncos onto the field Saturday. They were given the honor due to their performance in helping Alexander Mattison rush for 242 yards in the comeback win against Colorado State. … The announced attendance was 33,030. … A.J. Richardson had three catches for 123 yards. It was his first career-100 yard game. He had an 87-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter which accounted for more receiving yards than he’s ever had in a game in his career. … A week after rushing for 242 yards, Boise State’s Alexander Mattison had just 23 yards on 13 carries. ... Cedrick Wilson had five catches for 107 yards.