Boise St. rallies past Florida St. 36-31 behind freshman QB
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Through the uncertainty, the travel and the adversity, Boise State never lost focus.
Not even when the Broncos were down by 18 points in the second half. And they have authored the latest chapter in Boise State’s history of upsets.
Hank Bachmeier tossed a third-quarter TD pass and Robert Mahone had a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth and Boise State rallied from an 18-point deficit to knock off Florida State 36-31 on Saturday.
“The first half, it was tough,” Boise State offensive lineman John Molchon said. “But we knew if we were going to just fall over it would have been an embarrassment. At the end of the day our mentality was still fast and physical.”
Boise State (1-0) was quick to rally and overwhelmed Florida State on a humid afternoon. In a game moved from Jacksonville to Tallahassee due to Hurricane Dorian, Florida State squandered a 31-13 lead and lost its season opener for the third straight time.
Bachmeier, a true freshman, was pounded early by Florida State’s defensive front for five sacks and eight hurries. But he threw for 407 yards as Boise State defeated a Power 5 team for the sixth time since the 2014 season. It was the most passing yards by a Boise State first-time starting quarterback.
And Bachmeier delivered on third downs, completing 8 of 12 passes for 136 yards. All eight of the completions were first downs.
“The No. 1 thing is toughness,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “He took shots. ... But at the end of the day, why do you play the game? To compete. Why do you compete? To win. What I found out about our quarterback today is he wanted to win and he wanted to win so bad that he found a way to get that done.”
James Blackman had three touchdown passes in the first half as Florida State took a 24-6 lead with 10:53 left. Blackman finished completing 23 of 33 passes for 327 yards but the Seminoles (0-1) were held scoreless after halftime.
His third touchdown pass, a 58-yard toss to Keyshawn Helton, put the Seminoles up 31-13 with 4:07 left in the second quarter.
The second half was all Boise State. Bachmeier connected with Khalil Shakir on an 11-yard touchdown, Eric Sachse had three second-half field goals and Mahone then put the Broncos ahead with his plunge with 12:44 to go.
Mahone had 24 carries for 142 yards, surpassing the combined 128 yards he had in 2018.
“I always knew that I could carry a game,” Mahone said.
The Broncos were 8 of 8 in the red zone but settled for field goals, especially early. Sachse connected on field goals of 36, 36, 41, 26 and 30.
Florida State had two fumbles in the third quarter on back-to-back drives, both of them in Boise State’s end of the field.
“Let one get away as a team,” Florida State coach Willie Taggart said. “I think everybody played a part in the mistakes. But I will say one game will not define this football team. Our guys will bounce back.”
GAME PLAN: RUN
Boise State’s 57 rushing attempts were the second-most during Harsin’s tenure as coach since 2014. The Broncos ran for 214 yards and were consistently able to build methodical scoring drives. The 57 carries was just two shy of the mark of 59 set Oct. 3, 2015 against Hawai’i.
Boise State: The Broncos scored the final 23 points of the game and the defense limited the Seminoles to just 99 rushing yards on 28 carries.
Florida State: The Seminoles couldn’t sustain the first-half energy and managed just 68 yards in the second half.
Boise State: Plays host to Marshall
Florida State: Plays host to Louisiana-Monroe