Although Davis Koetter was too young to remember his time in Boise, Saturday night still felt like a full-circle moment for the redshirt senior receiver.
It might have been a perfect night, if only Boise State had won.
Koetter got his first start, first catch and first touchdown as a Bronco, but Boise State lost 21-20 to Oklahoma State at Albertsons Stadium.
“It was an amazing environment. It’s an unreal feeling to have Bronco Nation behind you,” Koetter said. “I’ve been in a lot of stadiums, been to a lot of games, and I truly believe that they’re the best fans in the nation. It’s unbelievable. I was blown away by that.
“I’m just having a lot of fun, because this has been my dream since I was a little kid, and I try to remember that while I’m out there playing.”
Koetter is the son of former Boise State coach Dirk Koetter, and his dad was in the stands for Saturday’s game. Dirk and his wife, Kim, are enjoying retirement at their home in McCall, and Davis joined the Broncos in the spring after transferring from Portland State.
Davis was born in Boise during his dad’s first season as the Broncos’ head coach in 1998. Davis came into the world on a Thursday, and his dad was back on the sideline coaching the Broncos that Saturday.
Fans got their first chance to applaud the younger Koetter, who got the start in place of injured redshirt junior Stefan Cobbs.
Davis made his first catch in a Boise State uniform on the Broncos’ first drive when he brought down a 5-yard pass from quarterback Hank Bachmeier on third-and-7 to set up Jonah Dalmas’ 40-yard field goal.
After the Boise State defense forced a three-and-out, Davis gave the Broncos a 10-0 lead with a 28-yard touchdown reception with 5:10 remaining in the first quarter.
“There’s a lot of things that he does that are unsung,” Boise State coach Andy Avalos said. “How he blocks for the running backs in the run game. How consistent he is. With Stef being down, it was an opportunity for him to step up.”
Davis finished with four catches for 56 yards, but there’s one play he’d like to have back. On third-and-long late in the third quarter, Bachmeier threw in Davis’ direction, but he couldn’t hang on to the football.
“It hurts. We struggled to move the ball in the second half,” Davis said. “I’ll take some credit on that one. I didn’t do a good enough job. I’ve got to step up and make some plays. I had a drop on third-and-12 that would have moved the sticks. But we’ve just gotta get back to work, focus on the details and the rest will take care of itself.”
The Broncos finished with just 3 yards in the third quarter and 64 yards in the second half after leading by as much as 20-7 with 6:26 left until halftime.
Two other Boise State players joined Davis with career firsts against the Cowboys:
Redshirt freshman Latrell Caples had his first collegiate reception on the Broncos’ opening drive. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder from Lancaster, Texas, caught a drive-preserving, 11-yard pass on third-and-10.
Oregon transfer Cyrus Habibi-Likio scored his first touchdown as a Bronco on a 5-yard run with 10:07 on the clock in the second quarter. Habibi-Likio, a redshirt senior, totaled eight carries for 27 yards and caught one pass for 20 yards.
Broncos miss two late chances
Boise State had two significant chances to win the game — and one of them was controversial.
Safety JL Skinner scooped up a fumble and returned it to the end zone for an apparent touchdown, but the play was whistled dead because the officials ruled the ball carrier was down.
The replay booth overturned the call, but because the play was ruled down, the Broncos were only given the ball — not the touchdown.
The ensuing drive that started with 3:22 left in the fourth quarter ended with a block of Dalmas’ go-ahead, 36-yard field goal attempt.
“It looked like we had a little bit of leakage over on the left side there on the protection, and a guy got his hand up there,” Avalos said. “We’re gonna have to go back and make sure that we look at that and clean that up. In a critical situation like that, we’ve got to be better with our protection.”
Prior to the blocked field-goal attempt, Dalmas made field goals of 40 and 36 yards to match Kyle Brotzman (2007) and Haden Hoggarth (2017) for the best start in school history at 14-for-15 on attempts.
BSU rewards fans for masks
After very few fans were spotted wearing masks during Boise State’s home opener against UTEP, the university tried another strategy Saturday.
Some fans were rewarded for masking up with Bronco Shop gift cards, concession vouchers and even their own Dan Paul Hammer. The biggest prizes of the night included a tuition reduction for one student and a fan who received a free one-year lease on a Ford F-150.
BSU students were required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test before entering Albertsons Stadium for the Oklahoma State game. An on-site vaccination tent was also set up outside the stadium.
Starting Oct. 2 against Nevada, all fans attending BSU home games will have to meet the same requirements to attend, Boise State announced earlier in the week.
Two Broncos out with injuries, two for COVID-19
Boise State faced Oklahoma State without Cobbs and center Kekaniokoa Holomalia-Gonzalez.
The Broncos also had two players out because of COVID-19, which could mean a positive test or contact tracing.
Cobbs exited last week’s win over UTEP late in the second quarter and didn’t return. He was seen on the bench with a boot on his left foot in the second half. The redshirt junior scored on an 81-yard punt return and a 61-yard catch in the Broncos’ 54-13 win over the Miners.
Holomalia-Gonzalez has missed the past two games with an undisclosed injury. Sixth-year senior Donte Harrington started his third straight game at center.
Right guard Jake Stetz was back in the starting lineup after suffering an injury in the second quarter of the Broncos’ season opener at UCF and missing last week’s game.
Boise State was also without redshirt senior linebacker Riley Whimpey in the first half after he was called for a targeting penalty in the second half last week. Whimpey has led the Broncos in tackles in each of the past two seasons, racking up 83 in 2019 and 72 last fall.
Oklahoma State played without two of its top receivers and a starting safety — all of whom were late scratches because of injuries.
Senior wide receiver Tay Martin and true freshman Jaden Bray were both out. Bray was tied for the team lead with six receptions and lead the Cowboys with 136 receiving yards going into the game. Safety Tre Sterling was also out, as was tight end Logan Carter and running back Dezmon Jackson.
Team captains Khalil Shakir and Kekaula Kaniho were joined by Scott Matlock and John Ojukwu as game captains. ... Oklahoma State won the coin toss and deferred. ... Boise State was led onto the field by linebacker DJ Schramm, who carried the Dan Paul Hammer. ... Tyreque Jones carried the American flag and Tyler Crowe carried the Bleed Blue flag. ... Bachmeier became the 13th quarterback in Boise State history to reach 4,000-career yards passing. He finished 23-of-34 for 242 yards and has 4,137 yards in his career. ... Skinner led the Broncos in tackling for the third straight game with 10 total tackles, including 2.5 for loss and a pass breakup. Skinner leveled Oklahoma State receiver Brennan Presley twice Saturday night. The second tackle of Presley near the end of the third quarter drew one of the biggest crowd reactions of the game. ... Defensive tackle Scott Matlock and defensive end Shane Irwin each registered a sack against OSU.