‘Unbelievable’ Boise State defense feeds offense in comeback win: ‘It was exciting’

Boise State nickel Tyreque Jones calls it “holding the standard.”

It could just as easily be called changing the game.

On the first play of the second half, Jones intercepted San Diego State quarterback Braxton Burmeister, sparking a second-half comeback that resulted in a 35-13 Boise State victory on Friday at Albertsons Stadium.

After failing to score in the first half at home for the first time since 2012, the Broncos scored 35 unanswered points in the second half. And the Boise State defense had a lot to do with that success.

“It’s an unbelievable way to start the second half, and we were close on getting another one down there, too,” Boise State coach Andy Avalos said of Jones’ interception. “But here’s the thing: When you just do your job, and you do it really, really well, things come to you.”

The Boise State defense was so good, it forced 10 San Diego State punts — for 495 yards — and held the Aztecs to 114 total yards, including just 12 in the second half. SDSU completed just two passes for 33 yards and went 2-for-16 overall. The 13 percent completion percentage was the lowest opponent percentage since Cal Poly was 3-for-23 on Nov. 17, 1973.

By the fourth quarter, San Diego State was down to third-string freshman quarterback Liu Aumavae.

Boise State nickel Tyreque Jones takes down San Diego State running back Chance Bell on Friday night.
Boise State nickel Tyreque Jones takes down San Diego State running back Chance Bell on Friday night.

“It’s just holding our standard, and that’s as simple as I can make it,” Jones said. “And that’s just what it is. If you’re on that field playing with this logo, name on your back, it doesn’t matter. If you’re on the field, you’re gonna hold the standard. That’s what we live by.”

The Broncos have now held back-to-back conference opponents to less than 100 yards passing for the first time since 2010, and back-to-back league foes to less than 100 yards rushing for the first time since 2004.

Redshirt senior linebacker DJ Schramm led the BSU defense in tackles for the second straight game, racking up 11, including four for loss. Boise State had nine tackles for loss and three sacks.

“It was exciting to feed off that energy of the defense,” Boise State running back George Holani said. “As an offense, we’re telling our defense, ‘We’ve got you guys. We’re gonna pick it up.’”

Crowd remains 12th man

Boise State fans continued to provide the Boise State defense the assist against San Diego State, making enough noise to help force seven Aztec false starts.

Combined with UT Martin’s five false starts in the Broncos’ home opener, teams have committed 12 such penalties through two games on The Blue.

During the 2018-19 and 2021 seasons, Boise State opponents committed 61 false starts (3.05 per game), with both numbers leading the nation.

“I’ve gotta give a shoutout to Bronco Nation,” Avalos said. “It’s awesome. ... That’s a serious home-field advantage that we’re very grateful for.”

Boise State edge George Tarlas sacks San Diego State quarterback Braxton Burmeister, who later was injured and knocked out of the game.
Boise State edge George Tarlas sacks San Diego State quarterback Braxton Burmeister, who later was injured and knocked out of the game.

Boise State allows another special teams TD

San Diego State’s Tyrell Shavers returned a blocked punt 36 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter Friday.

It was the second punt return for a TD the Broncos have allowed this season. They gave up a 47-yard punt return in a loss at UTEP last week. The Broncos had not given up two punts for touchdowns in a single season since 2018.

It was also the third special teams touchdown Boise State allowed this season. New Mexico had a 100-yard kickoff return against the Broncos on Sept. 9.

“Special teams, we’ve got to obviously clean some things up,” Avalos said. “We cannot be putting ourselves in that position. We’ve done really good things in special teams to help change the game, and we’ve done things that we’re more than capable of being better at.”

Four Broncos out with injuries

Taylen Green made his first career start behind a patchwork offensive line.

Right guard Ben Dooley missed his fifth straight game with an undisclosed injury. The good news was freshman Mason Randolph was healthy and dressed Friday. Randolph started at right guard in the season opener against Oregon State but had missed the past three games.

Freshman Roger Carreon started at right guard last week at UTEP.

Center Kekaniokoa Holomalia-Gonzalez was also out. He was a healthy scratch last week. Texas Tech transfer Will Farrar started at center for the second week in a row.

Junior college transfers Deven Wright, an edge rusher, and defensive end Cortez Hogans Jr. were also out for undisclosed reasons. Hogans has yet to be active for a game this season.

Quick hits

The Broncos wore blue jerseys, blue pants and blue helmets. ... Team captains Scott Matlock and John Ojukwu were joined by linebacker DJ Schramm and left guard Garrett Curran as game captains. ... San Diego State won the coin toss and deferred. ... Boise State was led onto the field by safety Zion Washington, who carried the Dan Paul Hammer. ... Cornerback Kaonohi Kaniho carried the American flag and tight end Tyneil Hopper carried the Bleed Blue flag. ... Former Boise State and NFL running back Doug Martin raised the Blue Choas flag. ... Albertsons Stadium held a moment of silence before the game for former San Diego State football player Gavin Escobar, who died this week. ... The announced attendance for Friday’s game was 34,910.


The Boise State men’s basketball team has added an exhibition game to its 2022-23 schedule.

The Broncos will host NAIA squad Carroll College on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at ExtraMile Arena. A tipoff time will be announced at a later date.

Boise State officially begins the season at home against South Dakota State on Wednesday, Nov. 9.