Facebook Twitter

Highlights, key plays and photos from Utah State’s 42-13 loss to Boise State

A second half rally attempt by the Aggies came up short, despite an 89-yard, two touchdown outing by senior running back Jaylen Warren

SHARE Highlights, key plays and photos from Utah State’s 42-13 loss to Boise State

Boise State running back George Holani (24) catches the ball in front of Utah State linebacker Cash Gilliam (5) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Boise, Idaho.

Steve Conner, Associated Press

Despite a second half rally attempt, the Utah State Aggies fell on the road to the Boise State Broncos 42-13 in their 2020 season opener Saturday night.

USU-BSU scoring summary

Scoring summary:

Boise State 42, Utah State 13

First quarter

BSU, George Holani 1-yard run (7:28), Jonah Dalmas kick

Second quarter

BSU, Khalil Shakir 52-yard pass from Hank Bachmeier (13:58), Jonah Dalmas kick

BSU, Hank Bachmeier 6-yard run (3:23), Jonah Dalmas kick

BSU, George Holani 17-yard pass from Hank Bachmeier (0:25), Jonah Dalmas kick

Third quarter

USU, Jaylen Warren 1-yard run (2:05), Nels Haltom kick

Fourth quarter

USU, Jaylen Warren 2-yard run (11:57), Nels Haltom kick missed

BSU, Khalil Shakir 18-yard pass from Hank Bachmeier (8:29), Jonah Dalmas kick

BSU, Andrew Van Buren 5-yard run (1:32), Jonah Dalmas kick

The Broncos outscored the Aggies 28-0 in the first half before Utah State made a game of it in the second, pulling with 15 points early in the fourth quarter.

Boise State quarterback Hank Bachmeier finished with 268 yards passing and three touchdowns, while running back George Holani rushed for 100 yards and a score.

Jaylen Warren led USU with 89 yards on the ground — he was responsible for both Aggie scores — while quarterback Jason Shelley shook off a slow start to finish with 92 yards through the air.

The Aggies have now lost their last four season openers going back to 2017, while the Broncos have opened each of the last six seasons with a victory.

Utah State now trails Boise State 20-5 in the all-time series and is 2-11 all-time in Boise.

3 takeaways

A miserable first half

Ultimately, Utah State was done in by what can only be described as an awful first half performance. Boise State dominated in every facet of the game in the first half, particularly in the second quarter, when they outscored USU 21-0.

At halftime, Boise State had out-gained USU on offense 304 yards to 45, including a 208 to 24 advantage in the passing game and 96 to 21 advantage in the running game.

Bachmeier was clearly the superior signal caller between the two teams as well, throwing for 205 yards and two touchdowns, while Shelley was 4 of 9 for 24 yards. 

Whether it be time of possession — Boise State had nearly double the time of possession of Utah State, with 19:32 compared to 10:28 — third down conversions, really any statistical category, Boise State was by far the better team in the first half

Key second half adjustments

The same could not be said of the second half, however. Utah State was a different team coming out of the break and won the third quarter 7-0. At first glance, it was the Aggies’ offense that was much improved as USU reeled of a 16-play, 80-yard drive to get on the scoreboard.

Defensively, though, USU was arguably even more improved, particularly when it came to tackling. Multiple first half scores by the Broncos were the result of poor angles taken and even poorer tackling. For a couple of drives at least, USU shored up that weakness.

Combine that with the offense controlling the ball for over 10 minutes in the third, and Utah State looked like it belonged on the same field at Boise State for the first time all night.

Too much Boise State

In the end, though, Boise State simply had too much for the Aggies, particularly on offense. Whether it be Bachmeier, Holani or wide receiver Khalil Shakir — Shakir had seven receptions for 123 yards and two touchdowns — the Broncos simply had too much firepower.

At least, more than this Aggie team could handle while lacking some of their chief playmakers, including safety Troy Lefeged Jr., wide receiver Savon Scaver and tight end Carson Terrell.

Live Coverage

End fourth quarter

Boise State 42, Utah State 13

It looked like it would be an easy win for Boise State after a dominant first half, but Utah State rallied in the second half behind the running of Jaylen Warren, before falling short in the end.

1:32 4th Quarter

Boise State 42, Utah State 13

Andrew Van Buren put the game away for the Broncos, his five-yard run putting the finishing touches of the game-clinching drive.

8:29 4th Quarter

Boise State 35, Utah State 13

The Aggies comeback was short-lived, as the Broncos struck back immediately with a touchdown of their own. Receiver Khalil Shakir took a Hank Bachmeier passed 18-yards for his second score of the game. It was Bachmeier’s third touchdown pass of the game.

11:57 4th Quarter

Boise State 28, Utah State 13

After Boise State punter Joel Velasquez kicked the ball off the back of his blocker, the Aggies drove 21 yards down the field for another touchdown. Warren capped off this drive as well, with a two-yard run up the middle.

End of third quarter

Boise State 28, Utah State 7

A few notes at the end of the third quarter:

  • The Aggies racked up 103 yards of total offense, more than doubling their production in the entire first half.
  • Thanks to rushing for 48 yards on the Aggies’ scoring drive, Warren is now up to 76 yards on 18 carries.
  • True freshman Elelyon Noa made his USU debut, rushing for 3 yards on a single carry in relief of Warren.
  • 6 foot 6 JUCO transfer Justin McGriff had two catches for 16 yards, including a vital conversion in the red zone.

2:05 3rd Quarter

Boise State 28, Utah State 7

The Aggies got their first breakthrough of the season and fittingly it was running back Jaylen Warren who did the deed on a 1-yard run. Warren was instrumental throughout the 16-play, 80-yard scoring drive — he rushed for 48 yards himself — the team’s first this season.

End of second quarter

Boise State 28, Utah State 0

A few notes at the end of the first half:

  • Boise State out-gained USU 304 yards to 45 in the first half, including 208 to 24 through the air, 96 to 21 on the ground. Bachmeier has thrown for 205 yards and two touchdowns, while Shelley is 4 of 9 for 24 yards.
  • The Broncos are 4 of 7 on third down, compared to a 1 of 7 mark for the Aggies.
  • Boise State is averaging 6.8 yards per play, while USU is at 2.0 on the dot.
  • Holani has picked up right where he left off in 2019, rushing for 56 yards on 11 carries. Jaylen Warren and Devontae Henry-Cole have rushed for a combined 17 yards on eight carries.
  • Boise State has nearly double the time of possession with 19:32 compared to 10:28 for Utah State.

0:25 2nd Quarter

Boise State 28, Utah State 0

Poor tackling costs the Aggies dearly late in the second quarter, as George Holani turned a short pass to the flats into a 17-yard Boise State touchdown.

3:23 2nd Quarter

Boise State 21, Utah State 0

The Broncos may have broken the game open late in the second, with a nine-play, 65 yard drive, capped off by a rare rushing touchdown by Bachmeier. The Broncos have out-gained the Aggies 238-35 thus far.

13:58 2nd Quarter

Boise State 14, Utah State 0

The Broncos wasted little time getting by on the scoreboard early in the second quarter. On the first play of Boise State’s fourth offensive possession, Bachmeier found Khalil Shakir for a 52-yard touchdown.

End of first quarter

Boise State 7, Utah State 0

A few notes from the opening quarter:

  • Boise State has 116 yards of total offense, compared to just 12 for Utah State. The Broncos have dominated the time of possession battle, 9:43 to 5:17.
  • It was a clean quarter for both teams. Boise State had just one penalty for 9 yards, while Utah State wasn’t flagged once.
  • The quarterback battle between Hank Bachmeier and Jason Shelley is squarely in favor of Bachmeier at this point. The Broncos quarterback completed 7 of 9 passes for 76 yards, compared to Shelley, who competed 2 of 4 passes for 9 yards.
  • Cash Gilliam had six tackles and 0.5 sacks in his first collegiate start at linebacker.

7:28 1st Quarter

Boise State 7, Utah State 0

After going 3-and-out on their first offensive possession, the Broncos adjusted quickly and reeled off a 9-play 79-yard touchdown drive, capped off by a 1-yard scoring run by running back George Holani


Here are a few links to stories you may want to read prior to or during the game:

Jason Shelley’s Aggie debut just minutes away:

A view of the famous blue turf:

Boise State doesn’t have a single player out due to COIVD-19:

Utah State athletic director John Hartwell thanked everyone involved with Aggie football for making today’s season opener possible:

The Aggies are on the field at Albertsons Stadium:

As are the Broncos: