BOISE — How much chaos did the Boise State football team put on the depleted New Mexico offense in Saturday’s 37-0 win?
At one point in the first half the Lobos inserted Bryson Carroll, who just two weeks ago was a student manager before coming out of retirement to help the team with depth.
New Mexico has had its fair share of offensive issues this season, but the Bronco defense took advantage Saturday for perhaps its best defensive showing of the season.
"I felt like it was elite at all three levels, D-Line, backers, back end," said safety Tyreque Jones. "We talked about it as far as being that relentless defense that can actually finish four quarters of the game."
While much of the attention Saturday night may be placed on the special teams, which scored off two blocked punts and got three field goals from Jonah Dalmas, what the Bronco defense did in the game is hard to overlook.
Boise State posted its first shutout since beating Hawaii 55-0 on Oct. 3, 2015 on The Blue. New Mexico finished with 101 total yards, the fewest Boise State had allowed since allowing 33 yards against Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl.
"There’s no doubt that doesn’t happen very often,” Boise State coach Avalos said about holding a team to low yardage. “The coaching staff did an unbelievable job getting those guys ready. That offense has had explosive pass play, they had explosive run plays last week against Fresno State. They’ve been able to do some things, so the coaches were able to get our defenses ready to go and the biggest thing is the consistency."
And then there were the numbers the Broncos pass defense put up, some of the lowest allowed in the FBS era. With New Mexico down multiple quarterbacks, the Lobos attempted just seven passes. That resulted in just 18 passing yards by the Lobos, the fewest amount allowed by the Broncos since allowing just 2 passing yards in a game against Idaho State in 1979.
The two completions allowed by the Broncos were also the fewest allowed since moving up to the FBS level and sit tied for fourth-best all-time in the Bronco record book with six other entries, the most recent being in 1976.
Overall, it was a pretty dominant day for the Boise State defense. In the first half, New Mexico attempted 21 rushing attempts. Boise State stopped the run for no gain or negative yardage on 10 of those.
"I talk about the D-Line a lot, because they have taken so much heat this year," said Jones "To see those guys grow and get to where they’re at, it’s late in the season, typically teams don’t elevate through the season, especially when it’s week 11. I like how those guys have progressed this season."
Boise State only allowed the Lobos to gain more than 20 yards on one drive in the game. Of the 12 drives New Mexico had in the game, four resulted in a three-and-out. The first three-and-out came on the first drive of the game and set up the first blocked punt that put Boise State on the scoreboard.
“How consistent we were with our discipline in terms of seeing our keys and attacking the line of the scrimmage and how fast we played,” Boise State coach Andy Avalos said about what he was most impressed with. “We did that and there were a lot of good tackles out there, as well. That was the biggest thing going into the game. We stressed that all week and the guys did a really, really good job."
New Mexico crossed the Boise State 40-yard line just once in the game and that threat was ended by a JL Skinner interception. It was one of two turnovers Skinner had in the game, as he recovered a fumble with 17 seconds left in the first half, setting up a 56-yard touchdown pass from Hank Bachmeier to Khalil Shakir as time expired in the half.
The shutout extended a late-season stand for the Boise State defense, which has now allowed an average of 14.5 points per game in the six games since suffering a 41-31 loss to Nevada on Oct. 3.
They’ve been balling out the last couple of weeks, the last month or so just doing their thing," said wide receiver Khalil Shakir. "It’s amazing to see them go out there and make the plays and that creates momentum for us to go out and do what we do.