BOISE — Once again, Boise State's defense made the second half adjustments it needed to win the game.
After giving up 172 yards in the first half of Boise State's 14-7 win against Marshall on Friday night, the Broncos' defense shut down the Thundering Herd in the second half, allowing no yards, no first downs and no points in the game's final 30 minutes.
Boise State has not allowed a point in the second half this season.
“I would like if we'd have shutouts in both halves,” said safety Kekoa Nawahine, who had a forced fumble and an interception. “So there's work to improve on there. It feels good to get a win and have that momentum carry into next week.”
Marshall's offense had no trouble moving the ball in the first half, particularly on the ground. Led by 63 yards by Brenden Knox, the Thundering Herd had 119 yards on the ground in the first half, with their lone score coming on a 13-yard run by Knox late in the first quarter.
After quarterback Hank Bachmeier led the Broncos down the field to take the lead on the first drive of the second half, Boise State's defense set the tone on Marshall's first offensive possession.
“I think our team communicates very well, and I mean everybody,” said Boise State coach Bryan Harsin. “So if there's something going on 'hey, here's what we need to do,' they make adjustments and we go out there and execute it.”
Tyreque Jones had a tackle for a loss on the first play of the drive, before Riley Whimpey sacked Marshall quarterback Isaiah Green on the next play. That set up a three-and-out for the Bronco defense, the first of four straight three-and-outs to start the second half.
Marshall had minus six yards in the third quarter.
In fact, the only possession that Marshall didn't technically have a three-and-out came when Kekoa Nawahine intercepted a deep pass by Green in the fourth quarter on the second play of the drive.
“It was kind of like slow motion, I felt like I had ten different thoughts running through my mind during that whole play,” said Nawahine. “I'm just glad I was able to put myself in an opportunity to go make that play and then go get it.”
It was the final time Marshall touched the ball, as Boise State ran out the final seven and a half minutes with 15 plays. The Thundering Herd had just 14 plays in the second half and had possession for six minutes and 52 seconds.
“The were just ready to go out and play,” Harsin said. “Each series, they did that, they forced punts, they got turnovers. And that was the key to the game.”
Nawahine also was a part of the Broncos' other turnover, forcing a fumble on a rushing attempt that was recovered by Jones.
It was a similar second half effort for the Broncos defense in last week's 36-31 comeback win at Florida State. After allowing 259 yards in the first half, Boise State gave up 68 yards, four first downs and no points.
“We just keep feeding off the energy, no matter what,” defensive back Kekaula Kaniho said. “A good play for us, a bad play for us, it doesn't change. We always know we got each others backs and it's just the next play up.”
Boise State's defense had six tackles for a loss, including three sacks. Ezekiel Noa led the Broncos with seven tackles, while Curtis Weaver had six tackles, including a sack in the third quarter.