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No. 24 Boise State wins 17th straight conference opener

No. 24 Boise State wins 17th straight conference opener
Published On: Sun, Oct 02
Oct 31, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boise Broncos wide receiver Chaz Anderson (6) celebrates with running back Jeremy McNichols (13) after scoring a touchdown against UNLV during a game at Sam Boyd Stadium. The Broncos won the game 55-27. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Boise State is back in the Top 25 and the Broncos plan on staying there for a while. And in the process of cementing their spot in the Top 25, the Broncos got to enjoy a little revenge on Saturday night.

Cedrick Wilson caught one score and threw for one and workhorse Jeremy McNichols proved to be just that -- a workhorse -- in No. 24 Boise State's 21-10 win over Utah State at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho.

Boise State (4-0, 1-2 Mountain West) has now won 17 consecutive conference openers and is 98-6 at home since 2000. Utah State fell to 2-3 and 0-2 in Mountain West play.

The Broncos, who re-entered the Top 25 after beating Oregon State last week, have yet to trail at any point this season. With the win, Boise State also avenged a 26-point loss to the Aggies last season.

"There were some demons we needed to exorcise, especially on the offensive side of the ball, and we did that," Boise State coach Brian Harsin said.

Utah State sorely missed leading rusher Devante Mays, who remained out with a right knee injury. The Aggies could not sustain a drive and almost were shut out for the first time since 2012.

Penalties -- Utah State committed 12 for 90 yards -- also kept the Aggies from developing any continuity.

"It was a little bit uncharacteristic of us" coach Matt Wells said of the mistakes the Aggies made. "We made some communication mistakes on defense. We have a couple on offense. That hasn't been like us."

Boise State did just enough to remain perfect on the season. "Consistency" would be the key, Harsin said at halftime.

The underrated Boise State defense also came up big and was consistent throughout the second half, earning Harsin's praise.

"I was very proud how the team played tonight. When your defense plays well, that's always exciting. I certainly get fired up when we play well on defense like we did tonight," he said while singling out the play of linebacker Blake Whitlock.

Wilson opened the scoring for the Broncos and put the game out of reach with a 36-yard reception from quarterback Brett Rypien with 12:03 left in the fourth quarter.

Rypien finished 15 of 24 and 163 yards and two touchdowns. Kent Myers went 29 of 50 for 287 yards and one touchdown for the Aggies.

Myers and the Aggies did just enough to hang around and make the Broncos more than a little uncomfortable.

Leading 21-3, Myers led the Aggies on a 75-yard drive in 14 plays to make the score 21-10 midway through the fourth quarter. Andrew Rodriguez hauled in a 30-yard pass for the score.

The drive was aided by a pass interference call on fourth down. On another fourth down play, Myers connected with Wyatt Davis to keep the drive alive.

Utah State might have fared better if the Aggies could have connected more often on third down. Even though they converted all three fourth-down attempts, it was third down that doomed them. They were only 4 of 19.

And whenever the Broncos needed a positive play, they turned to McNichols, who was coming off a superb game against Oregon State when he rushed 28 times for a career-high 208 yards. He also scored a career-high four touchdowns.

Against Utah State, McNichols, who was seen vomiting on the sideline in the third quarter, made the Aggies ill.

He compiled 132 yards on 30 carries and added six receptions and 73 yards in the air and a touchdown. For McNichols, his touchdown catch was his third receiving score of the season and he now has totaled 10 touchdowns.

Missed opportunities haunted the Aggies and Wells' fears came true. As time expired in the second quarter, Brock Warren missed a 32-yard field goal attempt.

"What hurts you is you miss that field goal and you know it's going to come back to haunt you," Wells told reporters. "And sure enough, it came back to haunt us."

NOTES: Utah State LB Anthony Williams was ejected for targeting and will miss the first half of next week's game at Colorado State. ... Boise State's Jonathan Moxey also was ejected and will miss the first half of next week's game against New Mexico. ... Boise State has 179 wins, the most in the FBS since 2000. ... Heading into Saturday's game, Boise State's Jeremy McNichols had nine games with 100 or more rushing yards, all in his past 11 appearances. ... Utah State was without perhaps its best running back, Devante Mays had a career-high 208 yards rushing and three touchdowns in a season opening win over Weber State, but has been hampered by a leg injury the past two weeks. ... The Aggies faced a tall task in winning back-to-back games against the Broncos. Since 2001, only two opponents have done so -- San Diego State and (2012-13) Air Force (2014-15).

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