A gritty San Jose State University team scored six times for the first time in a game at Albertson Stadium, but that wasn't enough in a 45-31 loss to #24-ranked Boise State in a Mountain West football game.
Kenny Potter passed for two 278 yards and two touchdowns and Malik Roberson's 60-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter combined with kicker Bryce Crawford's three first-half field goals accounted for the Spartans' scoring on the blue turf.
The 31 points are the most scored on the Broncos (8-1, 4-1 Mountain West) in a game this season.
San Jose State (3-7, 2-4 Mountain West) nearly matched Boise State yard for yard. The Spartans' 495 yards were the most since the Portland State win on September 10. The Broncos rolled up 517 yards relying a steady ground game led by Jeremy McNichols in the first half and three Brett Rypien touchdown passes in the second half.
McNichols ran for 158 yards on 28 carries and scored on runs of 19 and 7 yards. Back-up Alex Mattison was equally effective with 18 carries for 100 yards and a 19-yard touchdown.
McNichols' first score came less than four minutes into the game. The Broncos took advantage of an errant Potter pass for the game's only turnover. The pass interception was one of two plays that figured prominently in Boise State taking a 24-16 halftime lead.
The second was punter Sean Wale taking a snap from center on 4th-and-12 from the Boise State 37-yard line and running 29 yards for a first down. Three plays later it was Mattison with his 19-yard touchdown run giving the Broncos a 14-6 lead.
Crawford's field goals were from 21, 39 and 39 yards a second time. The 21-yard field goal was a result of the Spartans not cashing in completely from a 1st-and-goal from the Boise State 6-yard line.
The last 39-yarder was his third kick in a sequence in which the sophomore originally was faced with a 44 yard attempt. Boise State used a pair of timeouts just before James Workman's snaps and Crawford's plans to convert from 44 yards away for the second week in a row. Twice Crawford split the uprights, but the tries were waved off in favor of the Boise State timeout. On the third try, the Spartans thought they were going to get called for a penalty and sent out Michael Carrizosa for what could have been a 49-yard try. Instead, the Broncos, ironically, were called for delay of game. Crawford returned to the field and closed out the first half scoring with his second 39-yard field goal with 0:05 before halftime and San Jose State trailing 24-16.
The Spartans' one first-half touchdown was Potter finding Rahshead Johnson for a 12-yard score to pull San Jose State within a point, 14-13, at the 10:00 mark of the second quarter.
Rypien and wide receiver Cedric Wilson gave the Broncos a 38-16 cushion after the first play of the fourth quarter on touchdown pass plays of 15 and 36 yards. Rypien would finish with 16-of-21 for 219 yards and three touchdowns. The pressure San Jose State applied to Rypien in the first half was not as apparent in the final two quarters.
After Wilson's second touchdown, Potter gave the Spartans hope engineering an 11-play, 78-yard drive capped by an 11-yard touchdown grab by Justin Holmes. It was vintage Potter buying time in the pocket, deftly dodging Boise State pass rushers and finding Holmes who had his first 100-yard receiving game as the Spartans closed the deficit to 38-23 with 11:13 remaining. He and Tim Crawley each had six receptions and Holmes finished with a team-high 106 receiving yards.
The teams traded touchdowns to close out the scoring. Rypien found tight end Alec Dhaenens on a 5-yard score and San Jose State's Malik Roberson slithered his way into the secondary and found daylight on the left side for a 60-yard touchdown run with 3:29 left in the game. Roberson finished with 106 yards on 12 carries for his second 100-plus yard rushing game of the season.
San Jose State returns to action, Saturday, November 19 hosting Air Force on Senior Night. Game time in CEFCU Stadium is 7:30 p.m.