BOISE, Idaho (AP)Khalil Shakir rolled up 192 all-purpose yards, George Holani rushed for 114 yards, and Boise State returned two blocked punts for touchdowns as the Broncos defeated New Mexico 37-0 Saturday night.
Boise State (7-4, 5-2) keeps alive its slim hopes of winning the Mountain Division by virtue of Wyoming’s 44-17 upset of Utah State on Saturday. However, the Broncos will still need some more help in the final weekend of the regular season to advance to the Mountain West title game.
A month ago, Boise State was 3-4 and struggling. Since then, the Broncos have beaten two top 25 teams on the road and are surging.
”The guys have purpose, plain and simple,” Boise State coach Andy Avalos said of his team’s turnaround. ”The commitment to how we’re going to show up with a certain purpose every single day and how we’re going to work for the team and how we’re going to do it for the team, that’s the bottom line.
We’ve been able to develop some more players as a result of that, and we’ve been able to develop that dependable depth that we’ve been wanting for a long time.”
New Mexico (3-8, 1-6) finished the game with Bryson Carroll-who was a student team manager just three weeks ago-at quarterback after an injury knocked out starter Isaiah Chavez. The Lobos only mustered 101 yards of total offense in suffering its second shutout of the season.
”Obviously, offensively we’re kind of a joke right now,” New Mexico coach Danny Gonzales said. ”You can’t get a hundred yards of total offense in a game and have any chance to win, you can’t average six points a game and have any chance to win, and you can’t get two punts blocked. That’s terrible. Offensively, we can’t keep going down the path we’re going, so we’re going to have to fix it.”
While the Boise State defense pitched its first shutout of the season, the special teams stole the show on senior night.
On New Mexico’s first punt of the game from its own 18, Kekaula Kaniho smothered punter Aaron Rodriguez’s kick and Tyreque Jones scooped up the ball and returned the ball seven yards for a touchdown.
With Boise State ahead 10-0 early in the second quarter, Alexander Teubner blocked Rodriguez’s punt and Dylan Herberg snatched the ball off the turf and rumbled six yards for the score.
The Broncos’ offense didn’t get into the end zone until the final play of the first half when Shakir raced past the New Mexico secondary and hauled in a 56-yard pass from Hank Bachmeier.
New Mexico: After finishing 65th in the country last season in total offense, the Lobos have taken a major step back in 2021. With its offensive output of 101 yards against Boise State, New Mexico dropped to dead last in total offense in the country with 239.5 yards per game. That represents a drop of 154.2 yards per game after averaging 393.7 yards per tilt a season ago. If coach Danny Gonzalez hopes to get New Mexico competitive again, he needs to make major changes on that side of the ball.
Boise State: After a 3-4 start, Broncos coach Andy Avalos appears to have righted the ship and has his team trending in the right direction. With the return of Holani who had been sidelined with an injury earlier this season, the Boise State ground game has been more effective as of late, complementing a defense that’s become increasingly stingy on the team’s current four-game winning streak.
New Mexico hosts Utah State on Friday in its regular season finale.
Boise State travels to San Diego State on Friday.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25.
Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25