Recap: Boise State vs. Utah State
Boise, ID (SportsNetwork.com) - Jay Ajayi tied a school record with five rushing touchdowns as No. 25 Boise State punched its ticket to the Mountain West Conference championship game with a 50-19 victory over Utah State.
Ajayi finished with 229 yards on 27 carries, and Grant Hedrick threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns on 18-of-24 passing for the Broncos (10-2, 7-1 MWC), who won their final seven games to claim the Mountain Division.
"We knew we had to come out and start fast on the offensive side. We executed well, guys did their jobs," Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin said. "Jay ran the ball very effectively and physical. I thought Grant played very efficient tonight, there were a lot of guys that touched the ball and made plays, did a lot of really great things."
Alec Dhaenens and Thomas Sperbeck each caught a Hedrick touchdown pass in the win.
Kent Myers completed 16-of-28 passes for 159 yards with an interception and ran for a score, and Daniel Gray returned a fumble for a 50-yard touchdown for the Aggies (9-4, 6-2), who ended their season on a sour note after winning their previous five games.
"Obviously number one very, very disappointing loss. (Our performance) was very uncharacteristic of us," Utah State head coach Matt Wells said. "We didn't have the answers and that starts with me. We didn't execute well enough and didn't play physical enough."
The Broncos, who have defeated the Aggies in 12 straight games, will take on Fresno State in the title game on Saturday.
Utah State received the ball to start the game and LaJaun Hunt made an immediate impact as he raced 55 yards down to the Broncos' 20. The run was a wasted effort, however, as Nick Diaz missed a 39-yard field goal.
The Broncos took over at their own 21 and used back-to-back 17-yard catches from Jake Roh and Sperbeck to move deep into Aggies territory. Two plays later, Ajayi ran the ball in from nine yards out for an early lead.
Myers was picked off by Darian Thompson on Utah State's very next play, giving Boise State prime field position at the Aggies' 45. Grant hauled in a 24-yard pass to help set up Dhaenen's 2-yard TD catch for a 14-0 game midway through the opening stanza.
Ronald Butler made a big catch for 38 yards and Myers made it a 14-7 game with a 9-yard keeper.
Ajayi bounced off a tackle and backtracked to his right, reaching the end zone on a 19-yard run. Dan Goodale, however, blocked the extra point and Jalen Davis raced down the other way to give the Aggies two points for a 20-9 game with 2:05 to play in the first.
Boise State continued its potent offensive attack with two scores early in the second quarter. Ajayi hustled into the end zone on an 8-yard run for his third score of the day on just the third play of the stanza and after the Aggies fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Sperbeck's 24-yard grab made it a 34-9 contest just over three minutes into the second.
Diaz booted a 46-yarder to make it 34-12 game with under five minutes to play in the half.
After a scoreless third quarter, Ajayi found the end zone on the first play of the final stanza with a 62-yard run.
On the Aggies' ensuing drive, Beau Martin sacked Myers and recovered the loose ball to give the Broncos possession at midfield. Ajayi rattled off three straight runs for 35 yards and then capped the 8-play, 50-yard trek by plunging in from a yard out for a 48-12 advantage with 9:21 to play.
Sean Wale's 54-yard punt pinned Utah State at its 1-yard line. The Aggies moved the chains on Sharp's 8-yard catch, but Hunt was tackled for a loss of six yards and Myers was sacked in the end zone for a safety.
Gray returned a fumble 50 yards for Utah State with under four minutes to play to account for the final score.Game Notes
Jon Helmandollar (2004, vs. Louisiana Tech) and Ian Johnson (2006, vs. Oregon
State) also ran for five touchdowns in a single game for the Broncos ... Ajayi
also set the Boise State single-season record for all-purpose yardage with
2,155 ... Ajayi is now second all-time in Boise State history with three 200-
yard rushing games. Cedric Minter (1977-80) is the leader with four ... Boise
State won its 13th straight home game and owns a 91-4 record on the blue turf
since the beginning of the 2000 season ... Utah State's last win in the series
was a 24-20 victory on Nov. 1, 1997 ... The Broncos outgained the Aggies