T-shirts that read “Holy Toledo! Another Bronco 1st Down” were the clothing items of choice at Bronco Stadium Saturday night.
A better slogan might have used “touchdown” instead of “first down,” because Boise State didn't end up needing many first downs to dispatch the University of Toledo, but the fourth-ranked Broncos sure did pile up a lot of points.
Boise State amassed 36 points on just 35 plays in the first half and rolled to a 57-14 victory over the Rockets, who also lost sophomore quarterback Austin Dantin early in fourth quarter.
Dantin took a hard hit from Boise State freshman safety Jonathan Brown on a run up the middle, and stayed down on the turf as trainers rushed to his aid. The call was made for a stretcher after several minutes, and Dantin remained motionless as he was wheeled off the field.
There was no update on his condition at press time.
Redshirt freshman backup quarterback Terrance Owens entered in relief of Dantin, and finished what Dantin started by connecting with junior tight end Danny Noble on a 7-yard touchdown pass with 10:55 remaining to make it 57-14.
Boise State scored on its first possession, as junior quarterback Kellen Moore was 2-of-2 for 36 yards on the opening drive that covered 73 yards in only five plays.
Senior running back Jeremy Avery put the Broncos up 6-0 on a 4-yard run around right end from the Wildcat formation, then holder Austin Pettis dashed right through UT's PAT defense with Boise State lined up in the hook-and-ladder formation for a successful 2-point conversion that made it 8-0 at the 12:51 mark.
After the Rockets went three-and-out and Chris Potter returned redshirt freshman Vince Penza's 37-yard punt 15 yards to the UT 42-yard line, the Broncos' efficient offense went right back to work.
Potter hit tight end Kyle Efaw for a 26-yard pass play after receiving a backwards pass from Moore near the right sideline, and two plays later, Moore found Efaw in the back left corner of the end zone for a 2-yard TD pass that extended the Broncos lead to 15-0 at the 7:42 mark.
Dantin wouldn't be deterred, however, as he led his team down the field for its only score of the first half. Dantin was a perfect 4-of-4 passing on the drive and scored on a 4-yard TD run on first and goal. After faking a handoff to junior running back Adonis Thomas, Dantin raced around left end to cut Boise State's lead to 15-7 with 4:41 left in the first quarter.
Dantin was rewarded for his efforts by getting benched by coach Tim Beckman, who decided before the game that he would bring in redshirt freshman Terrance Owens for the Rockets' third possession.
By the time, Dantin re-entered the contest, the Broncos had extended their lead to 22-7 following Owens' fumble during his first series, which led to Avery's 12-yard TD run 31 seconds into the second quarter.
Boise State tallied its third touchdown after UT's third turnover – Thomas' fumble on an 18-yard reception from Dantin at the Broncos' 37-yard line. Three plays later, the left-handed Moore rolled left on a playaction pass and threw deep to Titus Young for a 51-yard score as he fell into the end zone while being defended by UT junior cornerback Taikwon Paige.
Avery later posted his third touchdown rushing TD on a 5-yard jaunt, again from the Wildcat, with 30 seconds left in the half that put Boise State ahead 36-7.
Dantin gave the Rockets a chance to respond, completing back-to-back passes of 14 yards and 21 yards to junior running back Morgan Williams and sophomore wide receiver Eric Page, respectively. But junior kicker Bill Claus' 42-yard field goal attempt dinked off the left upright and landed in the end zone as time expired in the half.
Dantin threw his second interception on UT's first possession of the second half, and it was returned 36 yards the other way by defensive end Shea McClellin to make it 43-7 at the 12:51 mark.
UT followed with a quick three-and-out, and Boise State followed with yet another touchdown, 33-yard pass from Moore to Tyler Shoemaker with 7:21 left in the third quarter.
Owens came back in on the Rockets' next series, but fumbled while getting sacked by J.C. Percey. Tyrone Crawford recovered for the Broncos, and Matt Kaiserman cashed in on the mistake with a 1-yard TD run that made it 57-7 with 2:03 left in the third quarter.