COLLEGE FOOTBALL RECAP

Boise St. routs Air Force for seventh straight W

Sports Xchange

November 18, 2017 at 11:48 pm.

Nov 18, 2017; Boise, ID, USA; Boise State Broncos running back Alexander Mattison (22) runs for a gain during first half action against the Air Force Falcons at Albertsons Stadium. Photo Credit: Brian Losness-USA

Nov 18, 2017; Boise, ID, USA; Boise State Broncos running back Alexander Mattison (22) runs for a gain during first half action against the Air Force Falcons at Albertsons Stadium. Photo Credit: Brian Losness-USA

BOISE, Idaho — Boise State ended three years of frustration against Air Force and celebrated its Mountain West Mountain Division title Saturday night at Albertsons Stadium with a lopsided victory over the Falcons.

Boise State won 44-19 — its first victory against Air Force since 2013 and its seventh straight victory this season.

The No. 25 Broncos (9-2, 7-0 MWC) clinched the Mountain Division title earlier in the day when Fresno State beat Wyoming.

Boise State plays Saturday at Fresno State in the regular-season finale and the teams will meet again Dec. 2 for the title.

The Falcons (4-7, 3-4) absorbed their third straight loss. They had beaten the Broncos in each of the past three seasons.

Boise State led 27-10 at halftime and removed any doubt about the outcome with 10 more points in the third quarter, keyed by freshman wide receiver Octavius Evans’ 7-yard touchdown catch on the opening drive of the half.

Quarterback Brett Rypien was 16 of 22 for 300 yards and three touchdowns while wide receiver A.J. Richardson caught three passes for 123 yards and a score.

Boise State, which found out well before warmups that it had clinched the Mountain Division and saluted its seniors about 20 minutes before kickoff, started fast.

Nose tackle Sonatone Lui recovered a fumbled snap on the second play from scrimmage. The mistake was made by Air Force senior quarterback Nate Romine, a surprise starter who now has started games in five different seasons.

The Broncos settled for a field goal but found the end zone moments later after a punt. Rypien hit Richardson in stride streaking down the right sideline for an 87-yard touchdown.

The reception tied for the fourth-longest in school history and was the longest by a Bronco since Lawrence Bady’s 98-yarder in 2003.

Boise State defensive end Gabe Perez recovered a bad pitch by Romine shortly after the touchdown.

The Broncos settled for a field goal initially, but an offside penalty gave them a second chance. Rypien fired a slant to wide receiver Sean Modster for a 17-0 lead, still in the first quarter.

Air Force got some offense going — thanks to its passing attack — on the ensuing drive. Romine completed three passes for 66 yards to set up his 1-yard TD plunge.

Boise State added a field goal early in the second quarter for a 20-7 lead, then capitalized on another Romine mistake.

Defensive end Jabril Frazier sacked Romine and the ball came out as the quarterback was on top of the defender. Cornerback Tyler Horton scooped the loose ball and ran 21 yards for a 27-7 lead.

Air Force’s Luke Strebel booted a 45-yard field goal on the final play of the half to make it 27-10 at the break.

NOTES: The attendance of 33,030 left Boise State with its lowest average attendance in a season since 2004. … Boise State WR Octavius Evans became the team’s first true freshman wide receiver with multiple TD catches in a season since Kirby Moore in 2009 (two). … Junior WR A.J. Richardson topped 100 receiving yards for the first time in his career. … Nate Romine became the first Air Force quarterback to start a game in five seasons. … Air Force starting QB Arion Worthman didn’t play. No reason was provided.