Ajayi’s big night helps Boise State reach MWC title game

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.

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.

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
498-268 yards.