LAS VEGAS (AP) — Boise State was looking for a fast start against UNLV, especially coming off a bye week.
And, while second-half defense had been the key to the No. 16 Broncos’ previous four wins, their first-half defensive work was near perfect Saturday.
Murrieta Valley High School alumn Hank Bachmeier threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns and Boise State rode a strong defensive effort to a 38-13 win over UNLV.
“The whole mindset coming off the bye was how are we going to start fast,” said Boise State coach Bryan Harsin, whose team led 17-0 at halftime. “What’s our mindset Friday, Saturday night, our guys came ready to play. It was a really solid defensive performance.”
Khalil Shaker caught seven passes for 111 yards and a TD, John Hightower had four catches for 105 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown reception that make it 14-0 with 13:38 left until halftime.
“They just called the play and I went on the go route,” Hightower said. “As I play my part, as they come up, as they call my play. I just do what I can.”
Shaker’s touchdown came on a pass from backup Chase Cord, a 24-yard hookup with 5:31 left in the game.
Boise State (5-0, 2-0 Mountain West) is having a good week in its quest for a Group of Five bowl berth. On Friday night, the Broncos’ closest competitor for that spot, No. 18 UCF (4-2), lost at Cincinnati 27-24.
Bachmeier opened the scoring with 11:33 left in the first quarter, finding Garrett Collingham on the right side for a 2-yard scamper through a tackler.
Boise State added in a 52-yard field goal from Joel Velazquez to make it 17-0 on the final play of the first half. A Bachmeier-to-Shakir pass that covered 26 yards set up the field goal.
The Broncos increased their lead to 24-0 with 6:40 left in the third as Akilian Butler, on a reverse, scored on a 23-yard run around the right side.
UNLV’s Kenyon Oblad, a redshirt freshman quarterback, made his first career start in place of Armani Rogers, who sprained a knee in last week’s 53-17 loss at Wyoming.
Oblad was 24 for 55 for 262 yards passing and two touchdowns for the Rebels (1-4, 0-2). He had one interception.
“There’s going to be a game where you will see both of them,” UNLV coach Tony Sanchez said. “As the game went on, we did some good things. We didn’t get pushed around tonight.”