September 8, 2018, five years ago today: Of all the great offensive days in Boise State football history, this is tops. The Broncos destroyed Connecticut 62-7 in their home opener, rolling up a school-record 818 yards of total offense, shattering the old mark by 76 yards.It was the first time in the 21st century an FBS team had gained over 800 yards and held its opponent to under 200 yards (UConn had 193). The 625-yard gap between the two teams was also the largest in the nation since 2000, eclipsing the 2015 Poinsettia Bowl, when Boise State outgained Northern Illinois by 621 yards.
Boise State’s balance was remarkable, with 418 yards passing and 400 rushing. There were four touchdowns on the ground and four through the air. Usually when there’s a tilt-the-scales offensive number like that, you have a 200-yard rusher or 200-yard receiver. Something freakazoid. But Alexander Mattison rushed for 115 yards, and eight other players shared the remaining 285 yards. John Hightower had 119 receiving yards and A.J. Richardson 100 and—speaking of balance—there were eight other guys sharing the load there as well.
The progression of Boise State’s total offense record includes some landmark games. The Broncos netted 664 yards against Eastern Washington in a Big Sky game in 1995, and that mark stood for seven years. It was broken in 2002 versus Fresno State in Boise State’s first regular season home appearance on ESPN, a 67-21 rout during Bronco Stadium’s first Orange-Out that saw the Broncos put up 688 yards. Then came a 732-yard day at Louisiana Tech the following year as Ryan Dinwiddie set the school single-game passing yards record that still stands (532).
Boise State set two new total offense records during the Kellen Moore era. The first was a 737-yard output against Hawaii on the blue turf during the “Coach Stephen Kinsey Game” in 2010. (Kinsey was a Texas cancer patient whose Make-A-Wish dream was to be coach for a day with the Broncos, and coach Chris Petersen and the team—and the fans—treated him like gold.) The next year the record fell again during Boise State’s first game in the Mountain West: a road tilt at Colorado State that produced 742 yards. It was that mark that stood until the explosive night against UConn.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)