History was made on several different levels Friday night and the Virginia Cavaliers shocked the Boise State Broncos with a 42-23 win in front of 33,947 fans at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho.
Coming in as a 14-point underdog, Virginia (3-1) got its first win west of the Mississippi since 1991 and exceeded its 2016 win total by throttling a Boise State (2-2) team that had not suffered a double-digit home defeat since 2001.
The Broncos’ offense began the game with the ball and wasted little time finding the scoreboard when a 7-play, 80-yard drive was capped off when Ryan Wolpin found the end zone from 5 yards out to give Boise State an early 7-0 lead with 12:02 remaining in the first quarter.
After trading punts, Virginia’s offense broke through with a 9-play, 53-yard drive that was capped off when Jordan Ellis found the end zone from 2 yards out to tie the game at 7 with 3:07 to go in the first quarter.
Both offenses slowed down as the second quarter began until the Cavaliers took their first lead of the game when Kurt Benkert connected with Andre Levrone for a 30-yard touchdown strike to give Virginia a 14-7 lead with 4:11 remaining in the second quarter.
The Broncos’ offense was forced to punt again on its next possession, but after a fake punt attempt that resulted in a fumble and a loss of yardage, the Cavaliers’ offense was set up at the Boise State 35-yard line with 1:38 remaining until halftime.
And just two plays later, Virginia’s offense made the Broncos pay when Benkert connected with Doni Dowling for a 27-yard touchdown to extend the Cavaliers’ lead up to 21-7 with 1:07 to go in the second quarter.
But Boise State had a quick-strike answer that resulted in tight end Jake Roh punching it into the end zone from 2 yards out to cut the Virginia lead down to 21-14 with just 28 seconds remaining until halftime. That score held and the Cavaliers took their 21-14 lead into halftime.
Virginia’s offense wasted no time adding to its lead to begin the third quarter when a quick 3-play, 75-yard drive was capped off when Benkert hooked up with Levrone for a spectacular 64-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 28-14 with 13:31 remaining in the third quarter.
After a few punts, the Cavaliers got the ball back offensively and struck lightning in a bottle when Olamide Zaccheaus raced to the end zone from 56 yards out to extend the Virginia lead up to 35-14 with 6:51 remaining in the third quarter.
Virginia’s defense continued to shut down the Broncos’ offense and gave its offense the ball back at the end of the third quarter. And the Cavaliers essentially put the game away early in the fourth quarter when Jordan Ellis found the end zone from 1 yard out to extend Virginia’s lead to 42-14 with 14:14 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Cavaliers’ defense was not to be outshined by the offense and on Boise State’s ensuing offensive possession, Brenton Nelson intercepted a Brett Rypien pass to give Virginia’s offense the ball at its own 41-yard line.
That score held late in the fourth quarter until a final Broncos safety followed by a touchdown set the final score at 42-23 in favor of the Cavaliers.
Benkert had an outstanding night for Virginia, finishing 19 for 29 for 273 yards and three touchdowns while Ellis led the ground attack with 24 carries for 93 yards and one touchdown.
Levrone led all Cavaliers receivers with five receptions for 141 yards and two touchdowns while Quin Blanding led all Virginia tacklers with 10 total tackles, eight solo tackles, and one tackle-for-loss.
Rypien finished 24 for 42 for 285 yards and one interception for Boise State while Robert Mahone led a dismal rushing attack with 21 yards on three carries. The Broncos ran for only 30 net yards on 24 carries as a team.
Cedrick Wilson had a big game and led all Boise State receivers with 13 receptions for 209 yards and one touchdown while Leighton Vander Esch led the Broncos defensively with 10 total tackles, six solo tackles, and 0.5 tackles-for-loss.
After avenging a 56-14 home loss to Boise State in 2015, Virginia’s attention now shifts to ACC play at home against Duke on Oct. 7. The Broncos return to action Oct. 6 on the road at BYU.