BOISE, Idaho Rest assured, Boise State has found its feature back.
Sophomore Ian Johnson tied a Boise State record scoring five touchdowns while rushing for a career-high 240 yards Thursday night in an impressive 42-14 win over Oregon State in front of 30,711 at Bronco Stadium in front of a national television audience on ESPN.
Johnson’s 240 yards rushing were the third most in school history, behind Cedric Minter’s 261 and Eron Hurley’s 254, and his 10.9 yards per carry were the 10th most in a game for a Boise State rusher. He also caught a pass for 21 yards to give him 261 yards of total offense, the ninth most ever by a Boise State player.
It didn’t look like anybody would have a career night early. Oregon State jumped to a 14-0 lead after taking the opening kickoff and driving 85 yards for a touchdown. The Beavers (1-1) followed that with a 64-yard punt return for a touchdown after Boise State went three and out on offense.
But for the third straight time in the four-game series between the two teams over the last four years, the team that built an early 14-0 lead wouldn’t hold on to win.
Johnson’s heroics helped get Boise State back in the game on the Broncos' first possession after the punt return. The sophomore capped a four-play, 71-yard drive with a 59-yard touchdown run where he outraced a pair of Beaver defensive backs to the end zone to pull the Broncos to within 14-7.
Beaver killer Korey Hall stepped up to help Johnson on the next Oregon State possession. Two years after picking off three Beaver passes to help the Broncos erase an early lead en route to a 43-34 win, Hall intercepted Beaver starter Matt Moore at Oregon State’s 41.
The Broncos took advantage of the turnover marching to the end zone on five plays to tie the score. Johnson capped the drive with a 4-yard scoring run.
Boise State (2-0) didn’t quit there. The Broncos scored on their next two possessions to take a 28-14 lead into the half.
Johnson pushed the lead to 21-14 on a 3-yard run that finished a nine-play, 80-yard drive, and Legedu Naanee scored on a 3-yard pass from Jared Zabransky to finish a six-play, 60-yard drive. The touchdown by Naanee was the only one by the Broncos not by Johnson.
Boise State sealed the win in the second half. After Lou Groza Award winner Alex Serna missed a field goal on the Beavers’ first possession of the second half, Johnson added two more TDs to account for the final score.
Johnson had a 19-yard run after an Oregon State turnover late in the third quarter and then added a 50-yard jaunt early in the fourth quarter.
In all, Boise State rushed for 302 yards on 42 carries, averaging 7.19 yards per carrythe eight best average all time for Boise State in a single game. The Broncos finished with 407 total yards compared to the Beavers’ 263.
Zabransky completed an efficient 8-of-13 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Naanee, Vinny Perretta and Jerard Rabb had two catches, while Julian Hawkins led the team with 42 yards receiving, all coming on his first career reception.
Defensively, Korey Hall finished with a team-best 10 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and an interception. Kyle Gingg and Dennis Ellis finished with career-best seven tackles each, while Gingg and senior Andrew Browning had 2.0 tackles for loss. Browning also had two sacks.