Jay Ajayi scored three touchdowns and amassed 280 yards of total offense Saturday night to lead Boise State past Colorado State 37-24 in the Mountain West Conference opener for both teams.
Boise State coach Bryan Harsin notched his first career head-coaching victory to move to 1-1 and avoid the Broncos' first 0-2 start since 2005.
Colorado State (1-1), which rushed for 266 yards in its season-opening win over in-state rivals Colorado, gained 28 yards rushing on 23 carries. The Rams were forced to rely on Garrett Grayson, who was 31-of-58 passing for 434 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Ajayi ran for 219 yards on 33 carries and caught four passes for 61 yards. He scored on runs of 8 and 14 yards and caught a 21-yard touchdown pass to help Boise State build a 30-10 halftime lead.
NOTABLES FROM THE GAME...
Senior quarterback Garrett Grayson threw for 434 yards, making tonight his seventh game with more than 300 passing yards. This ties Scooter Molander for second-most in a career. Terry Nugent holds the CSU record with eight games of at least 300 passing yards.
Grayson's 434 passing yards ties for the second-most in CSU single-game history with Terry Nugent. Nugent passed for 434 yards on Oct. 29, 1983 vs. New Mexico.
The native of Vancouver, Wash., set a career-high with 58 pass attempts, which also ties for the most in single-game CSU history with Terry Nugent (Nov. 6, 1982 vs. UNLV)
Grayson's three touchdown passes gives him 36 in his career, tied for the seventh-most all-time by a CSU quarterback. Grayson is tied with Justin Holland and Kelly Stouffer.
Sophomore wide receiver Rashard Higgins steps up his play when it comes to facing Boise State. On Saturday, Higgins registered a career-best 11 receptions for 143 yards. The 143 yards are the second-most of his career. The native of Mesquite, Texas, has recorded 21 receptions for 242 yards in two games.
Junior wide receiver Joe Hansley hauled in a career-long 55-yard reception, a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
Hansley finished the game with seven catches for a career-high 149 yards. His previous high was 102 receiving yards against New Mexico on Nov. 24, 2012.
Rams recorded 23 rushing attempts on Saturday night, the fewest in Head Coach Jim McElwain's three seasons at CSU. The previous low was 24 at San Jose State on Sept. 15, 2012.
Colorado State Head Coach Jim McElwain
Our guys competed. That was a good football team we played. We just didn’t answer the bell when we needed to. Our first play was pretty good but we had to settle for a field goal. You have to score touchdowns when you’re down there, especially against a team like this on the road. We didn’t get that done. As I told our guys, I believe in this football team. We have some really good players; we will be back and learn from it. We will be back.
Is this a fair representation against the top teams in this conference?
We’re going to win games. These guys came in here and had a lot of energy. The crowd was great and got behind them. And yet at the same time you can’t shoot yourself in the foot either against a good football team. You can get away with it sometimes in some games but in this case, their good players really showed up. The running back, the receiver, the quarterback--who we knew could run. (Hedrick) ran against us last year if you remember that. And he did again this year. It took us awhile to get into rhythm offensively.
On sense of urgency
It comes back to doing your job. The one thing I didn’t see was any quit. That Air Force game we played (in 2012), I still have nightmares about that one. The misery that I was a part of was quit. These guys don’t. You can see them scrapping to the end. Maybe I should have held off on the onside kick until the next time we scored but we just needed something to happen. But with that being said, I never saw one guy quit and that’s why I like them.
Colorado State LB Max Morgan
What was the difference between last week and this week?
They have a special back and we prepared for him all week. We knew he was good in open field and he was going to be work to get down. But luckily this is football and we have another week next week to work on it.
How much of a setback is this?
It’s hard to say because it’s so early in the season. We’re lucky enough to have a lot of ball left to play. We have to come back refocused and positive. It’s disappointing but you have to give (Boise State) credit for what they’re able to do. I know I have great faith in every guy in this locker room and what they can do. It’s disappointing but not devastating.
Colorado State LB Aaron Davis
On Jay Ajayi
Definitely give credit to him. But we have to wrap up and work on it this week during practice. They are strong runners. It’s on us to get those guys down.
On coming out with aggression
We definitely (need more). Coach always tells us “fast starts” and we work on that every day. Today we didn’t come out fast. We have to work on that. We need to watch this film and get our corrections.
Why is Ajayi so hard to tackle?
He likes to bounce it, even if we would contain guys he likes to bounce it around but it works. He’s a big, strong guy. I give a lot of credit to him. But it’s on us to get him down and tackle him.