When the game was on the line, Air Force simply refused to flinch. In the process, the Falcons picked up another signature victory that is sure to impress any bowl committee.
Air Force had a huge goal-line stand in the final minutes to upset No. 19 Boise State 27-20 on Friday.
The loss ended any chance for the Broncos (10-2) to earn a spot in the Mountain West Championship Game. Because of this result, Wyoming will now play San Diego State for the conference title on Dec. 3.
"It's a game I thought we prepared well for and our guys were looking forward to coming in here and playing our best football," Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. "We didn't do that tonight, so a lot of disappointment in the locker room."
Air Force (9-3) forced a fumble by Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien on a 4th and 1 from the 1-yard line with 4:29 left in the game. The Falcons were then able to run out the clock following a key first-down run by D.J. Johnson, who finished with 73 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown
"Thank goodness they didn't run wide," Air Force safety Brodie Hicks said about stacking the line on the goal-line stand. "We put all our marbles inside,"
Rypien completed 9 of 26 passes for 316 yards and a touchdown.
Air Force opened a 24-10 lead on an 8-yard TD run by Shayne Davern with 8:56 remaining in the third quarter. A holding penalty on tight end Jake Roh on the next possession nullified a touchdown run by Jeremy McNichols, forcing Boise State to settle for a field goal.
The Broncos later pulled within 27-20 on a 75-yard touchdown pass from Rypien to Cedrick Wilson, who also went over 1,000 yards receiving on the season with that catch. Rypien threw another strike to Wilson for 40 yards on their next possession.
However, the Broncos could not capitalize and the Falcons held on for the victory, its third in a row against Boise State.
McNichols got Boise State off to a fast start, running for 56 yards to the 4-yard line on the first possession. He scored on the next play and the Broncos led 7-0 just 37 seconds into the game.
Air Force responded on the ensuing drive and tied the game on a 1-yard run by Johnson.
Special teams then played a key role for the Falcons when Brett Baldwin blocked a punt that was picked up Tyler Weaver, who ran 11 yards for the score and a 17-7 lead with 5:11 left in the half.
Tyler Rausa hit a 29-yard field goal and Boise State trailed 17-10 at the half. Air Force had 14 first downs over the opening two quarters.
Air Force quarterback Arion Worthman finished with 80 yards on 26 carries.
NOTES: For the first time in school history, Boise State has two 1,000-yard receivers in Cedrick Wilson (1,002) and Thomas Sperbeck (1,146). ... Air Force had 314 rushing yards on the ground and controlled the clock for 41:27, compared to just 18:33 for Boise State. ... Both teams will still have to wait for their bowl opponents. However, the loss likely knocked Boise State out of the top 25. ... Air Force wide receiver Jalen Robinette now has the second-most receptions (118) in school history behind Ernie Jennings (148).