LAFAYETTE – Jeremy McNichols rushed for a pair of first-half touchdowns and added a 48-yard scoring pass in the second quarter as Boise State built a 35-3 lead at halftime and defeated the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, 45-10, in the season-opener for both teams on Saturday at Cajun Field.
Brett Rypien completed 22 of 33 passes for 347 yards and a pair of TD passes as Boise State (1-0) scored touchdowns on four of its first five possessions while gaining 387 of its 584 yards of total offense in the first half.
With 17 players seeing their first action in a Ragin’ Cajuns uniform, Louisiana (0-1) finished with 267 yards of total offense with transfer quarterback Anthony Jennings completing 21 of 33 passes for 186 yards and a TD pass. Elijah McGuire led the Ragin’ Cajuns with 46 yards rushing while catching a team-high six passes. Ja’Marcus Bradley caught three passes in his debut while Keenan Barnes caught an 11-yard scoring pass from Jennings for his first career TD.
“You saw a very good team play against a somewhat inexperienced team at some critical positions, and you have to give them credit,” Louisiana head coach Mark Hudspeth said. “They did a nice job and they’re a good football team. When you play a really good football team, you better bring your A game. We had a lot of guys that saw their first (collegiate) action and it looked like their first action.
“But the best thing about it is I really feel like this team can be a really outstanding football team. We have a lot of players that just need experience … we knew that coming in. We was hoping we could overcome of that experience and we didn’t do that today.”
Boise State scored on its first two possessions as McNichols scored on a 1-yard TD run before Rypien connected with Cedric Wilson on a 42-yard scoring pass. The Broncos increased their lead to 21-0 in the second quarter as McNichols caught a 48-yard TD pass from receiver Thomas Sperbeck before McNichols added a 7-yard scoring run with 12:35 remaining in the second quarter.
Rypien tossed his second TD for Boise State as he connected with Sperbeck on a 35-yard scoring pass for a 35-0 lead with 1:29 remaining in the half before Louisiana closed out the half with Stevie Artigue connecting on a 44-yard field goal.
Jennings, making his first start since 2014, and Jalen Nixon combined to engineer a 15-play, 75-yard drive that was aided by a pass interference penalty by Boise State on fourth-and-8 at the BSU 38. Five plays later, Jennings hit Barnes on a slant pass in the left side of the end zone that cut the lead to 38-10 with 12:53 remaining.
Travis Crawford recorded a career-high 10 tackles to lead Louisiana with Otha Peters adding eight tackles with two stops for loss.
Louisiana will return to action on Saturday (Sept. 10) when it faces McNeese State in a 6 p.m. contest at Cajun Field.