Hedrick Leads No. 22 Broncos to First-Ever Outright MW Football Title
BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Grant Hedrick ran for two touchdowns to lead No. 22 Boise State to a 28-14 victory over Fresno State to win the Mountain West Conference championship Saturday night.
Boise State (11-2), which claimed a share of the conference title in 2012, won its first outright league championship since joining the Mountain West four years ago. The Broncos preserved their chance to get the lone slot for a team outside the power five conferences in a major New Year's Day bowl game.
Hedrick was 9 of 16 passing for 155 yards, and had 81 yards rushing with the two scores to earn the game's offensive MVP honors.
Tanner Vallejo, who had 13 tackles and an interception return for a touchdown, won the defensive MVP award.
After winning the inaugural Mountain West championship game last year, the Bulldogs (6-7) lost to the Broncos for the second time this season.
Fresno State, led by quarterback Brian Burrell's 332 yards passing, outgained Boise State on offense, rolling up 402 yards to 303 for the Broncos.
The Bulldogs' defense bottled up Boise State star running back Jay Ajayi, limiting him to 70 yards and preventing him from breaking the school record for yards rushing in a season. Fresno State held Boise State to 83 yards of total offense in the second half.
Ajayi, projected to go between the second and third rounds of next year's NFL draft, also saw his school record-tying streak of consecutive 100-yard games snapped at seven.
On Boise State's opening possession, Hedrick needed only four plays to drive the Broncos 77 yards for a touchdown. Hedrick completed a 46-yard pass to Chaz Anderson before he scored on a 20-yard run two plays later.
With 1:56 left in the first quarter, Boise State extended its lead to 14-0 when Vallejo intercepted a pass from Burrell and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown.
Fresno State appeared primed to get on the scoreboard until Boise State defensive tackle Armand Nance wrecked their chances on back-to-back plays. On third down from the Boise State 11, Nance sacked Burrell. On the ensuing 35-yard field-goal try, Burrell knifed through the line and blocked Kody Kroening's kick.
Boise State then marched 72 yards in 11 plays, scoring when Ajayi bulled his way into the end zone on a 9-yard run. Dan Goodale's extra point gave the Broncos a 21-0 lead with 9:03 left in the first quarter.
The Broncos took the opening drive of the second half 86 yards on seven plays, scoring when Hedrick raced into the end zone on a 21-yard scamper.
Fresno State finally cracked Boise State's stingy defense late in the third quarter. It wasn't easy, though.
The Bulldogs needed 19 plays to march 96 yards before Josh Quezada scored on a 2-yard run with 3:18 left in the quarter. Kroening hit the extra point to cut Boise State's lead to 28-7.
Fresno State pulled to 28-14 with 5:41 left in the game when Burrell connected with Greg Watson on a 25-yard scoring strike.
The Bulldogs threatened to make it close late in the game after recovering an onside kick, but Beau Martin intercepted Burrell's pass at the line of scrimmage to seal the victory.