Powered by ‘borderline surreal’ moves, Boise State running back among nation’s leaders

Offensive struggles have plagued the Boise State football team through the first two games of the 2023 season.

The Broncos rank near the bottom of the FBS division in points per game (17.5 ppg, 120th) and have fared only a little better in total offense (393 yards, 71st). Starting quarterback Taylen Green has completed less than 50% of his passes, has more interceptions than TDs (3-2) and is averaging under 200 yards per game.

But there’s one part of the offense that’s been on point from the first snap: sophomore running back Ashton Jeanty’s performance.

The 5-foot-8, 206-pounder — who was a high school star in Texas — is averaging 182.5 all-purpose yards per game, which ranks third in the nation behind Miami (Ohio) receiver Gage Larvadain (192.5) and Troy running back Kimani Vidal (192.5). Jeanty is averaging the second-most yards from scrimmage in the country (182.5).

“That guy’s definitely a unit,” Boise State center Garrett Curran said. “He does a lot of things that are borderline surreal. It’s great knowing we have an explosive back, because if I’m doing my job and the rest of the line’s doing their job, he’ll make something happen.”

Fellow running back George Holani was sidelined with an injury against UCF last week, so Jeanty touched the ball on 29 of 66 plays. Offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan said Jeanty was on the field for more than 60 of those plays, but he would prefer to keep that number closer to 50.

“We’re going to need to lean on him for sure,” Hamdan said. “But we can’t, if you will, do too much to where he feels like it’s too much.”

Jeanty carried the ball 24 times for 123 yards against UCF and added five catches for 97 yards. He’s scored three of Boise State’s four touchdowns this season.

“He’s a very well-balanced player,” Hamdan said. “I think he catches it extremely well, and at times with him out of the backfield, it’s like playing with an extra guy.”

Part of keeping Jeanty available and healthy comes down to a dedicated training room regimen. Boise State running backs coach James Montgomery compared what Jeanty goes through on the field to a “car wreck.”

Because of that, Jeanty is a regular in the cold tub and gets postgame massages, but he admitted he was pretty beat up after the UCF loss.

“It didn’t feel the best. My body was pretty sore,” Jeanty said. “But being the type of player that I am and the coaches having trust in me to play that many snaps speaks volumes.”

Boise State running back Ashton Jeanty leaps over UCF defensive back Fred Davis on a run in the second half Sept. 9 at Albertsons Stadium.
Boise State running back Ashton Jeanty leaps over UCF defensive back Fred Davis on a run in the second half Sept. 9 at Albertsons Stadium.


When: 10 a.m. Saturday

Where: Albertsons Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf), Boise

TV: FS1 (Eric Collins, Devin Gardner)

Radio: KBOI 670 AM/93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)

Records: Boise State 0-2; North Dakota 2-0

Series: First meeting

Weather: High of 91 degrees (but 70 at 10 a.m.), 0% chance of rain, 9 mph wind

Taking a shuttle to the game?

Valley Regional Transit will provide a free shuttle service for fans beginning two hours before the game and running for one hour after, with buses arriving every 10 minutes.

The shuttle stops at eight locations in downtown Boise on its way to the stadium:

Idaho & 6th

River & Pioneer

Front & 9th

11th & Main

Main & 8th

Main & Capitol

6th & Broad

Cesar Chavez & Broadway

Parking in Boise’s parks

Parking for Boise State home games is free on a first-come, first-served basis in Julia Davis Park, Ann Morrison Park, Idaho Fallen Firefighters Memorial Park and Kristin Armstrong Municipal Park. Free parking is available at each park listed until 9 a.m. the following morning.

As a reminder, police officers will be looking for parked vehicles that pose a safety hazard, such as those parked blocking sidewalks, crosswalks and fire hydrants, or parked too close to intersections or stop signs, the city said in a news release this week.

Be aware of the ‘10 to 10 Zone’ for alcohol

The 10 to 10 Zone remains in place for home games this season. It specifies areas off-campus where people age 21 or older may consume alcoholic beverages from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Boise State home football game days.

Alcoholic beverages are allowed in opaque plastic cups within the zone. Glass containers, beer cans, and liquor bottles and cups with alcoholic labeling are not allowed.

The “Zone” begins at Broadway Avenue and Myrtle Street, extends south down Broadway to Beacon, turns west along Beacon, north up Oakland Avenue, west on Potter Drive, north again up South Joyce Street, and then west along University Drive to Capitol Boulevard. The boundary extends north along Capitol and turns east onto Cesar Chavez Lane, crosses Friendship Bridge north, and leads into Julia Davis Park.

In the park, the “Zone” boundary is the area east of Zoo Boise to Broadway Avenue, and south of the Julia Davis pond.

The 10 to 10 Zone
The 10 to 10 Zone