BOISE — Senior Jaylon Henderson is the Boise State football team’s No. 1 quarterback for the Mountain West championship game, coach Bryan Harsin said Monday at his weekly press conference.
The Broncos moved Henderson to the top of the public depth chart this week in advance of Saturday’s title game against Hawaii (2 p.m., ESPN). Henderson, the former third-stringer, has started the past three games.
True freshman Hank Bachmeier, the original starter who was knocked out by injury twice, and sophomore Chase Cord, who started two games, are listed behind Henderson in that order.
“That says it all right there, without getting into too much detail,” Harsin said of the depth chart. “We made a change. Jaylon’s been playing well. Jaylon has proven himself.”
On Friday at Colorado State, Henderson led the Broncos (11-1, 8-0 MW) to a 31-24 victory. He completed 26-of-36 passes for 253 yards and a pair of touchdowns. For the second week in a row, he also picked up critical yards with his legs. In the past three weeks, Henderson has accounted for nine touchdowns (eight passing, one rushing).
“Jaylon certainly earned the opportunity, where we are right now, to go out there and play, and I fully expect him to prepare this week and get himself ready to go,” Harsin said.
Bachmeier hasn’t played since briefly exiting the Broncos’ 52-42 win at San Jose State on Nov. 2 with what appeared to be a shoulder injury and returning to finish the game. Cord started the following week at home in an overtime win against Wyoming. He also made a visit to the medical tent after taking a hit but returned to finish the game, and he hasn’t played since.
Bachmeier and Cord were on the sideline in uniform the past two weeks and Harsin said they were available, but neither has entered a game. That doesn’t, however, mean they won’t take any snaps against Hawaii.
“We’ve played multiple and it doesn’t mean we can’t play multiple in the game,” Harsin said. “We’ve done that before where it’s not a decision based on performance or somebody being injured. We’ve just done it. And I think all those guys deserve to play, so get ready. If it’s all three playing, it’s all three playing.”
Harsin said all three quarterbacks were in the game plan when Hawaii came to Albertsons Stadium on Oct. 12 for a regular-season game the Broncos won 59-37. Bachmeier made his sixth start of the season, but Cord came in for a play on the Broncos’ first series.
When Bachmeier left the game with a hip injury in the second quarter, Cord took over and finished the game 12-of-18 for 175 yards and three touchdowns. Henderson finished 6-of-10 for 82 yards and threw his first career touchdown pass to running back George Holani.
Harsin said the Broncos have never been shy about playing multiple quarterbacks, and that won’t change in Saturday’s championship game.
“We move receivers around or we change DBs or a linebacker and nobody says a word,” Harsin said. “You change a quarterback and it’s like ‘what’s happening?’ And that’s just not how we operate.”
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The Broncos’ win Friday at Colorado State was historic on many fronts. It marked the first time in program history that Boise State finished a season undefeated in Mountain West play, and the first time since 2011 that it finished the regular season 11-1.
The 31-24 win also moved Boise State into No. 1 all-time in the NCAA in winning percentage. With a .7301, the Broncos passed Ohio State (.7298) and Michigan (.7297) because of the Buckeyes’ win over the Wolverines.
“There’s a lot of guys in this program, people in this program, that have been here a while that had a chance to be a part of a lot of those wins and success, so it means something,” Harsin said Monday.
The Broncos have won at least 10 games in 17 of the past 20 years. The only season they haven’t hit the 10-win mark since Harsin took over as head coach in 2014 was a 9-4 campaign in 2015. That consistency stands out to Harsin.
“Everybody’s always excited about the quick riser. The team that didn’t do anything and now all of a sudden they’re doing something,” he said. “You can do anything one time. Do it over and over. Do it consistently and see how difficult that is because everybody knows that you’ve had success. Everybody’s trying to beat you.”
BRONCOS HOPING FOR ANOTHER SELLOUT
On Saturday, Boise State will host the Mountain West championship for the third year in a row, and the Broncos are hoping for a similar turnout to when they hosted Hawaii in the regular season.
It marked the first time Albertsons Stadium was sold out for a home football game since Washington came to town in 2015, and the 36,902 fans in attendance set a new stadium record.
“The whole point every single year of every team is to play in a championship and to go out there and be a part of that,” Harsin said. “I think as a fan, you’ve worked extremely hard to help this football team at home win the games that we’ve had to to get where we are. Why not finish it?”
Last season’s 19-16, overtime loss to Fresno State in the championship game drew 23,662 fans. The year before, a 17-14 win in the title game over Fresno State attracted 24,515.
Fans heading to the game could be in for some wet weather. Forecasts for Saturday afternoon show a high of 46 degrees and a 60 percent chance of rain. But Harsin challenged the fan base to set a championship game attendance record.
“We’ll go out there and play and be ready, but it’s a lot more fun when Albertsons Stadium is rockin’ like it was when we played against Hawaii,” he said. “It’s very easy to motivate your team when you have a packed house.”
Tickets to Saturday’s game can be purchased at broncosports.com/tickets, at the Athletic Ticket Office, located on the west side of Albertsons Stadium, or by phone at (208) 426-4737. Tickets are $45 in the main stadium, $35 in the curves and south end zone and $25 for general admission in the north end zone.