BOISE, Idaho -- With a pair of true freshmen guiding Boise State's sputtering offense, the Broncos leaned on their defense to deliver a win against Marshall.
The No. 24 Broncos held the Thundering Herd to zero yards of offense in the second half and got just enough offense to grind out a 14-7 victory Friday night.
It wasn't flashy or dominant, perhaps something fans and analysts expected after Boise State won in Tallahassee last week against Florida State.
But Boise State coach Bryan Harsin didn't care.
"Our defense played great, and our offense did just enough to take care of the football at the end of the game so we could run the clock out," Harsin said. "It's hard to be 1-0 every week. Like everybody, you like to dominate on all phases of the game, but it doesn't always work out like that. It's nice to be able to learn with a win."
Boise State (2-0) is learning that its freshman quarterback, Hank Bachmeier, is more than competent to continue the program's burgeoning lineage of star quarterbacks. And, it might just have a freshman star running back, too.
Bachmeier, who threw for over 400 yards in the season opener, was 22-of-34 passing for 282 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also scored on a 1-yard run just before the end of the first half, diving and extending the ball across the goal line as he absorbed a hit.
"Hank has shown his toughness and competitiveness in these two games," Harsin said. "There's been no back down. He wants to go out there and succeed."
In the second half, with starter Robert Mahone out with a stinger in his right shoulder, George Holani rushed for 103 yards on 22 carries. He was the first running back to eclipse the 100-yard mark against Marshall since Southern Miss's Ito Smith had 150 on Nov. 25, 2017.
But it was the Boise State defense that stole the spotlight, holding its opponent scoreless in the second half.
"That's a relentless defense, to go out there and do what they did in the second half," Harsin said. "If we win games with our defense like that, I'm all about it."
Marshall didn't convert a first down in the second half and ran only 16 plays that accounted for just 6:52 of possession.
"Our defense played well, but our offense needs to make more plays," Marshall coach Doc Holliday said. "I'm proud of the way we played, but not proud that we didn't win the game."
Marshall: While the Thundering Herd had their streak of 15 games without a 100-yard rusher snapped, the secondary needs the most immediate attention. Marshall allowed five pass plays of 20 yards or more, igniting Boise State's first two scoring drives.
Boise State: After last week's opener, one area of emphasis for the offensive line was getting better protection for its quarterback. The Broncos still have work to do there as Bachmeier was under duress all night long and was strip-sacked once, resulting in a takeaway for Marshall.
Early in the second quarter, with Boise State's offense struggling, Harsin went after one of the line judges about an earlier missed penalty and bumped him, drawing a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
"Maybe I let the bad wolf out a little bit in that moment," Harsin said after the game. "It hurt our team. I told them that we haven't had a personal foul this season, and when they see what I have to do, they're not going to want to get one. We can't have it happen. I owned it and we'll handle it."
Harsin wouldn't say what his punishment would be, but by the way he talked, it's likely to be tougher than the 20-minute run Nick Saban's wife made him spend on the treadmill for the unsportsmanlike penalty he drew against Duke in Alabama's opener.
Marshall: Hosts Ohio on Sept. 14.
Boise State: Hosts Portland State on Sept. 14.
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