San Diego — Northern Illinois won the coin toss and deferred, giving Boise State the ball first.
The Poinsettia Bowl was just beginning, yet it was essentially over.
Jeremy McNichols scored three touchdowns, the first one 58 seconds into the game, and finished with 189 total yards as Boise State embarrassed Northern Illinois, 55-7, Wednesday.
The Broncos (9-4) took the opening kickoff and moved 75 yards in three plays for the fastest TD in the school’s bowl history. After completions of 7 and 39 yards by Brett Rypien, McNichols ran 29 yards for a touchdown just 58 seconds in.
“It was huge. We always start fast,” McNichols said. “Even in practice, we come out fast and run a paced offense. That first touchdown, we practiced it all week and we hit it exactly like we were supposed to.”
McNichols and the Broncos kept piling on as the running back from Long Beach scored on each of the next two possessions, on a 4-yard pass from Rypien and on a 1-yard run.
“It’s fun for all of us,” McNichols said. “When we score points, we get to throw deep, we run different formations, different shifts. It’s hard for defenses to prepare for our offense. It’s a great job by the coaches.”
McNichols ran 19 times for 93 yards and caught five passes for 96 yards. The sophomore came in tied with Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry of Alabama for the national lead with 23 TDs.
Rypien, a freshman, was 29-of-40 for 377 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception.
“He did an amazing job,” McNichols said. “He took control of the offense for us. He prepared in the film room and gave us everything he had. He did great.”
The Broncos outgained the Huskies (8-6), 654 yards to 33.
The Huskies added to their misery by losing three fumbles in the first half. Tyler Gray recovered two of them.
“Sometimes the ball just rolls your way, and that helped me today to be in the right place a couple of times,” Gray said. “I think tonight you saw how well we really can play. We played great all season, but tonight showed how good we can be.”
The Huskies were left disappointed in falling to 0-3 in the Poinsettia Bowl.
“Give credit to Boise State,” coach Rod Carey said. “That’s a good football team and today they made all the plays. They were certainly the more physical team. When you can control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, it makes for a good day for them. It wasn’t a good performance for us.”
Said center Andrew Ness: “They were a great team and defensively they were rock-solid. But we played our worst game when we wanted to play our best.”
The Huskies avoided a shutout when Aregeros Turner returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown to make it 24-7 midway through the second quarter.
The announced crowd of 21,501 was swallowed up by 70,000-seat Qualcomm Stadium.
The Broncos led 31-7 at halftime after Tyler Rausa’s 20-yard field goal and Rypien’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Chaz Anderson.
Rypien added an 18-yard scoring pass to Alec Dhaenens in the third quarter.
The reserves took over in the fourth quarter. Backup running back Kelsey Young scored on a 24-yard run and backup quarterback Thomas Stuart scored on a 1-yard keeper.
Boise State improved to 1-1 in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Georgia Southern 58, Bowling Green 27: At Mobile, Alabama, Favian Upshaw ran for 199 yards and four touchdowns. Georgia Southern (9-4) won the first bowl game in school history in the first year it was eligible to go to the postseason. The program transitioned to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2014.
The Eagles won thanks to their trademark running game. They had 452 yards rushing to top their nation-best season average of 355.6 yards.
Bowling Green (10-4) led 27-23 at halftime, but Georgia Southern scored the final 35 points.
Prosise expected to play
Running back C.J. Prosise practiced without taking hits Wednesday and coach Brian Kelly expects the leading rusher for eighth-ranked Notre Dame to be ready to play against No. 7 Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1.
Kelly said Prosise, who missed the regular-season finale against Stanford after sustaining a high ankle sprain against Boston College, should be ready for contact when the Irish (10-2) resume practices in Arizona on Sunday.
“I think we have to push him through a threshold of feeling confident on cutting and things of that nature,” Kelly said. “I think we just have to get him over that hump.”
Prosise became the first 1,000-yard rusher for Notre Dame since 2011, running for 1,032 yards on 156 carries, an average of 6.6 yards a carry. But because of a concussion sustained against Pittsburgh and the ankle sprain, he rushed for only 79 yards on 14 carries over the final four games, sitting out two because of injuries.
Freshman Josh Adams rushed for 495 yards on 68 carries in those four games and finished the regular season with 757 yards on 103 carries, an average of 7.3 yards. Kelly is eager to see both against Ohio State (11-1).
“Both of them complement each other so well. Josh has proven himself to be such a hard, inside, physical runner and C.J. clearly gives us that home run ability,” Kelly said. “If we can ever get them tagged up together, it will be a very lethal 1-2 punch.”
They should be aided by a healthier offensive line, where players had been slowed by ankle sprains and other injuries, Kelly said.
Missouri has reinstated Maty Mauk, the quarterback who was suspended twice last season. Mauk has one year of eligibility remaining and could contend with freshman Drew Lock for the starting job next season.
... New South Carolina coach Will Muschamp has added several more people to his staff.
The Gamecocks said in a news release that Bryan McClendon, currently the interim coach at Georgia, will be co-offensive coordinator. Pat Washington will coach tight ends and Jamie Speronis will be director of football operations.
... New East Carolina coach Scottie Montgomery will retain secondary coach Rick Smith and has hired four new staffers: former Vanderbilt associate head coach/linebackers Kenwick Thompson as defensive coordinator, former South Carolina defensive line coach Deke Adams to the same position, Miami Dolphins receivers coach Phil McGeoghan to coach the Pirates’ pass-catchers, and Terrell Smith as assistant athletic director for football operations.
San Diego State vs. Cincinnati
Kickoff: 8 p.m. Thursday night, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu
Records: San Diego State 10-3, Cincinnati 7-5
Line: San Diego State by 3
Series: Cincinnati leads 1-0
Key matchup: Cincinnati’s offense vs. San Diego State’s defense. The Bearcats average 559.4 yards, fifth nationally. They average 373.1 yards passing, but are without Gunner Kiel. Redshirt freshman Hayden Moore will be making his third start and facing an Aztecs defense that has allowed 17.2 points, 10th in the country.
Players to watch: San Diego State RB Donnel Pumphrey — The Mountain West offensive player of the year after leading the Aztecs in yards rushing and receptions. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound junior averaged 5.5 yards per carry and 119.5 yards. Cincinnati S Zach Edwards — A 6-1, 200-pound junior, has 87 tackles — second on the team — and a team-high three INTs.