HUNTINGTON — Boise State coach Bryan Harsin didn’t know what to expect when he threw true freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier out for the first start of his career last week against Florida State.
The only thing Harsin knew was how special that Bachmeier had been in his first preseason of college football.
Harsin — and the rest of college football — found out quickly what Bachmeier was made of.
Bachmeier finished 30 for 51 for 407 yards with a touchdown and interception while leading Boise State back from 18 down on the road in a 36-31 win over the Seminoles in Tallahassee, Florida.
That’s a heck of a first start for a kid who was thinking as much about his senior Homecoming as college football at this point last season.
“It was good to see that happen because you never know, right?” Harsin said. “We’d seen him in practice, but you never really know somebody until you watch them play in a game. We got a chance to do that, but that’s one and now we’ll see when he puts another one back to back, what’s this next one going to look like.”
Harsin said that the journey for Bachmeier gets more difficult after last week because there is film on Bachmeier — and plenty of it — after Boise State ran 108 official plays and took 115 offensive snaps against Florida State.
Now, opponents — this week it’s Marshall — have a file on Bachmeier that outlines tendencies and where he likes to go on certain plays, which Marshall coordinator Brad Lambert and the defensive staff spent time breaking down in the short week.
Lambert said that any 400-yard performance is impressive, but it was more about the way that Bachmeier got it done that showed the most about the Boise State youngster.
“I thought his composure was extremely good,” Lambert said. “It reminded me of last year [at Charlotte], we had to play Appalachian State after they played Penn State and the quarterback played extremely well. [Bachmeier] just handled the whole environment well for a true freshman and it reminded me of that, watching him work. I don’t think he’ll be rattled. He’ll be at home next week, so we have a real tough chore ahead of us.”
Early in the first half, Bachmeier took several big hits from the Florida State defense, which seemed to have momentum after taking a 31-13 lead.
However, Bachmeier endured the early punishment before punishing the Seminoles in the second half as the Broncos rattled off 23 consecutive points to earn the win.
Harsin said Bachmeier’s resolve after getting hit was what stood out to him the most about the performance.
“No offensive coach ever wants their quarterback to get hit, but they do. That’s the reality of the game,” Harsin said. “He handled himself well, not only just the hits, but the adversity with turnovers and poor decisions, at times, which guys make. Being able to come back and [move] on to the next play, he seemed to do that really well. That was the thing that stood out to me. He’d get on to that next play and go out there and he executed quite a few of those [plays] as well.”
Marshall’s defense knows that it has a tough task ahead of it, but senior defensive lineman Channing Hames said the key is to consistently apply the pressure to Bachmeier for two halves.
“He really showed a lot of heart out there in that first game against Florida State,” Hames said. “We’re a different team from them and it’s about us going to do our job and executing to get him off his game.”
To do so, the Thundering Herd will have to get consistent pressure against an offensive front that, like their own, is one of college football’s most experienced.
“Their entire offensive line is back and that left tackle [Ezra Cleveland] is a first-round pick,” Marshall head coach Doc Holliday said. “They have really good players.”
With Bachmeier’s first film being a smashing hit, Marshall’s hope is that it can turn the second into the same as most movie sequels — a bust.
Doing so won’t be easy, though, after Bachmeier proved he is one tough Bronco.