Green, Jeanty lead Boise State to 44-20 win over UNLV for Mountain West title

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — A locker room can go either way when a coaching change is made, and in Boise State's case, players lined up behind Spencer Danielson when he was handed the job on an interim basis with two games left in the regular season.

That buy-in has been on full display since.

Taylen Green threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more, and the Broncos improved to 3-0 under Danielson, beating UNLV 44-20 on Saturday to capture their fifth Mountain West championship.

“It's paramount,” Danielson said of his players' support. “Those young men deserve all the credit because they had a lot of opportunities to say, 'Let's not do this. I'm going to find the easy way out. I'm going to transfer. I'm just not going to give my effort.' They never did it."

The Broncos (8-5) are expected to head to the LA Bowl, which has the first choice from the Mountain West.

UNLV (9-4), which was appearing in its first Mountain West title game, will get an invitation from one of the other league-affiliated bowls. It will be the Rebels’ first bowl trip in a decade.

“Our focus was to win this game,” UNLV linebacker Jackson Woodard said. “That's all we cared about. But now we've got that bowl game. We're excited, but we wanted this one real bad.”

As for Boise State, its players lobbied for Danielson to get the job on a full-time basis, and they made their best statement on the field.

“Our (athletic director) did a great job picking the guy,” said Broncos safety Alexander Teubner, who was named defensive player of the game after making 10 tackles, two for loss, and a fumble recovery. “If we would’ve got to pick him ourselves, we would’ve picked the same man. In our eyes, the search should be over.”

Green was named offensive player of the game after completing 12 of 15 passes for 226 yards with the two TDs and an interception and rushing for 90 yards and two scores. Ashton Jeanty rushed for 153 yards and a TD.

Boise State outgained the Rebels 527-298, racking up 301 yards on the ground.

UNLV's Jayden Maiava, the conference Freshman of the Year, went 15 of 29 for 166 yards with two interceptions and a lost fumble.

Propelled by big plays, the Broncos took a 31-14 lead midway through the second quarter. Green passed for a 57-yard touchdown and ran for a 70-yard score in the second period, and 32- and 43-yard completions set up a pair of first-quarter TDs.

UNLV got as close as 31-20 early in the third quarter but never seriously threatened after that.

Boise State continued its run as the conference standard bearer, and the Broncos clinched their 26th consecutive winning season, the nation's longest active streak.

The players will soon learn if what they accomplished will also get Danielson's interim tag removed.

“When he took over, he was our head coach," Green said. “We said something like a ‘Last Dance,’ we've got two games plus one if things go our way.”

And now, actually, a game on top of that.

This postseason experience is new for UNLV, playing under Barry Odom, who was named conference coach of the year after leading the Rebels to their best season since 1984.

“I hate that we didn't win the championship today,” Odom said. “It will drive and motivate me for my career. Credit Boise. They've got a heck of a team.”

RECORD CROWD

The announced crowd was 31,473, the largest for a Mountain West title game. The previous high was 31,316 in 2013 when Fresno State hosted Utah State in the conference's first championship game.

“It was a great environment,” Odom said. “You walk in and you felt it. We felt it when we pulled into the stadium. That's what this place is going to be.”

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll