BOISE — Jaylon Henderson quickly eased the nerves of Boise State fans inside Albertsons Stadium and those watching elsewhere on TV.
Things would be OK.
Making his first career start, the third-string quarterback led the Broncos on a 97-yard touchdown drive on their first possession of the game.
He kept things rolling from there, passing for 292 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Broncos to a 42-9 win over the New Mexico Lobos on Saturday.
"It was a great experience," Henderson said. "Like I talked about last week, I just feel like I'm staring in my role, and whatever that role is, just do the best that I can in that role."
Hank Bachmeier didn’t play last week against Wyoming due to injury. Chase Cord started and played the entire game, but made a quick trip to the medical tent at one point due to an undisclosed injury.
There was no advance public notice that Henderson would start until Boise State made the announcement about 45 minutes prior to kickoff. But Henderson said he knew as early as Sunday that he was likely to get the start.
"I just wanted to do whatever I could to make sure we came out here and we really executed everything that was called," Henderson said. "I'm a senior and this is my first ever start that I've got in college, really. It made me want to play, like (Oklahoma quarterback) Jalen Hurts said, play with a boulder on my shoulder. "
Both Cord and Bachmeier suited up, but neither participated in pregame warmups.
Henderson completed 15 of 28 passes including three touchdowns, but also had an interception and lost a fumble.
He had an 18-yard touchdown pass to Khalil Shakir and a 51-yard pass to John Hightower in the first half, before hitting Andrew Van Buren for an 8-yard score in the third quarter.
Henderson started his career at the University of Texas-San Antonio before transferring to Trinity Valley Community College in 2017. He joined the Broncos prior to the 2018 season but had just 13 pass attempts the last two seasons prior to Saturday.
He became the third different quarterback to start a game for Boise State this season, the most since they also had three start in 1993. He also became the third quarterback in as many weeks to win a game for the Broncos.
"I think that says a lot about that room, and I think it says a lot about the development of that position," Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. "I do feel confident that we can develop players at the quarterback position, as long as they have the mentality to go with it. And the guys that have played for us, they do. Jaylon showed you that tonight."
Henderson’s career may not have included the playing time or touchdown passes he dreamed of as a kid, but Saturday’s Senior Night will be a memory he cherishes for a long time.
"Last time I got consecutive snaps was in junior college," said Henderson. "So to come out here and play in front this awesome fan base we got here, and play on The Blue and on TV and stuff, that was definitely something that I'm never going to forget."
SACK-LEADER WEAVER LEAVES WITH INJURY: Curtis Weaver, a potential first-round NFL Draft pick, had to be helped off the field in the second quarter with an apparent foot or ankle injury and didn’t return.
Weaver collided with teammate Riley Whimpey and fell down awkwardly. He didn’t put much weight on his right foot while being helped directly into the medical tent. He was seen wearing a boot on his right foot on the sidelines in the second half.
Weaver had two tackles, including a tackle-for-loss, before leaving the game.
The redshirt junior entered the game ranked No. 2 in the country with 12.5 sacks. He’s got 33 sacks for his career, which ranks second on Boise State’s all-time list.
HATADA HAS SENIOR NIGHT TO REMEMBER: Boise State defensive end Chase Hatada picked a good time for the best game of his career. The senior had six tackles, including 4.0 tackles-for-loss, and also forced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown after missing last week's win against Wyoming.
"It felt good to be back out there with all my brothers," Hatada said. "I had a blast tonight and I know all the guys did. It just felt really good to be back out there after missing last week."
Hatada had four tackles-for-loss on the season coming in, but matched that total with four in the first half alone. His forced fumble on New Mexico quarterback Tevaka Tuioti on the first play of the game was picked up by Sonatane Lui and returned 24 yards for a touchdown.
MOMENT OF SILENCE HONORS NEW MEXICO DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: The Broncos held a moment of silence just before kickoff for New Mexico defensive lineman Nahje Flowers, who died Nov. 5. According to Albuquerque Police, Flowers died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
New Mexico was playing its first game since Flowers died. The Lobos had a scheduled game against Air Force last week moved to Nov. 23 due to Flowers’ death.
Both teams lined up on their respective sidelines, and New Mexico’s four captains held his jersey high into the air at midfield. The Lobos then came together for a quick huddle before taking the field for the kick off.
BRONCO BITS: Octavius Evans scored on a 17-yard run in the first quarter, making him the fourth different Boise State wide receiver to have a rushing touchdown this season. ... Nine different players have rushing touchdowns for the Broncos this season, while 10 have a receiving touchdowns. ... The announced attendance was 31,492, the second-lowest of the season. Boise State’s average attendance is 33,488 during the regular season, the sixth-highest in program history. ... Sonatane Lui’s 24-yard fumble return for a touchdown was Boise State’s first defensive touchdown of the season. ... George Holani had a career-best 50-yard run in the first quarter.