Orlando, Fla. - With Isaiah Bowser now in Orlando with the Knights, a productive and consistent running game should be expected. He’s an unusual running back in that he’s good at three different phases -- running, catching, and pass protection -- so that no matter the situation a defense does not know what Bowser will be doing during any one given play. His overall skills eventually helped UCF defeat Boise State.
Bowser Ran Over Boise State
Quarterback Hank Bachmeier and the Broncos got off to a hot start, going up 21 to nothing early in the second quarter. However, when all hope was seemingly gone for the Knights, the running game stepped up in a crucial way, letting the offense to be ignited.
Throughout the contest, UCF could count on its starting running back to churn out the yards, keep the chains moving, and make critical plays. That player would be Bowser. Here’s his stat line from this past Thursday:
33 Carries, 172 yards, and one rushing touchdown; four receptions for 33 yards.
Bowser wasn’t expected to be UCF’s main tailback when he transferred in from Northwestern, but after Bentavious Thompson left the team and RJ Harvey went down with an injury, the bruising back had to step up.
Step up he did.
After the Broncos took the 21 point lead, UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn started calling Bowser’s number. The Northwestern transfer running back answered the call by breaking a 30 yard run. That Bowser run helped set up tight end Alex Holler’s first career touchdown reception.
The next drive Bowser was a decoy, using play-action passing to help receivers get open down field. Immediately out of halftime, Malzahn went back to Bowser, who rushed for 22 yards to set up a Dillon Gabriel touchdown pass.
Then on a crucial second and long, Gabriel found Bowser in the flat and he took it 26 yards, setting up another Gabriel passing touchdown. Once Boise State took the lead, Bowser took over the game.
With Bowser the main source of offensive production, he helped to power the UCF offense down the field and eventually pushed the ball into the endzone for his first score as a Knight. During the next possession, Bowser helped the Knights run the clock down to just ten seconds, giving Boise State only enough time to attempt a Hail Mary which failed after Bachmeier was heavily pressured by the pass rush of Kalia Davis, securing a Knights victory.
Bowser Received Praise from Teammates
After the game Bowser’s teammates were full of praise, with wide receiver Jaylon Robinson saying, “He reminds me of the turtle off Mario Kart, he’s a big dude. I love him, I’m glad to have him on my team.”
Video games aside, Bowser did indeed bounce off numerous Boise State defenders. It’s also why he drew praise from his quarterback.
Gabriel also gave his props to Bowser by saying, “Stud, that dude can run downhill, and he’s not your typical big back either. He can move, great game from him. I mean he’s a stud. He’s the real deal.”
Creating New Opportunities for Bowser and His Teammates
First, Bowser proved he can change a game just by his excellent in between the tackles running ability. Do not forget that point while reading the rest of this section. Finding new ways for him to help the Knights is the bonus.
With that said, Coach Malzahn has proven he’s resourceful. He’s going to be creative with Bowser at some point this season.
Whether slot wide receiver or lined up all the way out wide and close to the sideline, look for Bowser to be a part of the cat and mouse game between college coaches; Coach Malzahn using Bowswer’s alignment will be a way to open up opportunities for other skill players while driving opposing defensive coordinators crazy.
Wrapping It Up
Entering this game few expected the running back room to either be a major factor for the Knights or to have a main running back. The expected outcome would be running back by committee.
However, Bowser showed that he can handle the duties as UCF’s three-down running back. Bowser came up huge for the Knights, with multiple drive-saving plays, leading them to victory. Now it’s a matter of figuring out how to best use his skills for UCF moving forward. He played great against Boise State, but there's even more this talented running back will be able to accomplish for the Knights.