Jeremy McNichols’ outstanding Boise State career did not end on the highest of notes.
The Broncos’ junior running back, who made it public Monday that he will forgo his senior season to pursue a career in the NFL, suited up for the final time in college.
Baylor did not let him go out in style.
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Hounded by the Bears’ defense throughout the Cactus Bowl on Tuesday, McNichols rushed 19 times for 46 yards (2.42 yards per carry), tying his lowest rushing total since moving into a full-time role at running back last season. He had five catches for 24 yards. His longest rush of the night covered 9 yards.
“They did a good job up front,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “They moved their D-line, and they got on some edges, but I thought he ran hard. We just got behind.”
After the 31-12 loss, McNichols was not available for comment. Cactus Bowl reps were instructed to hold players in the locker room for a half-hour after the game, but it was not fully enforced and he left before reporters arrived.
Coming into the bowl game, McNichols’ low output was 46 yards at BYU on Sept. 12, 2015.
Boise State went to McNichols early and often, as he had eight carries for 18 yards in the first quarter and seven carries for 18 yards in the second quarter. He had three rushes in the third quarter.
Baylor’s defense did not allow McNichols to get any room on the outside and prevented him from breaking tackles when he went up the middle. He had four rushes for loss.
“It was huge for us,” Baylor linebacker Aiavion Edwards said. “This whole week preparing, we’ve been preparing for the run game. They’ve done a great job this season, their running back has done an amazing job. He’s one of the best.”
McNichols finishes with the third-best single-season rushing performance in Boise State history (1,710 yards) and the fourth-best with 23 rushing touchdowns. He also finishes seventh in school history with 3,205 career rushing yards and fourth with 44 rushing touchdowns.
McNichols’ streak of 24 straight games with a touchdown ended.