At least now the Boise State football team gets eight months to figure out how to replace the unique talents of wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes.
The Broncos clearly missed the 5-foot-6 playmaker when he was sidelined for most of the last three regular-season games with a high ankle sprain. They clearly enjoyed having him back Wednesday, when Williams-Rhodes helped the offense in a 55-7 win against Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Williams-Rhodes contributed eight catches for 94 yards and three carries for 34 yards. That success allowed the Broncos to use him as a decoy other times, including on tight end Alec Dhaenens’ 18-yard touchdown catch.
The Broncos were 1-2 without Williams-Rhodes, and the offense never clicked during that stretch.
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“He’s huge. He’s able to do so many different things for us,” offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz said. “He exposed the middle of the field. He was able to beat a couple of blitzes. He gives us a different dynamic on the reverses. He’s a really special player.”
This was the healthiest Williams-Rhodes has felt since the Oct. 31 game at UNLV, he said, but he still isn’t all the way back from the high ankle sprain he sustained in the first half of the Nov. 14 game against New Mexico.
He passed Austin Pettis on the Boise State all-time receptions chart to finish second with 233.
“I just felt I was back in my role,” Williams-Rhodes said. “... They were able to go back to the stuff we were doing before, and we executed that stuff well.”