At the end of the 2014 regular season, Boise State senior wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes was on pace to break the school record for career receptions.
And then he disappeared.
Zero catches in the Mountain West championship game.
Zero catches in the Fiesta Bowl.
Two catches, for just 16 yards, in this year’s opener against Washington.
All with no explanation for why a player who was one of the most active members of the offense became a decoy.
“Playing receiver, you never know what’s going to happen,” Williams-Rhodes said. “You just go out there, run your route and just trust that the quarterback is going to make the right throw and he’s going to put it where it’s supposed to be.”
Finally last week at BYU, Williams-Rhodes’ marquee role returned. He made 11 catches — on a variety of routes — for 107 yards.
That’s his highest reception total since the 2014 opener (14) and second career 100-yard game.
With 183 career receptions, he ranks fifth in school history and needs 61 to tie Matt Miller’s school record.
“That’s something that we took away from week one — he’s a proven playmaker in this conference and so it was important for us to get him the ball,” offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz said. “He did a great job and we should have gotten it to him more. .. Week one, there were some things where we were trying to get it to him and the defense took it away from us. It was just a focus that this is what we’ve got to do.”
Williams-Rhodes was named the team’s offensive player of the game against BYU. The highlight was a one-handed catch he made while pinning the ball against a defender.
“I opened my body,” Williams-Rhodes said. “I go up with two hands and he tackled me. When he tackled me, he took one of my arms off the ball. So I tried to pin the ball on the back of his shoulder and I was praying that he did not wiggle too much so he wouldn’t knock the ball out. ... I didn’t have my other hand. That was the only way I could hold it.”