As one of its biggest weapons sat on the sideline, the Boise State offense had a tough time finding the big plays it thrived upon in recent weeks.
Junior receiver Cedrick Wilson suited up and took part in pregame warmups Saturday against Colorado State, but he did not play in the first half. He came into the game for one play in the third quarter but did not play again until late in the game when he made a huge play, though not on offense.
Boise State won 28-23.
Coach Bryan Harsin did not elaborate on why Wilson was unavailable, but said, “he’ll be ready to go for BYU” on Thursday (8:15 p.m., ESPN).
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After the Broncos allowed the Rams to recover consecutive onside kicks, a still-comfortable 28-10 lead turned into a tense 28-23 edge. On the third onside attempt, Wilson recovered to give the ball back to the Broncos with 3:35 left to play.
Wilson came into the game as Boise State’s No. 2 receiver with 23 receptions for 432 yards and five touchdowns. He also has completed 2-of-2 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. On Oct. 7 at New Mexico, Wilson had nine receptions for 167 yards and three touchdowns, including a 53-yarder.
In the first half Saturday against Colorado State, senior wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck had three catches for 57 yards, and the only other receiver to catch a pass was senior Chaz Anderson (two for 13 yards).
However, Sperbeck threw a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to sophomore A.J. Richardson (his first career touchdown catch), and Anderson finished with five catches for 65 yards, including a 35-yarder that set up running back Jeremy McNichols’ touchdown run on the first drive of the third quarter.
“(Wilson)’s definitely a huge threat for our team. He does a great job when he’s in, but when he’s not in, the other guys have to step up, and I think we did that,” Sperbeck said.
Sperbeck finished with 72 receiving yards. He has 3,029 for his career, needing 34 to pass Titus Young as the school’s all-time leader.
HOMECOMING FLOAT VANDALIZED
Saturday was homecoming at Boise State, but an incident a few hours before the game was brought to the university’s attention, prompting a 1 a.m. statement from President Bob Kustra, which read:
“I learned this evening that a homecoming float built by the Afro-Black Student Alliance to raise awareness about the Black Lives Matter movement was damaged by vandals. Let me say unequivocally that I and all Boise State leaders condemn this act and any attempt to quiet the constitutionally protected free speech of students and others on our campus. Our security team is investigating the reports and will support the students if they choose to report the vandalism to police. We have reached out to the alliance's student leaders to express our support directly. We intend to continue to do all we can to keep Boise State a safe and welcoming campus for all students.”
ONSIDE KICKS REMAIN AN ISSUE
The Rams’ two onside recoveries weren’t the first this season against the Broncos.
Oregon State sprung a surprise one on the Broncos on Sept. 24, got the ball back after a touchdown and turned it into a field goal, cutting a 31-7 lead to 31-17. Boise State got a defensive touchdown later that game to get some breathing room, but also allowed a kickoff return touchdown.
“They were prepared, but their guys did a good job, too. There’s something we’ve got to keep working on,” Harsin said.
He added: “What we emphasize, we usually get (next game).”
SUMNER-GARDNER MAKES SEASON DEBUT
Sophomore safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner, who started the first four games in 2015 before a season-ending injury, made his season debut Saturday night.
Sumner-Gardner was suspended the first four games this season because of academic issues and did not travel to the Oct. 7 game at New Mexico. He checked into the game in the first quarter on special teams and also saw time at safety. He had three tackles.
Senior safety Chanceller James carried out The Hammer before the game. ... Boise State received the opening kickoff. The Broncos have received the opening kick in all six games this season. ... Redshirt freshman defensive end Sam Whitney, freshman defensive tackle Chase Hatada and sophomore linebacker Leighton Vander Esch did not play because of injury. ... Boise State punter Sean Wale punted four times for an average of 52.5 yards . ... James, senior linebacker Darren Lee and senior linebacker Ben Weaver led the Broncos with seven tackles apiece. ... Sophomore defensive end Durrant Miles had his first career sack. ... Boise State was 9-of-16 on third downs, Colorado State was 3-of-14, but 3-of-3 on fourth downs.