Boise State Football

Tight ends in vogue, and Wyoming did it better than Boise State

Boise State coach Bryan Harsin after 30-28 loss to Wyoming

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Early in Saturday’s football game, the Boise State offense did what had been a rare occurrence in recent weeks: use its tight ends in the passing game.

Wyoming did it more often and more effectively.

In the first quarter, Boise State junior tight end Alec Dhaenens had a 5-yard reception on the third play of the game, and sophomore Chase Blakley had his first career reception, a 28-yarder, two possessions later.

On the play after the Coeur d’Alene native’s long grab, junior running back Jeremy McNichols plunged in for a 5-yard touchdown to get Boise State on the board with a 7-0 lead with 3:12 left in the opening quarter.

Wyoming used its tight ends for massive success.

Senior Jacob Hollister was perhaps the Cowboys’ most potent weapon, picking up a career-high 144 yards on six receptions. He also had touchdowns of 19 and 28 yards. Every one of his receptions went for at least 14 yards.

Sophomore Josh Harshman had a career-best two receptions for Wyoming, one a key third-down conversion on the Cowboys’ game-tying drive in the fourth quarter.

“We don’t think we’ve utilized him like we could have, and tonight we did,” Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said.

Said Boise State linebacker Ben Weaver: “A lot of credit to their tight ends, because when they got in those one-on-one battles, they made the plays.”

CAREER DAY FOR WYOMING QUARTERBACK

Josh Allen had the best game of his career. The sophomore was 18-of-31 passing for 274 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He also added 53 rushing yards on 11 carries.

He played a pivotal role, through the air and on the ground, in the Cowboys converting 10-of-18 third downs.

FIRST PLAYOFF RANKINGS COME OUT TUESDAY

The Broncos are the top-ranked Group of Five team heading into the initial College Football Playoff rankings, which will be announced Tuesday (5 p.m., ESPN).

But after Saturday’s loss, they are not in the driver’s seat for a possible Cotton Bowl berth, let alone a spot in the Mountain West championship game.

There’s a possibility the Broncos could be ranked, but they will likely be behind Western Michigan, which entered the week No. 20 in the AP poll. Those Broncos play a MAC game Tuesday against Ball State (6 p.m. ESPN2).

QUICK HITS

Boise State freshman defensive back DeAndre Pierce, who has played cornerback, safety and nickel this season, made the trip but did not suit up because of injury. He had nine tackles and a pass breakup in the seven games coming into Saturday. Sophomore linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and redshirt freshman defensive end Sam Whitney, also nursing injuries, did not make the trip. Both have missed the past four games. ... Boise State, as it has in all four road games this season, wore white helmets, white jerseys and white pants. Wyoming wore white helmets, brown jerseys and yellow pants. ... Freshman running back Alexander Mattison carried the Hammer for the second time this season.

Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @IDS_BroncoBeat

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