When the Boise State football team sets up Cactus Bowl practices next week, one Bronco will have already proven himself on that very field.
Junior tight end Jake Roh starred at Chaparral High in Scottsdale, Ariz., before joining Boise State in 2014. Chaparral is where the Broncos will practice, starting the day of their arrival next Friday.
Boise State (10-2) plays Baylor (6-6) in the Cactus Bowl on Dec. 27.
“It’s pretty cool. Two out of three bowl games I’ve been a part of are at home,” Roh said.
Roh had two catches in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl as a true freshman, though BSU practiced that December at a different high school in the Phoenix area.
As a senior at Chaparral, Roh had 72 receptions, then had 35 and 33 in his first two seasons at Boise State. This season, he has only four catches for 59 yards. He was slowed by a knee injury that forced him to miss most of fall camp and the first two games of the season.
“My knee feels great. It’s not really an issue anymore. My role just kind of changed, accepting that and being the best in my role,” Roh said.
That role has been serving more as a blocker, which does not always come easy for most tight ends listed at 6-foot-3 and 227 pounds. But it has been something he’s eagerly accepted.
“Man, you see him, you’d think no way this guy can block people, but he has a chip on his shoulder. He’s feisty,” offensive tackle Mario Yakoo said. “He just gets after it. He doesn’t care about his size. He’ll scrap; he’s a little dog in there. It’s fun to play next to him.’’
“He’s 215, 220 pounds or whatever. He gets after those 300-pound guys, he does not care.”
Though Roh’s group has accounted for 21 catches combined, he said “it’s a selfless team,” so chose to look on the bright side of not being as involved in catching passes, but instead protecting sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien or paving the way for junior running back Jeremy McNichols.
“For us, it’s helped us develop our game even broader,” Roh said.
CEDRICK WILSON NOT THINKING OF NEXT STEP
At 6-foot-3 with the speed to be Boise State’s top deep threat and now the Broncos’ primary punt returner, junior wide receiver Cedrick Wilson is certainly an NFL-level talent.
Wilson’s father, also named Cedrick, played seven seasons for the 49ers and Steelers. But the younger Wilson has not considered following in his father’s footsteps yet.
“I haven’t really thought about that. I’m just worried about finishing out the season,” Wilson said.
In his first season with the Broncos after transferring from Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, Wilson has 50 receptions for 1,041 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also has thrown a touchdown pass and has averaged 15.8 yards on eight punt returns.
“I’ve grown a lot more, at first I was just trying to catch the ball and get down, now every time I catch it, I’m trying to score,” Wilson said, noting he came into the season with a goal of 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns.
ALL-AMERICAN HONORS FOR TWO
A second-team All-Mountain West selection, McNichols leads the nation with 27 total touchdowns and is No. 5 in rushing yards with 1,663.
Mesa (Ariz.) CC quarterback Rathen Ricedorff was named a first-team NJCAA All-American on Thursday. Ricedorff, who had 3,688 passing yards and 42 TDs this season in 11 games, signed with the Broncos on Wednesday.
▪ Teams: Boise State (10-2, 6-2 Mountain West) vs. Baylor (6-6, 3-6 Big 12)
▪ Time: 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 27
▪ Where: Chase Field, (48,159 capacity, grass, home of MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks), Phoenix
▪ TV: ESPN (Rece Davis, Joey Galloway, David Pollack, Molly McGrath)
▪ Radio: KBOI 670 AM and KTIK 93.1 FM
▪ Tickets: $40-$115, available at BroncoSports.com/tickets, by phone at 208-426-4737 or the Boise State ticket office.
▪ Vegas line: Boise State by 7
▪ Coaches: Boise State, Bryan Harsin (31-8, third year; 38-13, fourth year overall); Baylor, Jim Grobe (6-6, first year; 116-121-1, 20th year overall)
▪ Bowl records: Boise State 11-5, Baylor 11-11
▪ Series record: First meeting