The Boise State football team’s offense has taken on a slower, more methodical identity this season, but that doesn’t mean the Broncos have been devoid of those signature, jump-out-of-your-seat moments.
Running back Alexander Mattison provided one such moment Saturday night in Boise State’s 24-14 win over Wyoming at Albertsons Stadium.
The 5-foot-11, 214-pound sophomore caught a short pass from quarterback Brett Rypien midway through the fourth quarter, then hurdled a Wyoming defender in stride for a 22-yard gain that led to the Broncos’ final scoring drive of the night.
“A lot of people don’t know I ran the 110 hurdles in high school, so I do have it in my arsenal,” Mattison said. “DBs, they like to chip at running backs’ shins a lot, so you set them up going toe-to-toe with them at first.
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“Eventually you get a feel for the game and the timing was perfect on that play and, you know, I just made a play.”
Mattison was nine yards shy of his third consecutive 100-yard rushing game, collecting 91 yards on 17 carries — an average of 5.4 yards per touch. He also set career highs for receptions (four) and receiving yards (41).
“It felt good, just seeing the holes and seeing our offensive line get some push,” Mattison said. “There were some tough runs in there. As a running back, we already know we have to go in there preparing to break some tackles and do some things on our own, so we prepared that way.”
Defense keeps streak intact
Opponents haven’t found much success on the ground against the Broncos this season.
Boise State entered Saturday’s game having yet to allow a 100-yard rusher and ranked 13th in the nation in rushing defense.
That streak stayed intact against the Cowboys.
Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen was the Cowboys’ leading rusher with 62 yards on 18 carries. Wyoming finished with 111 yards on the ground.
For the fifth time in seven games, Boise State produced multiple turnovers. The Broncos have created 13 turnovers this season.
Sophomore safety DeAndre Pierce and redshirt freshman cornerback Avery Williams each recorded their first career interceptions.
Pierce returned his second-quarter pick 46 yards, and Williams’ interception with 58 seconds left sealed the Broncos’ victory.
“They have some really good corners out there,” Allen said. “It’s a tough thing to see when there’s not much separation and there was really nowhere to go with the ball.”
Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch led the Broncos in tackles for the sixth time this season. The Salmon River High graduate had 11 tackles, including seven solo.
The drive that almost didn’t end
Boise State’s 18-play, 71-yard scoring drive to start the third quarter took 9 minutes, 44 seconds off the clock.
It is the longest scoring drive for the Broncos since Bryan Harsin took over as head coach in 2014.
“It’s not so much about the time as it is the execution,” Harsin said. “Eighteen plays back-to-back, that’s hard to do.”
Fans weather the weather
The announced crowd of 35,565 at Albertsons Stadium was Boise State’s largest of the season.
Fans filled the stadium despite pouring rain and a kickoff temperature of 43 degrees.
Boise State had just three points in the first half, but the Broncos rewarded fans for sticking around with three scores in the second half and a third consecutive win.