The Boise State football team’s inexperienced receiving corps has taken its share of criticism this season, but the group took a step toward quieting those critics with a strong performance Saturday night against Utah State.
The Broncos produced season highs for total offense (533) and passing yards (370) in a 41-14 victory at Maverik Stadium as four receivers not named Cedrick Wilson had career- or season-best performances.
Coming into Saturday’s game, Wilson was the only Boise State receiver averaging more than 30 yards per game (93.4). While Wilson totaled a game-best 94 yards and a TD on six receptions, he wasn’t the only receiver making plays against the Aggies.
“You’ve got to have quality depth, which means they’ve got to make plays, and they did tonight. Tonight was one of the nights you got to see all these guys make plays, contribute, and you know what? That is fun,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “When everybody does it, it’s fun. Guys enjoy it because guys are coming in and out, you’re seeing guys go out and make some plays.”
Freshman Octavius Evans caught the first touchdown pass of his career on a 12-yarder from quarterback Brett Rypien with 7 minutes, 12 seconds on the clock in the first quarter. His two receptions for 25 yards was a yard short of matching his career best set in Boise State’s opener against Troy.
Fellow freshman CT Thomas caught three passes for 32 yards, including a career-long 24-yarder. He had just four receptions for four yards before Saturday.
“That was huge. Both those guys, the freshmen, Cartrell and Octavius, had great nights I thought,” Rypien said. “You want to build confidence for the younger guys for sure, and getting your first score obviously is going to help that.
“And game experience and getting them the ball is only going to help that even more.”
Junior A.J. Richardson caught the longest pass of his career — a 32-yarder from Rypien in the first quarter — and junior Sean Modster’s 38-yard reception was a season best.
Tight end Jake Roh and running back Alexander Mattison also had career performances. Roh’s 87 receiving yards are a career high, surpassing the 75-yard night he had as a freshman in 2014, also against Utah State.
And Mattison’s 3-yard TD reception from Montell Cozart in the second quarter was the first of his career.
Broncos lose three starters
Boise State may have won big over the Aggies, but it came at a cost, as the Broncos had three starters go down with injuries.
Defensive tackle David Moa left the game midway through the second quarter with what appeared to be a left leg injury.
Moa was examined on the sideline and then taken to the locker room. He did not play in the second half and was visibly limping after the game.
Defensive end Durrant Miles was the next to sustain an injury, leaving with 4:16 to go in the third quarter. Right guard Eric Quevedo went down on the turf in the fourth quarter and walked off the field on his own.
None of the three players returned to the game.
“Right now, they’re all OK. They were hurt enough to come out of the game,” Harsin said. “I saw them in there, they seemed to be fine. I don’t know exactly what it is yet.”