'I don't think I can really explain it': Boise State players reflect on OT win at Colorado State
Alexander Mattison did something Saturday night that even great Boise State running backs Jay Ajayi, Doug Martin, Jeremy McNichols, Brock Forsey and Ian Johnson never accomplished.
The sophomore running back rushed for 242 yards at Colorado State (third-most in school history) on 23 carries, scoring three touchdowns. Only Cedric Minter (261 in 1978) and Eron Hurley (254 in 1998) have had more rushing yards in a game for the Broncos.
Add in 44 receiving yards on three receptions, and Mattison’s 286 yards from scrimmage were No. 1 in a single game in Boise State history.
The record previously was held by wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck, who had 281 receiving yards in 2015 against New Mexico, followed closely by Ajayi, who gained 280 yards against Colorado State in 2014.
“It means everything,” Mattison said. “Part of the culture of this football team is running the ball downhill and physical. Being able to do that tonight felt amazing. ... I knew I was going to hit it and battle for my teammates.”
Mattison had 13 yards on the ground in the first quarter, but he capped off the second quarter with a 26-yard touchdown run during which he ran right, then all the way across the field to the left to get into the end zone. That gave Boise State some momentum going into the half, trailing 35-17.
On the second play of the third quarter, Mattison broke a career-long 70-yard touchdown run, the Broncos’ first play of more than 50 yards this season. His third touchdown was the winning score in overtime.
“He’s a dude, man,” junior quarterback Brett Rypien said. “He’s unbelievable, his ability to come back every single week ... still running hard, putting his head down, running guys over. It’s a testament to his character and his toughness.”
During the Broncos’ six-game win streak, Mattison has touched the ball 137 times. Against a physical Colorado State defense, that workload led to some hits that forced Mattison off the field with bumps and bruises. But he kept coming back, to the Rams’ chagrin.
“He ran extremely hard,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “... I thought he was physical tonight, they were hitting him. He was out of the game, in the game, out of the game, in the game.
“He would pop up, run off and get himself back in the game. I thought tonight, overall, of what he showed with his skills, his abilities and all that, he showed tremendous toughness, which in my opinion was a key ingredient to the success of our entire team.”
HARSIN GETS ANOTHER YEAR
Harsin’s contract was extended automatically by one year with the Broncos collecting their eighth win of the season. His deal now runs through the 2022 season with a total value for the next five years of $9.25 million.
Harsin is 39-11 in four seasons as the Broncos’ head coach.
DEFENSE ADJUSTS WELL ONCE AGAIN
The Broncos allowed 335 yards in the first half Saturday, but a much better 225 in the second half and overtime. In their previous win against Nevada, they allowed only 88 yards in the second half.
Among the positive changes was allowing 17 points after giving up 35 in the first half, and creating two turnovers after halftime. One, an Avery Williams interception, set up the Broncos’ second score of the third quarter that cut the lead to 35-31, and the last was a fumble recovery to seal the win.
“Going into the half, we knew our second half had to be almost perfect,” Williams said. “... I thought it was great how we were able to fight back.
“In certain coverages we were running, they were trying to attack certain weaknesses. We switched some things up, it eventually worked. I ended up getting a turnover out of it.”
Senior quarterback Montell Cozart was the Broncos’ honorary captain, joining the three season-long captains. … Boise State wore blue helmets, jerseys and pants. The helmet numbers had a stars-and-stripes coloration. Colorado State debuted its “State Pride” all-white look, with the helmet and shoulders having the logo that appears on the state flag. … Starting guard Eric Quevedo and starting nose tackle Sonatane Lui, along with backup defensive end Chase Hatada and linebacker Will Heffner, did not play because of injuries. … Senior wide receiver/snapper Brock Barr carried the Hammer. Senior running back Ryan Wolpin carried the “Bleed Blue” flag. ... Redshirt freshman running back Robert Mahone had one carry, a 6-yard run late in the third quarter, and scored his first touchdown on it. ... Colorado State running back Dalyn Dawkins had 161 yards rushing and 67 receiving, scoring two touchdowns. He was hurt late and was replaced by freshman Rashaad Boddie, who lost the fumble that ended the game.