Boise State Football

Minus its touchdown leader, Boise State’s offense struggles in key spots at Fresno State

Boise State football players discuss Fresno State loss

Boise State's Cedrick Wilson, Kekoa Nawahine, Tyler Horton and Alexander Mattison discuss the Broncos' 28-17 loss at Fresno State on Nov. 25, 2017.
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Boise State's Cedrick Wilson, Kekoa Nawahine, Tyler Horton and Alexander Mattison discuss the Broncos' 28-17 loss at Fresno State on Nov. 25, 2017.

As he stood on Boise State’s sideline with a boot on his left foot, a scooter to help him get around, senior tight end Jake Roh surely saw chances where he could have made a difference.

Roh, who came into Saturday’s game at Fresno State leading the Broncos with nine receiving touchdowns and tied for No. 1 in the nation among tight ends with 11 total touchdowns, was out for the first time this season. He appeared to suffer the injury on a run late in the Nov. 18 win over Air Force.

“I don’t know,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said when asked of Roh’s status after the 28-17 loss to Fresno State. “We’ll know more (Sunday). ... Hopefully we’ve got him back this next week, but I don’t know what that is right now. It’s not season-ending, so everything’s a possibility.”

Though the Broncos got points in their three red-zone visits, they were 6-of-16 on third and fourth downs, and they had four first-half drives end in Fresno State territory with a total of seven points.

As Roh was sidelined, senior tight end Alec Dhaenens had two catches for 27 yards and redshirt freshman John Bates had his first two career catches for 17 yards. Roh still remains second on the team with 39 receptions.


Sophomore running back Alexander Mattison scored a 1-yard touchdown with 9:05 to play for Boise State’s final points of the game. He ran for a team-high 63 yards, giving him 1,024 on the season.

In the process, he gave Boise State a 1,000-yard rusher for a ninth straight season, tied for the longest active streak in FBS with Auburn. But that wasn’t exactly something that was going to cheer up the workhorse after the game.

“No, we didn’t win,” Mattison said.


With 134 yards receiving on seven receptions, senior wide receiver Cedrick Wilson went from outside the top 10 in the Boise State record book for single-season receiving to No. 5.

Wilson entered the game with 1,008 yards; he now has 1,142 on the season, passing Matt Miller’s 2013 output by 2 yards for fifth place. Thomas Sperbeck (1,412 in 2015) is the record holder, with Tim Gilligan (1,192 in 2003) next up for Wilson, who said “I’m as motivated as I’ve been all season.”

“I really haven’t thought about stats, I’ve just thought about winning. ... No one cares about personal stats when you’re losing a game,” Wilson said. “Hopefully we can go out and get the ‘W’ next week.”


Boise State was stopped on a fourth-and-1 at the Fresno State 25-yard line in the first quarter when quarterback Brett Rypien failed to convert a sneak attempt. On the Broncos’ final drive, facing a fourth-and-10 at their own 10, Rypien was sacked for a safety.

The Broncos came in as the nation’s worst team on fourth down, having converted 2-of-14 (14.3 percent), and now are even worse (12.5 percent).


Boise State junior cornerback Tyler Horton, a Fresno native, carried the Hammer for the Broncos before the game. “Running down the ramp with the Hammer has always been my No. 1 thing since I’ve got here,” he said. … Junior STUD end Jabril Frazier was the Broncos’ honorary captain, joining the three season-long captains. … Rypien was 22-of-31 passing for 278 yards. He has thrown one interception in his past 206 pass attempts. ... The Bulldogs celebrated the win with the Milk Can trophy and will hold onto it until next year. It will not be on the line next Saturday, when the Mountain West championship is up for grabs. ... Safety Kekoa Nawahine had 12 tackles to lead Boise State. ... The Broncos did not have a sack against the Bulldogs, who have allowed only seven all season. ... Freshman linebacker Riley Whimpey did not play, and senior linebacker Gabe Perez left the game with an apparent wrist injury.

Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @davesouthorn