Senior Ryan Wolpin put Boise State ahead for good with a 2-yard run with 4:42 to play in the fourth quarter, delivering the Broncos their first Mountain West championship since 2014.
Boise State’s 17-14 victory over Fresno State on Saturday night at Albertsons Stadium is the Broncos’ third Mountain West title overall. They shared the title in 2012.
Junior linebacker Leighton Vander Esch — the 2017 Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year — ended Fresno’s final drive with an interception.
The Broncos (10-3) lost 28-17 at Fresno State (9-4) last week, ending a seven-game winning streak.
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Vander Esch and Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien were named game MVPs.
BSU — Ryan Wolpin 3 run (Haden Hoggarth kick), 4:42. Key plays: QB Brett Rypien hit WR Cedrick Wilson for a 59-yard strike from the 5-yard line to give the Broncos a much-needed spark. Rypien had a 10-yard run the next play following a penalty, and hit Wilson on a third-and-5 for 7 yards to the 24 to keep the chains moving. Wolpin followed up with an 11-yard run, and a pass interference penalty gave the Broncos the ball at the 3. Drive: 7 plays, 90 yards, 3:03. Boise State 17, Fresno State 14
FS — Marcus McMaryion 8 run (Jimmy Camacho kick), 1:53. Key plays: McMaryion scored his second TD of the game after running for 22 yards the previous play. The Bulldogs started the drive with an 8-yard run aided by a 15-yard penalty for a face mask, then had 11- and 13-yard gains to the BSU 30 before McMaryion’s 22-yard run. Drive: 5 plays, 77 yards, 2:15. Fresno State 14, Boise State 10
BSU — Alexander Mattison 3 run (Haden Hoggarth kick), 4:08. Key plays: After Brock Barr downed Quinn Skillin’s punt at the Bulldogs’ 1, the defense forced three incompletions. Returner Avery Williams took the punt back 36 yards to the Fresno State 4. Mattison was stopped for 2 yards and WR Cedrick Wilson lost a yard on an end-around before Mattison scored out of the Wildcat. Drive: 3 plays, 4 yards, 1:19. Boise State 10, Fresno State 7
FS — Marcus McMaryion 1 run (Jimmy Camacho kick), 8:01. Key plays: McMaryion, the QB, scored on fourth down on a naked bootleg after the team got 2 yards on three plays. McMaryion had completions of 12, 13 and 22 yards to get to the Boise State 3-yard line. RB Josh Hokit had a 12-yard run on the drive’s second play out of the Wildcat to get into Boise State territory. Drive: 10 plays, 66 yards, 3:43. Fresno State 7, Boise State 3
BSU — Haden Hoggarth 31 field goal, 2:10. Key plays: QB Brett Rypien found freshman TE John Bates for 17 yards on a third-and-6 to get into Fresno State territory. Rypien found WR Cedrick Wilson for 22 on the next play to get to the Fresno State 20. Drive: 10 plays, 60 yards, 3:46. Boise State 3, Fresno State 0
NEWS & NOTES
MW champ to Vegas vs. Oregon?
The Las Vegas Bowl expects to invite the winner of the Mountain West championship game on Sunday afternoon, executive director John Saccenti said Saturday night before the game.
“We’ve talked to both teams ... that it’s our full intention to take the winner of this game,” Saccenti said before kickoff.
The opponent likely will be Oregon (7-5) of the Pac-12, assuming the conference gets two teams into the New Year’s Six bowls. If that doesn’t happen, the opponent likely will be Arizona (7-5). The Las Vegas Bowl is Dec. 16.
“Boise certainly has a recognizable name,” Saccenti said. “... It’s a very attractive team for especially our local folks. I’m confideent to say if it is Boise, we’ll have eyeballs on TV and we’ll have fans in the stadium and hopefully a great game on the field. With both those teams that are in the mix, I’d expect us to have a good matchup, too.”
The loser of the Mountain West title game is expected to go to the Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl, reportedly against Houston (7-4) of the American.
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl’s likely matchup is Wyoming (7-5) vs. Central Michigan (8-4).
Our updated projections:
Las Vegas (Dec. 16): Boise State/Fresno State winner vs. Oregon
New Mexico (Dec. 16): Colorado State vs. Florida International
Famous Idaho Potato (Dec. 22): Wyoming vs. Central Michigan
Hawaii (Dec. 24): Boise State/Fresno State loser vs. Houston
Foster Farms (Dec. 27): San Diego State vs. Arizona
Arizona (Dec. 29): Utah State vs. New Mexico State
New Year’s Six
Rose (Jan. 1, CFP semi): Oklahoma vs. Georgia
Sugar (Jan. 1, CFP semi): Clemson vs. Ohio State
Peach (Jan. 1): Washington vs. UCF
Orange (Dec. 30): Miami (Fla.) vs. Alabama
Fiesta (Dec. 30): USC vs. Wisconsin
Cotton (Dec. 29): Auburn vs. Penn State
The Hammer carrier before Saturday’s game was, well, everyone. The entire team ran out, each player with his own. On Nov. 18 in the last home game, five offensive linemen carried them instead of the usual lone carrier. … The honorary captain for the game was senior wide receiver/snapper Brock Barr. … The attendance was 24,515, worst for a Boise State home game since November 2003 vs. UTEP. The 2014 championship game in Boise drew 26,101.
Links to our coverage this week: