Boise State Football

Final: Boise State 17, Fresno State 14; Broncos win first Mountain West championship since 2014

Bryan Harsin gets soaked, Broncos celebrate

Players drench head football coach Bryan Harsin and celebrate after beating Fresno State in the Mountain West Championship game.
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Players drench head football coach Bryan Harsin and celebrate after beating Fresno State in the Mountain West Championship game.

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.

Vander Esch and Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien were named game MVPs.

[More game coverage: Broncos end 1,091-day title drought; Analysis: Players seize championship-deciding moments; Vander Esch turns in monster performance; Boise State likely headed to Las Vegas]


Fourth quarter

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

Second quarter

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

First quarter

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

Live Blog Boise State Fresno State MW championship


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:

Mountain West

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


Quick hits

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:

Fired-up Boise State out for MW title, a little revenge

Boise State-Fresno State game breakdown, players to watch

Cripe: Boise State should ride the hot hand of Rypien

Is the blue turf worth 20 points? Vegas says so

Meet the Boise State fan behind creative signs

Boise State football adds series with Houston, Washington State

Vegas or Hawaii? Boise State’s bowl picture comes into focus

Ex-Boise State coaches now lead three Pac-12 teams

Former Boise State RB McNichols could make NFL debut

Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch named top MW defender

Boise State football team tries to avoid ‘rat poison’

‘Pathetic’: Broncos are the worst in the nation on fourth down

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