Boise State Football

Boise State, Oregon take their complicated history to Las Vegas Bowl

Boise State coach Bryan Harsin on facing Oregon in Las Vegas Bowl

Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin discusses the Las Vegas Bowl, facing Oregon and RB Alexander Mattison's status Dec. 3, 2017.
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Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin discusses the Las Vegas Bowl, facing Oregon and RB Alexander Mattison's status Dec. 3, 2017.

Boise State senior wide receiver Cedrick Wilson looked out at the crowd during halftime of the Broncos’ men’s basketball game Sunday at Taco Bell Arena, armed with a little smile and a microphone.

“See us beat the Ducks, just like the basketball team did,” he told the fans.

This is going to be fun.

It has been more than eight years since Boise State and Oregon last met on the football field, but the chippy emotions still linger.

Two days after Boise State and Oregon played a thriller of a basketball game Friday, when the Broncos ended the Ducks’ 46-game home winning streak on a half-court shot at the buzzer, their football teams were matched Sunday in the Dec. 16 Las Vegas Bowl.

The Broncos and Ducks will play for a third time after meeting in 2008 and 2009. Boise State won both. The encounters were quite memorable, from Kellen Moore’s first road start in the first to the infamous postgame punch by LeGarrette Blount in the second.

“It’s been awhile,” said Boise State coach Bryan Harsin, who was the offensive coordinator for those games. “… Obviously excited coming off the (Mountain West) championship game, knowing we have another opportunity, another part of our goal to achieve, and to do it against an opponent like Oregon is something our guys are going to be looking forward to.”

Oregon (7-5) has won three of its past four games, buoyed by the return of sophomore quarterback Justin Herbert from injury the last two weeks. The Ducks are averaging 52.1 points per game with him on the field in seven games, and 15 ppg without him.

The Broncos — back in the polls at No. 25 on Sunday — last played in the Las Vegas Bowl in 2012, and the Ducks last appeared in 2006.

For the Broncos, this gives them a shot to beat a Power Five conference team, having lost to a Pac-12 team (Washington State) and an ACC team (Virginia) this season. Oregon is vying for a similar crop of players, too.

“One of the things that’s exciting is this is another school we run into in recruiting. The branding of it, people know Oregon,” Harsin said. “We know about each other, there’s a history there.”

There has been plenty of speculation about the future of Oregon first-year coach Willie Taggart, a rumored candidate at Florida State. Harsin reportedly interviewed with the Ducks last December.

Taggart was asked Sunday if he would be Oregon’s coach in the bowl game, and replied, “Why wouldn’t I be?” When the topic of Boise State was broached, he said his first thoughts were: “Blue. The turf they have. And winning.”

“It’s going to be fun. Our guys are fired up for it,” Taggart said.

MATTISON STATUS UNCLEAR: Harsin said “I don’t know” when asked Sunday about Mattison’s status for the bowl after he suffered an apparent ankle injury Saturday night. The sophomore has rushed for 1,074 yards this season. He left the game in the third quarter and was seen Sunday at the basketball game with a boot on his left foot, with a scooter aiding him.


Mountain West bowls

Las Vegas (Dec. 16): Boise State vs. Oregon

New Mexico (Dec. 16): Colorado State vs. Marshall

Famous Idaho Potato (Dec. 22): Wyoming vs. Central Michigan

Armed Forces (Dec. 23): San Diego State vs. Army

Hawaii (Dec. 24): Fresno State vs. Houston

Arizona (Dec. 29): Utah State vs. New Mexico State

New Year’s Six

Rose (Jan. 1, CFP semi): No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Georgia

Sugar (Jan. 1, CFP semi): No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Alabama

Peach (Jan. 1): Auburn vs. UCF

Orange (Dec. 30): Miami (Fla.) vs. Wisconsin

Fiesta (Dec. 30): Washington vs. Penn State

Cotton (Dec. 29): USC vs. Ohio State


Who: Boise State (10-3) vs. Oregon (7-5)

When: 1:30 p.m. MT, Dec. 16

Where: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas


Tickets: $81.75 apiece at, the Athletic Ticket Office or via phone at 208-426-4737. Season-ticket holders will be seated based on their priority-points rank, as long as they purchase their tickets by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

About the Ducks: Oregon is coming off a 69-10 win over rival Oregon State on Nov. 25, and the Ducks are averaging 36.7 points per game. … RB Royce Freeman has rushed for 1,475 yards. TE Jacob Breeland has scored a team-high five receiving TDs on 17 receptions. … LB Troy Dye leads the team with 103 tackles. DE Jalen Jelks has 6.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. … Coach Willie Taggart is in his first season. He went 40-45 in seven seasons at Western Kentucky and South Florida from 2010 to 2016.