Having senior tight end Jake Roh and sophomore running back Alexander Mattison in the Las Vegas Bowl sure would go a long way for the Boise State football team.
Roh and Mattison are both dealing with lower-leg injuries. Roh has missed the Broncos’ past two games but still leads the team with nine receiving touchdowns. Mattison was hurt in the third quarter Dec. 2 against Fresno State and leads the Broncos with 1,074 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.
So will they play? Well, they haven’t been ruled out.
“Both, to be honest, are game-time decisions,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said Tuesday as the Broncos arrived in Las Vegas. “... Jake will be a guy that will (try) to find a way, and Alexander’s improving. He’ll get some stuff done this week.”
Behind Roh, the Broncos’ top receiving tight end this season is senior Alec Dhaenens, who has 10 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown. Senior Ryan Wolpin likely would get the bulk of the work in Mattison’s absence, with 377 yards and four touchdowns this season.
Boise State should be at full strength minus any potential injuries, as all players made the trip, except for sophomore wide receiver Justin Collins, a walk-on from Long Beach Community College. Harsin said that Collins’ absence was related to his transfer this summer and that Collins did not break a team rule or anything of that sort.
FREEMAN COULD BE IN
Oregon senior running back Royce Freeman is No. 6 in Football Bowl Subdivision history with 5,621 yards rushing. He has weighed whether he will play in the bowl game, so as to avoid injury as the NFL beckons.
Recently hired coach Mario Cristobal said Tuesday that Freeman is practicing but that the final decision hasn’t been made on his status.
“He’s one of the best in the country,” Harsin said, joking with reporters about whether they could tell him if Freeman will play.
HOMECOMING FOR BIG GUYS
Boise State sophomore guard John Molchon had a big smile Tuesday as he showed up to a media opportunity at a charter helicopter company. His mom had once won a free tour, but she never used it. Molchon, a Las Vegas native, has started 12 games this season.
“We jumped right into practice after we got here, so it didn’t really hit me, but the weather, seeing everything around here, it’s been good for me to be back home,” Molchon said.
Oregon senior tackle Tyrell Crosby was the Ducks’ offensive representative Tuesday. He graduated from Green Valley High in Las Vegas. He tweeted, “Finally home, Viva Las Vegas,” upon arrival Monday.
BIG HONOR FOR NEWCOMERS
Boise State redshirt freshman Curtis Weaver and Idaho redshirt freshman Cade Coffey were named to USA Today’s Freshman All-America team on Tuesday.
Weaver, who plays the end/linebacker hybrid STUD position, leads all FBS freshmen and the Mountain West with nine sacks. He also grabbed an interception and returned a fumble for a touchdown. He previously became the first freshman to make the All-Mountain West first-team defense. Weaver leads the Broncos with 11 tackles for loss.
Coffey, a punter from Lakeland High in Rathdrum, averaged 44.6 yards per punt.
Las Vegas Bowl
Who: Boise State (10-3) vs. Oregon (7-5)
When: 1:30 p.m. MT Saturday
Where: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
TV: ABC (Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, Molly McGrath)
Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KTIK 93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)
Vegas line: Oregon by 7
Tickets: $81.75 apiece at BroncoSports.com/tickets, the Athletic Ticket Office or via phone at 208-426-4737.