Boise State Football

Boise State’s talented punt returner, starting cornerback will be ‘limited,’ but just how much?

Boise State-Troy highlights 2018

Highlights from Boise State's 56-20 win at Troy on Sept. 1, 2018. Courtesy Boise State athletics.
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Highlights from Boise State's 56-20 win at Troy on Sept. 1, 2018. Courtesy Boise State athletics.

It did not look good at first, when Boise State sophomore cornerback Avery Williams went down hurt in the fourth quarter Saturday.

Williams’ elbow was hit as junior defensive end Chase Hatada came in to make a tackle against Troy. Sophomore STUD end Curtis Weaver waved the training staff over, and Williams spent a few moments on the turf.

After the game, Williams was seen with ice wrapped around it. A starter on defense and an electric punt returner, his absence would be substantial Saturday against UConn. Boise State coach Bryan Harsin shed a little — key word, a little — light on his status Monday.

“In his mind, he’s good to go, but I don’t know what the doctors are going to say. ... I think he’ll be limited from the injury this week — I don’t know what that means,” Harsin said. “Any time a guy gets taken out of the game (it’s a concern) ... as we get closer to the game, we’ll see how he’s feeling.”

Harsin said Williams is mentally strong, so he will have the right mindset, but how physically prepared he will be remains to be seen.

Williams had four tackles and two pass breakups in the 56-20 win over the Trojans. The Mountain West Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year had one punt deflect off him and muffed another, recovering the latter himself. If Williams is unable to go, sophomore Jalen Walker would likely start at cornerback, and sophomore wide receiver CT Thomas could get some looks at punt returner.

Walker stepped in for an injured Tyler Horton in the Las Vegas Bowl last December and did well in his first start. He had three tackles, a pass breakup and recovered a fumble at Troy.

“Jalen had a great offseason, he’s a much-improved player from last year,” Boise State defensive coordinator Andy Avalos said. “... the message we’ve been relaying to Jalen is keep on working, keep that positive attitude and good things will happen.”

Highlights from Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin's weekly press conference include discussion of the Broncos' wide receivers and the Turnover Throne.

Harsin did not provide any updates on senior defensive tackle David Moa and sophomore wide receiver Octavius Evans, both starters who suited up, but did not play at Troy. He said he expects to have junior nose tackle Emmanuel Fesili and senior linebacker Blake Whitlock, both of whom did not travel last weekend. Asked if it was injury- or suspension-related, Harsin simply said “they did not make the trip.”

HORTON EARNS MW PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Horton earned the first Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week honor following his big game in Saturday’s 56-20 win at Troy. The senior ran two fumbles back for touchdowns, tying the NCAA record, had four tackles and disrupted a screen pass that was intercepted by linebacker Tony Lashley.

The Broncos’ defensive players have nicknamed themselves the “Kings of Chaos,” aiming to create negative plays. The Broncos had five sacks and four turnovers Saturday, plus broke out the viral phenomenon — the Turnover Throne.

It is the second time Horton has earned the Mountain West honor, also doing so following the second game of the 2016 season. That also was the last time any Boise State defensive player earned the award, dating back to November 2014.

The football program wasn’t the only team on campus with a good week.

Both the Boise State volleyball and women’s soccer teams went undefeated in matches last week, earning individual recognition from the Mountain West.Junior forward Raimee Sherle was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week for women’s soccer, while freshman middle blocker Jessica Donahue was chosen as the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week in volleyball.

BIG SPREAD TO COVER FOR BRONCOS

Boise State opened up as 33-point favorites against UConn. The last time there was a larger spread in favor of the Broncos against an FBS opponent was on Oct. 24, 2015 against Wyoming as 35-point favorites, according to GoldSheet. The last time they covered a point spread of more than 32 points was in 2010, when they did it four times.

UCONN AT NO. 22 BOISE STATE

When: 8:15 p.m. Saturday

Where: Albertsons Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf)

TV: ESPNU (Mike Couzens, Kirk Morrison); CableOne ch. 136/1136, DirecTV ch. 208, Dish Network ch. 141

Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KTIK 93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)

Records: BSU 1-0 (beat Troy 56-20 on Saturday); UConn 0-1 (lost 56-17 to UCF on Thursday)

Series: Boise State 1-0 (Broncos beat Huskies 38-21 on Sept. 13, 2014 in Storrs, Conn.)

Vegas line: Boise State by 33

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