Boise State Football

Boise State football team hands out awards, honors seniors and newcomers

Boise State press conference after title game: ‘We just came up short’

Boise State coach Bryan Harsin and running back Alexander Mattison answer questions after the Broncos' 19-16 overtime loss to Fresno State in the Mountain West championship game Dec. 1, 2018.
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Boise State coach Bryan Harsin and running back Alexander Mattison answer questions after the Broncos' 19-16 overtime loss to Fresno State in the Mountain West championship game Dec. 1, 2018.

The Boise State football team held its annual banquet Sunday evening and honored the Broncos’ accomplishments with team awards.

Senior quarterback Brett Rypien, the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, was named Team MVP. Junior running back Alexander Mattison was the Offensive MVP, senior cornerback Tyler Horton the Defensive MVP and sophomore returner Avery Williams the Special Teams MVP.

The top linemen awards went to sophomore offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland and sophomore STUD end Curtis Weaver. The Denny Erickson Valor Award went to senior STUD Jabril Frazier, the Plow Horse Award (strength) to junior offensive lineman John Molchon and the Blue Blood Award (work ethic) to freshman STUD Demitri Washington.

Senior running back Skyler Seibold was the winner of the Hammer Award, given to the most unselfish special teams player, while senior wide receivers Sean Modster and A.J. Richardson, as well as senior defensive lineman Durrant Miles, earned the Lyle Smith “Bleed Blue” Award for those who best represent the legacy of the legendary coach.

The top scholar award went to senior offensive tackle Andres Preciado, while the Scout Team MVPs were freshman wide receiver Maclaine Griffin (offense), freshman safety Mujeeb Rufai (defense) and sophomore linebacker Nick Provenzano (special teams). All are walk-ons — Rufai’s older brother, Kayode, is a sophomore defensive end.

WILLIAMS LEAVING: Boise State redshirt sophomore linebacker Desmond Williams announced Tuesday that he plans to transfer. A Corona, Calif., native, Williams had 28 tackles (five for loss) this season and was second on the team with two forced fumbles. He ran a fumble back for a touchdown Nov. 16 at New Mexico.

HEAD COACH KIESAU?: ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg and Flagstaff (Ariz.) radio host Matthew Jarecki both reported that Boise State wide receivers coach Eric Kiesau is “a top candidate” for the head coaching job at Northern Arizona. Kiesau is in his second season with the Broncos, turning a position that was a question mark into a strength. He also has coached, among other schools, at Cal, Colorado, Kansas and Washington, in addition to spending 2015 as an offensive analyst at Alabama.

GOOD TIMING: Though Harsin said having players and coaches miss Christmas at home for the second time in three years is another sacrifice the Broncos will have to make, the bowl matchup is advantageous for multiple reasons. Facing a team (Boston College) from a Power Five conference and having the Dec. 26 bowl in Dallas is a draw, and it also allows an extra weekend to host official visits before the start of the early signing period Dec. 19. The Broncos did not have that last year, playing in Las Vegas the Saturday before signing day.

BOWL STREAK: Boise State will play in its 17th consecutive bowl game, tied for fifth-longest in the nation and best among the Group of Five. The Broncos have played in 18 bowl games and have a 12-6 record.

ACC PART DEUX: The Broncos will wrap up the 2018 season facing an ACC team (Boston College), and open 2019 against an ACC team (Florida State). The Broncos will play the Seminoles in Jacksonville, Fla., on Aug. 31 of next year. Only five other bowl games pit a Group of Five team against a Power Five team this year.

ONE TO WATCH?: As is tradition, many publications ranked the bowl games in terms of watchability. CBS Sports ranked the First Responder Bowl as No. 6 among the 39 bowls, saying it is “an intriguing matchup for all of us to enjoy,” while Sports Illustrated and Yahoo! ranked it No. 11 and 18, respectively.

TV RATINGS IN: According to Sports Media Watch, Saturday’s Mountain West championship between Fresno State and Boise State drew 1.036 million viewers, just behind the 1.078 million who watched Boise State host Utah State the previous week. The Broncos had one other game this season with more than 1 million viewers — 1.438 million for Sept. 15’s loss at Oklahoma State.