He ran around, he ran through, and he even caught a few.
Boise State sophomore running back Jeremy McNichols, who spent time as a hybrid receiver and rusher as a freshman, flashed both abilities in the Broncos’ 41-10 win at Colorado State on Saturday.
McNichols rushed 17 times for 104 yards, his second straight 100-yard game, scoring a pair of touchdowns. He also was second on the team with six receptions for 77 yards, both career-highs. He has scored 14 touchdowns this season, No. 1 in the Football Bowl Subdivision. His hard running style brought praise after the game from coach Bryan Harsin.
“That brings a swagger, when a guy with the ball in his hands, especially a running back, is running physical,” Harsin said.
On hand to witness McNichols’ strong performance was his mentor, a man that knows all too well about getting into the end zone — former Bronco running back and current Miami Dolphin Jay Ajayi, who was on the sidelines. Ajayi scored 32 touchdowns last season, exactly what McNichols is on pace for should the Broncos play in 14 games.
“It’s been amazing, just seeing him grow from what he was able to do last year,” Ajayi said before the game at Hughes Stadium.
McNichols got his first touchdown on a 56-yard run in the first quarter that put the Broncos up 17-0 when he burst through a wide-open hole and outran the defense untouched. He also added a diving 40-yard reception from Brett Rypien in the third quarter on a wheel route that set up his second rushing score.
“The guy is really tough. He’s battling for those extra yards every time, and that one he had where he just creased it and had the touchdown was awesome,” junior receiver Thomas Sperbeck said.
On his last play in the game, McNichols collided with a Colorado State defender as he lowered his head plunging into the end zone for a 1-yard score that made it 34-10 with 4:50 left in the third. He did not return and was seen out of uniform as the game ended.
“We’ll figure out where he’s at,” Harsin said. “... but not coming (back) in, that’s a problem.”