It was the sort of play that separates a good wide receiver from a great one, the sort of play that could save a game and even a season.
But it was all for naught.
With Boise State trailing Utah State 24-3 midway through the second quarter, freshman Brett Rypien was intercepted by Utah State sophomore cornerback Jalen Davis, who returned it 16 yards before Boise State senior wide receiver Shane Williams, all 5-foot-6 of him, stripped Davis.
Williams-Rhodes recovered the fumble and the Broncos had new life. The new drive, which covered 51 yards, was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by senior running back Kelsey Young with 3:12 left in the first half to cut it to 24-10. But three Bronco turnovers in the final 130 seconds of the half, and three straight Aggie touchdowns, meant a 45-10 halftime lead for the home team. Williams-Rhodes, who had a touchdown pass last Saturday at Colorado State, had a team-best five catches (for 38 yards) in the first three quarters.
“Shane’s a guy that’s been dynamic for us and made plays, you give guys opportunities when that happens,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said.
On the Broncos’ first possession, Williams-Rhodes got the team into prime real estate with a 38-yard punt return down to the Utah State 34-yard line. The offense mustered only 5 yards before settling for a 46-yard field goal by junior Tyler Rausa for the early 3-0 lead.
On his last visit to Logan on Oct. 12, 2013, Williams-Rhodes had 13 catches for 150 yards. Utah State signed (now-senior) cornerback Tyler Floyd from Fullerton (Calif.) Junior College the following February. When he committed, Floyd told the Salt Lake Tribune “they mentioned my quickness and speed, and said they want me to defend that guy from Boise who gave them a hard time last year.”