What a difference a week makes — or in this case, a football player.
Boise State got back its versatile touchdown machine, sophomore running back Jeremy McNichols, who left the Broncos’ Oct. 10 win at Colorado State late in the game following a helmet-to-helmet collision.
McNichols missed the Broncos’ 52-26 loss Oct. 16 at Utah State while going through concussion protocol, and was no doubt missed for his ability to keep a defense honest. He returned against Wyoming on Saturday with a vengeance in a 34-14 victory.
“It hurt man, just watching it, so I came in with a chip on my shoulder,” McNichols said.
On a career-high 33 carries, McNichols racked up a career-high 166 yards rushing and added a career-high seven catches (for 36 yards) for good measure. That makes three straight 100-yard games for McNichols when he’s on the field.
He had a 1-yard rushing touchdown late in the first quarter to give the Broncos a 17-0 lead, then took in a 4-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Brett Rypien the following possession to get a 24-0 advantage. He now has 16 total touchdowns this season, trailing only Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman, who has 18. It is already tied for 10th-most in a season in program history.
Following Boise State’s loss the previous week, coach Bryan Harsin was certain McNichols would play against the Cowboys. It also was apparent he was welcomed back with open arms, as he had 25 touches in the first half alone (20 rushes, five receptions).
His 33 rushing attempts are tied with Jay Ajayi (2014), Brock Forsey (2000) and Cedric Minter (1978) for fourth-most in a single game at Boise State.
“With the extra week off, my body got to heal a little bit,” McNichols said.
This season, McNichols has 133 carries for 651 yards and 13 touchdowns, adding 27 receptions for 232 yards and three touchdowns.
Dave Southorn: 377-6420; Twitter: @IDS_southorn