Like a well-aged steak, the timing was just right for Boise State to throw its wide array of tight ends onto the fire.
The group had seven catches combined the previous two games entering Saturday’s contest at UNLV, but against the Rebels at Sam Boyd Stadium, four contributed six catches for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Senior Holden Huff had two catches for 30 yards, sophomore Jake Roh had two for 28 yards, senior Jake Hardee had a 44-yard touchdown and freshman David Lucero had a 4-yarder.
“We felt like they would be a bigger factor with some of the matchups,” coach Bryan Harsin said. “Also, to just utilize our tight ends. They’ve been practicing well. We’ve kind of had these plays in the game we just haven’t got to so, they’ve been carried over for a few weeks. This is one of those, ‘it’s been marinating long enough, it’s time to go out there and utilize it.’”
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
It was a scrumptious proposition for quarterback Brett Rypien, who completed passes to 10 receivers in the win. The group was ready after knowing the plays best suited for them were still in the cupboard.
“When they drew up those plays for us, we were ready to answer the bell,” said Hardee, whose touchdown was the first of his career.
Four of the five tight ends who suited up Saturday have touchdown catches in their careers, including sophomore Alec Dhaenens. Lucero has made catches down to the 3- and 1-yard lines this season, but has yet to score.
“Coach (Kent) Riddle does an outstanding job with those guys, he gets them ready every week and there’s a lot of depth there,” offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz said. “One of the great moments in my young career so far was watching Jake Hardee make that catch ... Jake Roh stepped up, he’s banged up and beat up. He made a really good third-down conversion and Holden had some catches, so I’m proud of those guys.”