Bronco Beat

Boise State’s Martarano has broken leg; McNichols not a Walker finalist

Boise State junior linebacker Joe Martarano has a fractured fibula in his left leg, coach Bryan Harsin said Monday. The injury will almost certainly prevent him from playing again this season.

Martarano suffered the injury late in the first quarter against UNLV on Friday at Albertsons Stadium. The Fruitland High grad also injured his knee in the first quarter Sept. 3 at Louisiana and missed the next two games. He started at Louisiana and against UNLV, making 25 tackles in nine games and forcing a fumble.

“He’s out, fractured fibula is what he’s got there,” Harsin said. “... We’ll get him back, I don’t know when, we won’t have him probably the rest of the season.”

The Broncos will be minus Martarano and senior Tanner Vallejo (wrist) at the linebacker spot Friday at Air Force (1:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network).

“We’ve had guys have to step up all year,” defensive coordinator Andy Avalos said. “... I think our guys have done a solid job of that. Obviously this week is going to be huge for us, going to have to have some guys step up. That’s the thing about these guys, they’ll embrace the challenge.”

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For the fourth time this season, junior running back Jeremy McNichols was named Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week on Monday. McNichols rushed for 206 yards against UNLV, tying a career-high with four touchdowns. He is the sixth player in conference history to earn the honor four times in a season, and the second Bronco (Kellen Moore, 2011).

McNichols is not one of three finalists for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top running back. The three are, announced Monday: D’Onta Foreman (Texas), Dalvin Cook (Florida State) and Donnel Pumphrey (San Diego State).

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