That famous Jim Carrey line from “Dumb and Dumber” seemed so appropriate just before halftime Saturday night when Boise State had narrowed Colorado State’s lead to 18 points on a dazzling 26-yard touchdown run by Alexander Mattison. To me, that was the key stage of the game: CSU’s other 25-point advantage—not when it was 28-3, but 35-10 late in the first half. An even more insurmountable task may have been the 52-38 deficit with three minutes left in the game, when ESPN.com’s metrics had the Rams’ chance of winning at 99.7 percent. That’s when Brett Rypien and crew put any fourth quarter struggles behind them and scored two touchdowns sandwiched around as brilliantly-executed an onside kick as you’ll ever see, and the Broncos grabbed a dramatic 59-52 overtime win from the mitts of Colorado State.
The game could not have started any worse for Boise State. Just like the week before, the Broncos endured a punch-in-the-mouth drive and fell behind Colorado State 7-0. Then came a second one, and a third one, and a fourth one, and a fifth one. Nick Stevens, Dalyn Dawkins and Michael Gallup were having their way, racking up 335 first-half yards. Through all the trials and tribulations, Boise State worked its way back into the game with three third-quarter touchdowns. But the Broncos spent most of the fourth quarter on the ropes—until Rypien dialed it in during the final three minutes and threw two of his four touchdown passes. Kekoa Nawahine talked after the game about the defense maintaining its composure through all the chaos. And it was the defense that ended it so suddenly with Tyler Horton’s overtime fumble recovery.
Alex Mattison was a beast Saturday night. The transformation in the Boise State sophomore running back since September has been stunning. We’re not here talking about one of the most memorable conference wins in Bronco history without Mattison. His 242 rushing yards were the third-most ever at Boise State—and an all-time record by a Bronco on the road. In addition to the zig-zagging touchdown run just before halftime, there was the 70-yard TD on the second play of the third quarter that flipped momentum in this game. Fittingly, it was Mattison who scored the winning touchdown in overtime. In between there was punishing run after punishing run. Twice Mattison left the game injured and came back for more.
The courage that it took for Boise State to pull off a 25-point comeback is personified not only in Mattison, but in Cedrick Wilson. Already wearing a large brace on his upper left arm and shoulder, the Broncos’ star wide receiver absorbed more blows and left the field himself after a 48-yard catch in the second quarter and went to the locker room. But Wilson returned after halftime and re-entered the game. He made the most impactful catch of his Boise State career not on a pass, but on Joel Velasquez’s onside kick with 1:41 left in regulation, extending his pain-wracked arms to gather in the ball off a perfect sky-high bounce. The Broncos can only hope they have him this week for the Air Force game.
Boise State’s magic number in the Mountain Division race in the Mountain West is now one. If the Broncos can snap the Air Force jinx this Saturday night on the blue turf, they clinch a spot in the Mountain West championship game. If they don’t, they’ll hope Fresno State has already taken of things by beating Wyoming earlier in the day in Laramie. But a Cowboys’ win over the Bulldogs will put the ball in Boise State’s court. It’s the Pokes’ final chance for a loss—they play next week at San Jose State, one of the worst teams in conference history. Wyoming, by the way, cruised past the hard-to-figure Falcons 28-14 Saturday night in Colorado Springs, playing the second half without an injured Josh Allen.
Senior Day was something else for Tyler Cox. The Boise High grad filled in for injured quarterback Darius-James Peterson by throwing for 320 yards and a school record-tying four touchdowns and rushing for 113 yards Saturday in College Of Idaho’s 45-22 season-ending victory over Montana State-Northern. That ensured the Coyotes of their first winning season since football returned in 2014, and their first one overall since 1969. The 6-5 record also gives the Yotes six wins for the first time since 1959. What makes it an even better story is the fact that C of I did it by winning five of its last six games after a 1-4 start. The Yotes essentially fell just one victory short of the NAIA Playoffs.
How about the start to Alex Hobbs’ season? Last winter, Hobbs looked like a classic role player as he toiled as a true freshman for Boise State men’s hoops. He sure looks like starting material now after the 104-65 win over Eastern Oregon Friday and the 90-69 victory over Southern Utah yesterday in Taco Bell Arena. Hobbs went 18-for-22 from the field in the two games and scored 40 points. He made all nine of his field goal attempts Friday night, just the the third player in school history to accomplish that feat with that many shots. There were signs last February and March, though. Hobbs was in double figures in four of the Broncos’ final six games and shot almost 66 percent over that stretch.
The Idaho Steelheads, looking at a two-game sweep at the hands of the Allen Americans Saturday night, came home from Texas with a split after a stirring third period rally. The Steelheads had lost 2-1 Friday night and were trailing 4-2 in the third before tallying twice to tie. Justin Parizek’s goal with 3½ minutes left would send the game into overtime. It went to a shootout, and Parizek was the only one to score, giving Idaho a 5-4 victory. Steelies goalie Philippe Desrosiers had yielded four goals over the first two periods, but he produced a scoreless third period and overtime frame and a spotless shootout. Idaho is back in action Wednesday night at Rapid City.
Boise State has placed both of its cross country teams in the NCAA Championships this Saturday via at-large bids after the women finished fourth and the men sixth at the NCAA West Regionals Friday. Bronco star Allie Ostrander finished second on the Seattle course, extending the program’s streak of landing a woman in the top three of the region to five straight years. Nationals will be held in Louisville, site of Ostrander’s second-place finish in the NCAA’s in 2015.
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November 13, 1993: Number one against number two—Florida State and Notre Dame in South Bend. The Fighting Irish won 31-24 after fighting off a Seminole desperation drive led by eventual Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward, who the year before had played for the Florida State basketball team in the NCAA Tournament at the BSU Pavilion. But the Irish would lose the following week to Boston College, opening the door for the Seminoles’ run to the national championship.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)