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Boise State suffers stunning collapse in 47-44 triple overtime loss at Washington State

Boise State cornerback DeAndre Pierce (4) almost intercepts a pass in front of cornerback Reid Harrison-Ducros during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Washington State in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

Folks that went to bed early Saturday night thinking Boise State had a huge road win instead saw a historic fourth quarter collapse and a crushing triple-overtime loss.

The Broncos suffered a stunning 47-44 loss to No. 20 Washington State in three overtimes at Martin Stadium. They rallied behind backup Montell Cozart and another strong defensive effort to build a 31-10 lead with 10:53 to play.

But that’s when the stunning Cougar comeback began.

Washington State scored on 17-yard pass from backup quarterback Tyler Hilinski to Jamire Calvin with 8:00 to play to make it 31-17. It was the first touchdown allowed by Boise State’s defense all season.

The Cougars cut it to 31-24 when Cozart, who was in the game due to an injury to starting quarterback Brett Rypien in the first quarter, made an ill-advised shovel pass that was intercepted and returned 36 yards for a touchdown. The Broncos were attempting to run some clock and Cozart should have just taken a sack, but tried to force a pass and got burned.

Still, it looked like Boise State was going to hang on when they forced Washington State to punt with 3:11 left to play. But the punt hit Boise State’s Reid Harrison-Ducros and was recovered by the Cougars at the Boise State 24-yard line.

Working with a short field, Washington State tied the game at 31 on a 6-yard pass from Hilinski to Jamal Morrow with 1:44 to play.

Both teams traded field goals in the first overtime before Washington State scored on a 1-yard run from Gerard Wicks to start the second overtime. Boise State responded with a 15-yard pass from Cozart to Cedrick Wilson to send the game into a third overtime.

Boise State was held to a 37-yard field goal from Haden Hoggarth to start the third overtime, and Washington State scored on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Washington State backup quarterback Tyler Hilinksi to Jamal Morrow on the second play to give the Cougars the win.

A dejected Boise State sideline stood in disbelief as as Washington State’s students stormed the field in celebration.

“I thought they came out and played with some guts,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “I thought we fought. We came in here ready to play. It comes down to the little things. There were some little things that showed up. The turnovers become key. The field position on special teams…there were some things that certainly factors in the game.”

A win would have put Boise State in the top 25 and started plenty of national hype as one of the leading contenders from the Group of Five for a New Year’s Six bowl bid.

The Broncos instead drop to 1-1 with a quick turnaround for a Thursday night home game against New Mexico and the triple option at Albertson Stadium.

Harsin wouldn’t comment on the status of Rypien after the game. He left late in the first quarter after an unblocked Washington State defender knocked him hard to the turf.

Cozart entered the game and played the rest of the way, finishing 12 for 20 for 161 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also had 72 rushing yards and a touchdowns on 14 attempts.

Cedrick Wilson had nine catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns for the Broncos.

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