Game report: Boise State suffers heartbreaking 19-16 overtime loss to Fresno State

The Broncos went from thinking they had a good shot at playing in the Fiesta Bowl to hoping for the Las Vegas Bowl to having no clue where they will go in a matter of a few hours Saturday night. (Chis Bronson of Idaho Press)

Here’s how Boise State beat writer B.J. Rains of the Idaho Press saw Saturday’s game unfold

The result: After waking up with realistic hopes of playing in the Fiesta Bowl, the Broncos will instead find out Sunday which lower-tear bowl they’ll participate in after suffering a 19-16 overtime loss to Fresno State in the Mountain West Championship on a snowy Saturday night at Albertsons Stadium. Fresno State, which had been 0-10 on the blue turf, won the game on a 1-yard run from Ronnie Rivers after the Broncos were held to a field goal on the opening possession of overtime. The Bulldogs stormed the field, many of them doing snow angels in the snow, as the Broncos stood in stunned disbelief.

Missed kicks costly: Boise State trailed 13-7 entering the fourth quarter but tied the game with a 87-yard drive that was capped by a 34-yard touchdown run from Mattison to even the score at 13-13 with 8:01 left. But Haden Hoggarth’s extra point attempt was blocked, which kept the score tied and eventually led to the game going to overtime. Hoggarth also missed a 42-yard field goal attempt earlier in the game that similarly proved to be big. “We have to be able to make those kicks in that situation,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “Unfortunately at the end of the game that becomes a big point when you have a chance to be up by one and you might be able to do some things differently and hopefully run out the clock.”

Overtime: Saturday was the first overtime game in Mountain West title game history, and Boise State’s first overtime game at home since the famous four overtime game against Nevada in 2007. Ironically the Boise State basketball team lost Saturday at Grand Canyon by the same score, 69-67, as the Broncos had in the thrilling win against Colin Kaepernick and the Wolf Pack. Boise State scored first in overtime on a 23-yard field goal from Hoggarth, but Boise State’s defense, which made three big stops in the fourth quarter to help keep the game tied, couldn’t keep the Bulldogs out of the end zone in overtime. Quarterback Marcus McMaryion ran the option to the right on third and goal from the one and pitched the ball to Rivers, who scored to give Fresno State a rare win on the blue turf – their first in program history and just the ninth by any opposing team in the past 19 seasons.

Bowl destination unknown: The Broncos went from thinking they had a good shot at playing in the Fiesta Bowl to hoping for the Las Vegas Bowl to having no clue where they will go in a matter of a few hours Saturday night. The loss muddied the bowl picture for the Broncos, who could now go to a number bowls including the Frisco Bowl, the Armed Forces Bowl, the New Mexico Bowl and maybe even the Potato Bowl in Boise. The New Mexico Bowl and the Arizona Bowl are two bowls that have slots for Mountain West teams, but neither are that attractive and neither would have good opponents for the Broncos to play. One of two bowls in the Dallas area, the Frisco Bowl and the Armed Forces Bowl, could be possible. Both are on Dec. 22. As crazy as it sounds the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl also could be an option if the Broncos could be paired with a 10-win Buffalo team from the Mac. Asked about that possibility after Saturday’s game, Harsin said, “I don’t even know if that’s an option,” and didn’t want to comment further.

He said it

“Losing at home on The Blue, that’s something that we don’t do. This championship was an opportunity for us to go out there and leave a legacy for those seniors, and it’s disappointing that we couldn’t send them out that way. It’s definitely not a good feeling.”

-Boise State running back Alexander Mattison

Up next

Boise State (10-3) will find out its bowl destination Sunday.

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