Boise State pulls off incredible comeback in 59-52 overtime win at Colorado State

Boise State's Robert Mahone celebrates following a six-yard touchdown run in the third quarter of Saturday’s game against Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colorado. (Photo Courtesy Allison Corona/Boise State University)

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Boise State football team rallied from a 25-point first half deficit, scored 14 points in the final 1:41 and stunned Colorado State with a 59-52 win in overtime on Saturday night.

Boise State trailed 35-10 in the first half, needed an onside kick in the final seconds to set up a game-tying score and eventually pulled off a crazy comeback in overtime to move to within one win of a spot in the Mountain West title game.

The Broncos now need to win just one of their two remaining games, starting with Senior Night next Saturday at Albertsons Stadium, to win the Mountain Division and lock up a trip to the title game.

Boise State’s defense gave up 52 points and 570 yards but made the game-winning play in overtime. After an Alexander Mattision touchdown on Boise State’s first overtime possession, Leighton Vander Esch forced a fumble of Rashaad Boddie on the Rams’ possession and Tyler Horton recovered it to end the game.

“We found a way to win, and I’m sure early in the game nobody thought that was going to happen,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “Our guys found a way to finish.”

It was somewhat of a miracle that Boise State even got the game to overtime. Trailing 52-38, the Broncos scored on a 13-yard pass from Brett Rypien to Sean Modster with 1:41 left to cut the Colorado State deficit to 52-45. After Cedrick Wilson recovered an onside kick, Rypien found Jake Roh for a 6-yard score with 57 seconds left to tie the game at 52.

Mattison scored a 4-yard touchdown run on Boise State’s first possession of overtime. The sophomore finished with 242 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Bronco offense. The 242 rushing yards were the third-most by a player in Boise State history.

The two teams combined for 111 points and 1,211 yards in a game that took four hours and 30 minutes to play and didn’t end until 12:55 a.m. local time.

Brett Rypien completed 23 of 43 passes for 331 yards and four touchdowns for Boise State.

Boise State trailed 28-3 and 35-10 before scoring 21 unanswered points in 4:33 during a span late in the second quarter and early in the third to cut the deficit to 35-31. But Colorado State scored on a 10-yard run from Nick Stevens on a quarterback keeper to go back up two scores at 42-31.

The Broncos responded with a 10-play, 86-yard drive and scored on a 6-yard run from Robert Mahone, the redshirt freshman’s first career touchdown, to make it 42-38 with 44 seconds left in the third quarter.

Boise State’s defense stood firm at the goal line on the Rams’ next possession, holding Colorado State to a 19-yard field goal that made it 45-38 with 10:50 left in the fourth quarter. The Rams had fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line but fans booed as they elected for the short field goal.

It looked like Boise State’s comeback attempt would come up short when Rypien was intercepted and the Rams scored on a Rashaad Boddie 4-yard run with 3:02 left to go up by 14 points at 52-38.

But that’s when Boise State started the crazy comeback. The Broncos scored, recovered the onside kick and scored again to send the game in overtime. They scored the final 21 points of the game to secure the win.

The 25-point deficit was Boise State’s biggest comeback since they moved to the FBS in 1996. The previous biggest was 20 points in 2014 against San Diego State.

A defense that hadn’t allowed more than 14 points in five Mountain West games gave up five Colorado State touchdowns on five straight possessions to start the game.

Several things went wrong for the Broncos in the first half. The usually sure-handed receiver Wilson dropped a wide-open touchdown, and the Broncos nearly had two interception returns for touchdowns. One was called back due to penalty, while the second was dropped by Kekaula Kaniho with nobody between him and the end zone.

But the Broncos apparently had things right where they wanted, pulling off a comeback that likely will propel them into the Mountain West title game for the first time since 2014.

“I’ve never been in a game like this,” Avery Williams said. “No matter what the score is, no matter how much time is left, we’re going to finish our hardest no matter what.

“We’ll never give up. We’ll fight until zero-zero and beyond. We got punched in the mouth, but that’s not going to stop us.”

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