Junior running back Alexander Mattison rushed for a season-best 200 yards and scored three touchdowns as No. 23 Boise State earned a spot in the Mountain West title game by dispatching No. 21 Utah State 33-24 on Saturday night at Boise, Idaho.
Mattison put the game away with a 1-yard dive with four seconds remaining for the Broncos (10-2, 7-1 MW), who won their seventh consecutive contest.
Senior quarterback Brett Rypien passed for 310 yards and one touchdown to post his 21st career 300-yard outing, breaking the mark he shared with BYU’s Max Hall (20, from 2007-09).
Boise State will host Fresno State in next Saturday’s Mountain West championship game. The Bulldogs (10-2) are the West Division champs.
Sophomore quarterback Jordan Love passed for 363 yards and three touchdowns with one interception for Utah State (10-2, 7-1).
Senior receiver Aaren Vaughns caught seven passes for 107 yards, and senior linebacker Chase Christiansen had a season-high 15 tackles for the Aggies, who had their 10-game winning streak snapped.
Utah State made things interesting when junior running back Gerold Bright raced 83 yards with a screen pass to cut Boise State’s lead to 26-24 with 3:12 left.
But Mattison exploded through the line for a 59-yard scamper to the Utah State 10-yard line to put the Broncos in position to close it out. He found the end zone on fourth-and-1 to cap the second-highest rushing performance of his career.
Mattison, who carried 37 times, has topped 100 yards in four of the last five games.
Utah State cut its deficit to 20-17 on the first play of the fourth quarter when junior Dominik Eberle kicked a 45-yard field goal.
Boise State answered with a 14-play, 75-yard drive that took 7 1/2 minutes and was capped by Rypien’s fourth-down 1-yard scoring pass to junior tight end Garrett Collingham with 7:23 left. The extra point failed due to a mishandled snap.
Rypien passed for 200 yards in the first half as Boise State held a 17-14 lead.
The Aggies traveled 75 yards on nine plays in the game-opening possession, capping the excursion with Love’s 9-yard scoring pass to senior wideout Jalen Greene.
The Broncos knotted the score on Mattison’s 2-yard run with 2:35 left in the first quarter. Boise State moved ahead at 10-7 on senior Haden Hoggarth’s 23-yard field goal 15 seconds into the second quarter.
Mattison scored from the 1 to increase the Broncos’ lead to 10 with 10:09 left in the half. Utah State pulled within three when Love threw a 12-yard scoring pass to senior Ron’quavion Tarver with 7:34 remaining in the half.
Boise State boosted its lead to 20-14 on Hoggarth’s 27-yard field with 7:09 left in the third quarter.
—Field Level Media