The running attack of the Boise State Broncos was much-maligned — and oft criticized — during the first seven games of the 2018 season. Providing little yardage and lacking consistency, it appeared the Broncos streak of consecutive 1,000-yard rushers was going to stop at nine.
Six games later, the play of Alexander Mattison and the offensive line helped push the streak to ten, eclipsing the barrier in a resounding manner.
Mattison churned out yard after yard, building momentum with each game that passed. The culmination was back-to-back 200-yard games and an impressive rise up the rankings of national stat leaders.
A junior, Mattison finished with 1,415 yards, ranking seventh nationally, and his 17 touchdowns on the ground tied him for fifth overall.
In the last six games, Mattison has carried the ball 174 times for 914 yards, scoring 10 touchdowns on the ground. Only once during this span did Mattison fail to hit the 100-yard mark, and he carried the ball an astounding 77 times for 400 yards in the last two games.
Producing like he has over the last six weeks has even spurred talk of Mattison — like Jay Ajayi and Jeremy McNichols before him — leaving for the NFL after his junior season.
The offensive line found cohesion down the stretch as well, giving time for plays to develop and Mattison to find huge holes to run through.
The bowl game on December 26 gives Boise State and Mattison another shot at a Power 5 team. It won’t be on the grandest stage of a NY6 game, but the game against the Boston College Eagles (7-5) should be a good one. Boston College held Clemson to 27 points — 18 points under their average — and has one of the most talented and senior-laden front seven’s in the ACC.
Boston College front seven
The Eagles enter the bowl game on a three-game losing streak, but it’s hard to put a lot of the blame on the defense during this span.
A struggling offense forced the defense to be on the field more than usual and the result was allowing 353 rushing yards over the last two games.
Still, the front seven has been a force for most of 2018. In the Clemson game, the Tigers came into the contest averaging 265 yards per game on the ground. They left that game gaining only 121.
Up front, it’s a trio of seniors leading the way. Defensive ends Zach Allen and Wyatt Ray both had outstanding senior seasons. Though his stats took a dip from 2017, Allen still had a productive senior season. He had 15 tackles-for-loss, including 6.5 sacks, and had 61 tackles. Ray added nine sacks, helping Boston College collect 33 sacks so far in 2018.
Defensive tackle Ray Smith didn’t receive a lot of notoriety, but he takes on a lot and clogs the middle.
Three linebackers also had a huge part in keeping opponents in check on the ground. Graduate student Connor Strachan led the team with 91 tackles, adding 3 sacks and 8 tackles-for-loss.
A couple of sophomores were up next. Isaiah McDuffie had 85 tackles and 3.5 sacks while Max Richardson had 76 tackles and 9 tackles-for-loss.