A Cinderella Story: Big Shoes to Fill?

Photo via Pam Davis

For the Broncos, it’s the fourth time since 2010 that they will be playing post-season football in Sin City.

In the previous three adventures, the Broncos beat all three PAc-12 opponents with a combined 110-47 ratio.

This time around, the Broncos will be playing yet another Pac-12 school. That school? A familiar opponent that the Broncos have a 2-0 advantage over.

The Oregon Ducks and Boise State Broncos will take center stage, Saturday, 12/15 at 1:30 PM MTN.

In that game, one of the key elements to watch for is the Boise State run game.

The Run Game

The past decade has seen the run game flourish for the Broncos. A dominant force against a plethora of defenses, the Broncos have achieved something  no one else in the country has:

Adding to the impressive list is super sophomore Alexander Mattison.

Coming into the 2017 season, there was skepticism of his play mimicking the production of Jeremy McNichols and the other 1,000+ yard achievers. Through the first five games, that skepticism seemed inevitably authentic.

However, the talented back threw all doubt to the side, rushing for a total of 1,074 yards and 12 touchdowns.

All this was compiled up until exactly the 2:51 mark in the 3rd quarter of the Mountain West Championship game.

The running back was helped off the field, headed to the locker room, put on sweatpants, and meandered around on crutches for the rest of the night.

It’s a possibility that Mattison will not play Saturday against the Ducks. He, along with tight end Jake Roh, have been listed as game-time decisions.

In the wake of his possible absence, the Broncos will need to rely on senior Ryan Wolpin to take over the duty.

Filling in the Gap

Sr. Ryan Wolpin 

For senior running back Ryan Wolpin, it’s been a career of relentless effort and drive. Now entering the final game of his Bronco career, the senior might be “the guy” against the Ducks.

After the injury sustained by current starter Alexander Mattison, Wolpin carried the load for the Bronco offense.

Photo via Pam Davis

When asked about his filling in for Mattison, Wolpin said, “Regardless of when it happened, I was ready for the opportunity to step up.”- And step up he did!

Carrying guys while running the ball, constantly pounding his feet until the whistle blew, and scoring the final points of the game was the icing on the cake for the tough senior.

With Mattison possibly sidelined, Wolpin may need to carry the Broncos on his back one more time.

In a time where the Boise State running back position is like Cinderella’s glass slipper, Ryan Wolpin must look to prove his feet are a correct match.

RS-FR Robert Mahone

Helping Wolpin with the carries in the Las Vegas bowl game, especially if Mattison can’t play, will be red-shirt freshman Robert Mahone.

Mahone hasn’t contributed as much as some may have guessed in the beginning of the season. However, the young back has stepped up when needed.

In his only carry of the game against Colorado State, Mahone scored a much needed touchdown. Putting the Broncos within 6 points of the Rams, Mahone gave the Broncos the momentum. The Broncos would end up winning in OT, 59-52.

Heading into the matchup with the Ducks, Mahone’s number could be called upon multiple times.

Look for him to compliment Wolpin in their effort to blow past the Duck offense.


About Darrek Harris

Darrek Harris
Darrek was born and raised in Boise, ID. Currently, he has an associates degree in English from the College of Western Idaho. He plans to pursue a bachelors degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. He enjoys sports in many fashions: playing, cheering, and coaching. Bleed Blue, Go Broncos, Amen!

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