This Day In Sports: 28-3 deficit, Boise State style

November 11, 2017, five years ago today: Boise State’s biggest comeback as an FBS school, as the Broncos rally from 25 points down late in the first half to stun Colorado State in overtime 59-52. There were actually two 25-point deficits as the Rams were racking up a staggering 335 yards before halftime, the first one 28-3 early in the second quarter, stirring memories of the identical hole the New England Patriots were in nine months earlier against the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl. The Pats came back. Could the Broncos?

Sophomore Alexander Mattison fueled the rally with three touchdowns, beginning with a dazzling 26-yard TD run with a minute and a half left in the second quarter, cutting into a 35-10 CSU lead. Then Mattison sprinted 70 yards for a score in the first minute of the second half. Boise State got it down to 35-31 on a touchdown pass from Brett Rypien to Alec Dhaenens. But alas, the Broncos found themselves down 52-38 with three minutes to go in regulation. At that point,’s metrics had the Rams’ chance of winning at 99.7 percent.

So here we go. First, Rypien hit Sean Modster for a 13-yard TD. Then, it was the Cedrick Wilson story. Already wearing a large brace on his upper left arm and shoulder, the Broncos’ star wide receiver absorbed more blows and left the field after a 48-yard catch in the second quarter and went to the locker room. But Wilson returned after halftime and re-entered the game. He made the most impactful catch of his Boise State career not on a pass, but on Joel Velasquez’s onside kick with 1:41 left in regulation, extending his pain-wracked arms to gather in the ball off a perfect sky-high bounce.

Rypien marched the Broncos down again and connected with Jake Roh to tie the game and send it into overtime. Boise State got the ball first, and Mattison capped his night with his third score of the game. On Colorado State’s possession, Leighton Vander Esch forced a fumble, Tyler Horton recovered it, and it was game-set-match. Mattison finished with 242 rushing yards, the most in a road game in Broncos history. The dramatic win preserved Boise State’s march to the Mountain West championship.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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