Boise State football will play in its fourth straight Mountain West title game

CT Thomas
Posted at 4:44 PM, Dec 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-12 18:44:56-05

This article was originally written by Ron Counts and Rachel Roberts for the Idaho Statesman.

The Boise State football team clinched its fourth straight appearance in the Mountain West championship game before it ever took the field Saturday at Wyoming.

San Jose State punched its ticket to the title game and the Broncos’ Friday night with a 30-20 win over Nevada. It’s the Spartans’ first appearance in the conference title game and Boise State’s fifth.

The championship game is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 19, but the venue hasn’t been set. If Boise State loses to Wyoming, San Jose State will host, but the game won’t be in CEFCU Stadium because of a ban on all contact sports in Santa Clara County, which is scheduled to run through Dec. 21.

The Spartans played their final regular-season home game at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, and a spokesperson for the Mountain West said if San Jose State hosts, the game will likely be held there.

Even if Boise State wins at Wyoming, San Jose State could end up hosting because it has a slight advantage in the computer rankings the conference uses for tiebreakers.

Boise State (4-1, 4-0 MW) and San Jose State (6-0, 6-0) were scheduled to play Nov. 28 in Boise, but the game was canceled less than 5 hours before kickoff.

The scheduling chaos continued this week for the Boise State men’s basketball team, which had its upcoming home game against Santa Clara scrapped for “various reasons.”

The Broncos were able to pick up a last-minute game with Weber State, which had its game against Utah State canceled because of a positive COVID-19 test within the Aggies’ program.

Boise State (3-1) and Weber State (2-0) will tip off at 2 p.m. Sunday in ExtraMile Arena. The game will be streamed live on the Mountain West Network, or fans can listen live on 670 AM.

“You’re crazy if you don’t think something will not only pop up but pop off,” Boise State coach Leon Rice told reporters in a Zoom call Saturday afternoon. “There’s gonna be games both ways.”

Weber State leads the all-time series 42-28, but the former Big Sky foes have not played since 2005.

Rice credited assistant coach Mike Burns with getting the game against the Wildcats arranged on short notice.

“The good thing about Mike is there’s probably nobody in the business more connected than he is,” Rice said. “He knows somebody on every staff in the country. It’s remarkable trying to stump him.”

With only four returners on their roster who logged minutes last season, five Division I transfers, two junior college transfers and three freshmen, Rice said it’s essential for the Broncos to log more minutes together.

“That’s the next step in evolving this team is getting more and more game experience,” Rice said. “And hopefully soon getting more and more game experience with everybody together.”

Arizona transfer Emmanuel Akot missed the Broncos’ first two games while in COVID-19 protocol. Then starter Marcus Shaver Jr. sat out the game against BYU with a foot injury, and a timetable for his return has not yet been determined. Devonaire Doutrive, another Arizona transfer, will be eligible at the start of the second semester.