BOISE — Boise State’s offense is getting a pass-catching target back in the fold as it loses another.
Junior receiver Geraldo Boldewijn is set to travel with the Broncos to Hattiesburg, Miss., for Saturday’s game against Southern Miss after serving a four-game suspension to start the season.
Boise State won’t be at full strength in the receiving department, however, as junior tight end Gabe Linehan is likely out for at least a month with a lingering hamstring injury.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be a month or longer, but he’s got some hamstring issues … he’ll be out for a while,” Boise State coach Chris Petersen said.
Linehan played in all four games this season, but often played a small role with his health a concern. He had one catch for 23 yards in the season opener at Michigan State. He had 23 catches for 252 yards and five touchdowns last season.
At tight end, redshirt freshman Holden Huff has five catches for 76 yards and true freshman Hayden Plinke has one catch for 14 yards.
“That’s a bummer (Linehan) isn’t with us,” Petersen said. “… The good thing is, they’ll get more practice reps now that we know.”
As Linehan steps to the sideline for the near future, another veteran in Boldewijn will be an option for quarterback Joe Southwick.
Boldewijn was suspended the first four games of last season, but had two touchdowns in his return to the field last Oct. 7. His role remains to be seen, Petersen said, but did praise the 6-foot-4, 215-pound wideout.
“He’ll be in there … another good guy to have in the mix,” Petersen said. “He’s been great on scout team. He’s done a really, really nice job.”
Boldewijn was fourth on the team in 2011 with 266 yards receiving on 19 catches.
More Ajayi on the horizon
In Boise State’s 32-29 win over New Mexico, redshirt freshman running back Jay Ajayi became the first freshman to pick up more than 100 yards on the ground for the Broncos since Matt Kaiserman in 2009.
The 6-foot, 222-pounder had 118 yards on six carries, all in the second quarter. He was not used in the second half with the Lobos storming back, so the Broncos relied on sixth-year senior D.J. Harper.
“(Ajayi) did some really good things, a guy that does those types of things, he’ll earn more reps and more carries,” Petersen said. “… We need someone more than just D.J.”
Coverage gets Pete’s praise
New Mexico had come into Saturday’s game in the top 20 nationally in kickoff returns, with sophomore Chase Clayton ranked No. 1 with 43.3 yards per return.
Boise State held the Lobos to just 48 yards on three returns, while had two returns for 30 yards before being knocked out of the game.
“Our kickoff team played as well as we’ve seen it play around here in a lot of years,” Petersen said.