FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Boise State coach Chris Petersen can’t remember the last time his team had to deal with this many injuries.
“It’s been a while since it’s been like this, I don’t know,” Petersen said. “It’s been a lot of guys. … It’s just that point in the season.”
He’d also probably have a tough time remembering all the injuries the Broncos have suffered this season. A team already suffering from several key injuries saw its lengthy injury list only get longer Saturday as several players left due to various injuries.
Leading tackler Ben Weaver was injured and didn’t play in the second half while Tanner Vallejo, Darian Thompson, Gabe Perez, Jay Ajayi and Justin Taimatuia missed time during the game due to injuries.
Things got so bad for the Broncos that defensive end Kharyee Marshall had to move to defensive tackle — a position he’s never even practiced. And that’s after he suffered a hand injury early in the game but eventually returned.
Robert Ash also received significant playing time on the defensive line after not playing much all season.
“We’ve got guys playing in positions they’ve never even practiced in,” Petersen said. “That’s just how it is at this point in the season. Hopefully, we get this bye and get some guys back. … A lot of credit goes to (Marshall). Tyler Horn was sick most of the night. It’s just that point in the season and hopefully we’ll get them back after the bye.
“The thing is, we really appreciate how hard they play and Robert Ash pressured the quarterback and made some plays. Hey, we got what we got right now and those guys are battling and we’re really proud of them for going that hard.”
Starting senior defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe missed Saturday’s game entirely after coming down with concussion-like symptoms following a practice earlier in the week. Tjong-A-Tjoe did not make the trip to Fort Collins.
Wide receiver Kirby Moore missed his fifth straight game Saturday due to a leg injury. Other key injuries include quarterback Joe Southwick, who suffered a broken ankle on Oct. 19 vs. Nevada.
MILLER MAKES HISTORY
Boise State wide receiver Matt Miller became the first Bronco wide receiver to record at least 50 catches in three different seasons Saturday when he had six grabs for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
Miller, who has 53 catches on the season, also became the 14th Boise State receiver to surpass 2,000 receiving yards for his career.
“We have to make sure we keep him really involved in the game,” Petersen said. “We have to figure out ways to make sure the ball is going his way. It was a little better tonight.”
It was Miller’s first multi-touchdown game since he had two on Nov. 5, 2011 at UNLV.
PAGE HAS EJECTION OVERTURNED
Boise State defensive back Cleshawn Page was temporally ejected for targeting in the third quarter before video review overturned the call. Page leveled Colorado State’s Joe Hansley at full speed just as he caught a punt return.
A kick-catch interference penalty was called, as was targeting. But a video review showed that Page’s shoulder hit Hansley in the shoulder and not the helmet and he was allowed to remain in the game. The 15-yard penalty remained.
“I didn’t think it was a very smart play,” Petersen said. “It wasn’t targeting and they got the call right. But we have to be very careful when we’re running down there full speed with the nature of how the game is now and keeping kids safe, not losing yourself for a game, all those things.”
It would have been the second game in a row that Boise State had a player ejected for targeting after safety Dillon Lukehart was ejected in the second half of last week’s 37-20 loss to BYU.
Lukehart was suspended for the first half of Saturday’s game and watched from the locker room but played in the second half.
AJAYI REACHES 1,000 YARDS
Ajayi had 13 carries for 91 yards to give him 1,008 rushing yards on the season. It’s the fifth consecutive season that Boise State has had a 1,000-yard rusher. He’s the 13th Bronco to achieve the feat.
The sophomore reached 1,000 yards in nine games to become the fastest Bronco to reach the mark since Ian Johnson did it in eight games in 2006.
The Boise State defense recorded a turnover for the first time since the Utah State game on Oct. 12, a span of nearly 10 quarters. Gabe Perez forced a fumble on quarterback Garrett Grayson in the second quarter and linebacker Tyler Gray recovered. … Linebacker Jonathan Brown returned to action for the first time since suffering a knee injury in the season opener at Washington. … Sean Wale boomed a 63-yard punt late in the first quarter to reverse field position. … Quarterback Grant Hedrick executed a pooch punt in the third quarter. His 34-yard punt was downed at the CSU 4-yard line. … Boise State’s captains were quarterback Grant Hedrick, wide receiver Aaron Burks, defensive end Beau Martin and defensive tackle Tyler Horn. … There was no Hammer winner for the Broncos. … Female line judge Catherine Conti worked the game on the Colorado State side of the field.