Doug Martin is someone not used to standing on the sidelines, which made Nov. 12’s home loss to TCU even more difficult for the Boise State senior running back.
Martin only provided pass blocking and ran a few routes on the final drive in the loss as an ankle sprain kept him out.
“It was real hard to see that, to be out and not be able to contribute to the team,” Martin said.
The senior had played defense early in his career, scored 40 touchdowns, returned two dozen kickoffs and ran for nearly 3,000 yards in his career heading into Saturday’s game at San Diego State.
Running on the ankle, which he said was about “90 percent,” Martin played a full game for the first time since picking up 125 yards on the ground Oct. 22 against Air Force. He had four carries for 9 yards Nov. 5 at UNLV before hurting his ankle.
Finally close to normal, Martin had a career-high 36 carries for 129 yards and two touchdowns Saturday against the Aztecs.
“He looked good,” quarterback Kellen Moore said. “He played well, had some big runs.”
With fellow senior D.J. Harper available on an emergency basis, it was hardly apparent Martin had been battling an injury himself, as he grinded out his 14th 100-yard game in which his longest run was a 22-yard touchdown.
“I think Doug probably wasn’t even 100 percent, but he’s close,” coach Chris Petersen said. “It’ll be nice to get him 100 percent next week.”
Martin now has 3,017 career rushing yards, sixth in Boise State history, and his 885 yards this season have him poised to become the fifth Bronco to post two 1,000-yard seasons. His 38 rushing touchdowns are third in school history.
Only Cedric Minter’s 38 carries against San Jose State on Oct. 14, 1978 were more by a Bronco than Martin’s 36 on Saturday night.
“It’s always nice to have a rhythm as a running back,” Martin said.
If Martin could take anything back from the Broncos’ 52-35 win, it would be the fumble he had as the Broncos led 45-14 and threatening to ice the game. Martin, on the 14th play of the drive, coughed it up at the San Diego State 3-yard line. The Aztecs wound up scoring on the ensuing drive.
“I got the turnover in the red zone — gotta shake that off and keep playing,” Martin said.
That fumble likely made it sure that Martin remained in the game, and he did bounce back, scoring his 22-yarder with 4 minutes, 11 seconds to play where he bounced off the line of scrimmage, went wide left and dove in for the score.
“That was just my instincts,” he said.