Still re­liv­ing beat­ing Boise State? So is Rivers, who says fi­nal play was a sur­prise

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Sports - BY ROBERT KUWADA [email protected]­

Go 12-2, win a Moun­tain West Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship and a bowl game and there are go­ing to be some plays that stand out, even months later at the kick­off to a new sea­son.

Last week at the Moun­tain West me­dia days, Fresno State run­ning back Ron­nie Rivers re­called his sig­na­ture mo­ment of 2018, in over­time in the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game at Boise State. It wasn’t what Rivers and his team­mates were ex­pect­ing.

The Bull­dogs had a third-and­goal from the Boise State 1 and the blue turf was cov­ered in snow. Boise State kicked a field goal on its pos­ses­sion to start the over­time, mean­ing Fresno State could win it with a touch­down.

Fresno State called a time­out to get out of one play and into an­other.

“When they gave us the fi­nal play call every­body was like, ‘That’s the play? That’s what you guys want to run?’” Rivers said Tues­day. “’We haven’t even repped it that much in prac­tice.“

The play, an op­tion with quar­ter­back Mar­cus McMaryion pitch­ing the foot­ball to Rivers when the Boise State de­fen­sive end crashed hard, worked per­fectly.

Rivers slipped a tackle and raced into the end zone, the Bull­dogs win­ning 19-16 and aveng­ing their only loss dur­ing con­fer­ence play.

One thing Bull­dogs fans might ex­pect – Rivers, who this sea­son is on the watch list for the Doak Walker Award, has watched that play and that game. A lot.

“I’ve seen it prob­a­bly … maybe 50 to 100 times,” he said. “I’ve watched the full game prob­a­bly at least 10 to 15. It never gets old watch­ing those type of games and re­mem­ber­ing the feel­ings of those ex­pe­ri­ences.”


Fresno State run­ning back Ron­nie Rivers runs past the div­ing tackle at­tempt by Boise State line­backer Will Heffner to score a game-win­ning touch­down in the Bull­dogs’ 19-16 vic­tory at Boise State in the Moun­tain West cham­pi­onship game on Dec. 1, 2018.

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