Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion was selected as the Mountain West Conference offensive player of the week on Monday after leading the Bulldogs to a 28-17 victory over Boise State in their final regular-season game.
McMaryion, the graduate transfer from Oregon State, completed 23 of 36 passes for a career-high 332 yards and two touchdowns against the Broncos, hit 7 of his 11 throws on third downs and had a passing efficiency rating of 159.68, the highest Boise State had allowed in a conference game since 2015.
“I think he is getting better each week,” coach Jeff Tedford said. “I felt like that was kind of happening throughout the year, just his comfort level with how we game-plan and what we do. Each week he has a little more control of the offense and is more comfortable.”
McMaryion will certainly be a focal point in the return matchup against Boise State on Saturday in the Mountain West championship game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise.
“It’s an awkward situation playing back to back games, that’s for sure,” Fresno State offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer said.
But once installed, prepped and practiced on Saturday it will come down to adjustments and execution on the field.
“Certain situations come up and there’s enough that they do that they can pull from, I’m sure. There’s enough that we do that we can change things up a little bit,” Tedford said. “Really, it’s like preparing for another game. It really is. They do a great job with their schemes and have a lot of looks they can come at you with.
“It’s study of a year, really. It’s not just about last week’s, game. Last week’s game was one game. They have a huge arsenal on both sides of the ball and we have things that we can adjust to, as well. We’re just going to see how the game unfolds. It’s a situational game. We just have to make sure that we execute. They’re going to make their plays and hopefully we make ours from time to time.”
McMaryion has closed some rough home/road splits over the past month – six games into the season, three at home and three on the road, he was averaging 11.3 yards per pass attempt with an efficiency rating is 197.96 at home and just 5.5 yards per pass attempt with an efficiency rating of 107.16 on the road.
Over the past three road games, all wins, he has averaged 7.8 yards per pass attempt with an efficiency rating of 139.86.
“Coach DeBoer has done a phenomenal job with Marcus and Marcus has put in the time and energy and I think his experience over time playing at a high level at Oregon State really benefited him as far as his preparation and his conceptual understanding of what goes on,” Tedford said.
“Game plans change from week to week and we do different things, there’s timing involved and all that stuff and so I just think he continues to improve each and every week.”
McMaryion was not available on Monday – Bulldogs players have the day off.
Madsen out – Defensive tackle Nate Madsen will not play in the Mountain West title game after suffering a leg injury in the victory over the Broncos, the Bulldogs losing a senior and a key cog in the defensive line rotation.
“We don’t know the extent of his injury, but I’m sure it will be severe enough that he won’t be ready in a week,” Tedford said.
Redshirt freshman Kevin Atkins started at that spot at Wyoming and against Boise State, but Madsen had started the first 10 games. He has been in on 16 tackles including 10 solo and had 4.5 tackles for loss, second on the team among interior defensive linemen.
Milestone ahead – KeeSean Johnson has at least one reception in 34 consecutive game and if the fourth-year junior catches a pass in the Mountain West title game he will break a school record set by Henry Ellard, who caught a pass in 34 in a row from 1979 to ’82.
Opportunity figures to be there. In the Bulldogs’ four-game winning streak, McMaryion has targeted Johnson 10 times against Brigham Young, 12 times at Hawaii, nine times at Wyoming and eight times against Boise State.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
FRESNO STATE VS. BOISE STATE
- Saturday: 4:45 p.m., Albertsons Stadium (36,387) in Boise, Idaho
- Records: Bulldogs 9-3, 7-1 Mountain West; Broncos 9-3, 7-1
- TV/radio: ESPN/KFIG (AM 940), KGST (AM 1600).
- Of note: The Bulldogs are playing in their third Mountain West Conference championship game, having beaten Utah State in 2013 and lost at Boise State in 2014. The Bulldogs have 18 players from that 2014 team on the roster and four who played in that game – wideout Da’Mari Scott, outside linebacker Justin Green, kicker Kody Kroening and defensive tackle Nate Madsen. Madsen has been ruled out of the game due to a leg injury suffered in the Bulldogs’ victory over Boise State in their final regular-season game. Boise State is 8-1 against Fresno State on its home field and has won eight in a row, all of them coming by 10 or more points. The Bulldogs’ victory was in their first trip to Boise in 1984.