2017 season: one big curveball for Rypien

How is Brett Rypien feeling these days? Outwardly, the Boise State quarterback is all-in with the formula that has kept the offense afloat during a three-game winning streak. But this rotation with Montell Cozart can’t be easy. Rypien has aspirations of playing in the NFL, and this season is doing him no favors. He has lost his vertical passing game—but then, there really aren’t any vertical receivers at his disposal outside of Cedrick Wilson. And that has affected his production. Rypien’s pass efficiency rating is only 116, while Cozart’s is 162, a number that would lead the Mountain West if he had enough passing attempts. You keep thinking that Rypien is just one surge away from becoming his old self and throwing for 400 yards. Wilson might have to be the Broncos’ first 300-yard receiver, though.

How will it play out when Boise State takes on Utah State tomorrow night in Logan? Coach Bryan Harsin says its not a situation where Rypien is the set-up man and Cozart is the closer. “It’s a little bit of a feel thing,” said Harsin. “It’s kind of the way we’re operating right now.” Harsin is very aware of the pressure mid-drive switches at QB can (and are) putting on opposing defenses. Cozart, the leading rusher among Mountain West quarterbacks with 260 yards, four touchdowns and a 4.5-yard average, forces shifting on the fly when he comes in. And Cozart says Rypien helps him force the defense’s hand. “Brett and I feed off one another really well, and every time he’s come off the field he’s telling me what he’s seeing and every time I come off I’m doing the same thing,” said Cozart after the win over Wyoming.

Watch the Boise State defensive line tomorrow night at Utah State. That will tell you how far along USU redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan Love really is as the Aggies transition to him as their starter. Love was Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week after having his way with UNLV last Saturday. But he didn’t face much pressure from the Rebels. Love was sacked once, while on the blue turf, wily Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen was chased all night and was sacked four times by the Broncos. Boise State leads the conference in sacks with 21—11 of them coming from Jabril Frazier and Curtis Weaver. Utah State is last in the league in sacks allowed with 24.

The Game of the Week in the Mountain West is at Fresno State, not because of the matchup, but because of the amazing story unfolding for a team that went 1-11 last year. Tomorrow the Bulldogs host UNLV and are just about a layup to go 5-0 in conference, as they totally control the West Division. Fresno State has not allowed a touchdown in the past nine quarters, an active streak that leads the nation. If Boise State is fortunate enough to win the Mountain Division next month, it could face the Bulldogs two consecutive weeks. The Broncos wrap up the regular season in Fresno on Thanksgiving weekend. Of course, they wouldn’t care who they play in the Mountain West championship game so long as they get there.

If Kaden Elliss can replicate what he did last week against an SEC program, Idaho should feel good about its chances tomorrow in Moscow versus Louisiana-Monroe, a middling Sun Belt team. Elliss, primarily a linebacker, has become an invaluable two-way player, seeing duty at fullback and tight end in each of the past six games. He scored his first offensive touchdown at Missouri on a touchdown pass from Scott Linehan. Elliss also led Idaho with nine tackles, including three for loss. He is the only player in the country this year to register a TD catch and a sack in the same game. In LaGrande tomorrow, College of Idaho tries to keep its hopes of a winning season alive—at 3-5, the Coyotes need to win out. Quarterback Darius-James Peterson is 180 yards away from becoming the Yotes’ first 1,000-yard rusher in 60 years.

Kellen Moore hung onto his roster spot on Tuesday, but he didn’t on Thursday. The former Boise State great has been cut by the Dallas Cowboys to make room for tight end Blake Jarwin, who was signed off the team’s practice squad. Whether Moore lands back on the Cowboys practice squad or not, can his coaching career be far behind now? He’ll have to evaluate the best way to make a living moving forward. Moore’s capable of coaching, like, tomorrow. All we ever wanted to see, really, was for Kellen to actually take a snap in the NFL, and he did get to play three games at the end of the 2015 season. In the last one, he was 33-of-48 for 435 yards and three touchdowns in the Cowboys’ season finale against Washington. The yardage was the sixth-highest number in Dallas history.

Boise City Council member Scot Ludwig said yesterday on KTIK that the city and Agon Sports and Entertainment had already been informed of this, but Boise State announced earlier in the day that it will not be a part of the proposed downtown stadium project. Instead, the university’s release said, the school plans to “construct a collegiate baseball stadium on or near campus.” BSU cited financial concerns: “It became clear that a long-term lease would be less financially prudent than a project that Boise State could either build or lease to own.” Did the court of public opinion figure into the university’s withdrawal? We’ll never know. Does this signal a death knell for the controversial downtown facility? Hardly, said Ludwig. It will only free up dates for other sports, concerts and events in the community, he said.

The Idaho Steelheads face the Quad City Mallards for the first time tonight and Saturday in Moline, IL. We looked it up on the map for you. The Quad Cities is a region of four cities in northwest Illinois and Southeastern Iowa. The core consists of five principal cities: Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Rock Island, Moline and East Moline in Illinois. Now to the hockey. The Steelheads are working on converting shots into scores. Idaho has averaged 37.8 shots per game this season, fifth in the ECHL. But the Steelheads are scoring only 2.6 goals per game, ranked 22nd in the league.

Basketball shorts: College of Idaho gets a head start on its exhibition game against Boise State next Thursday at Taco Bell Arena, as the Coyotes open their season tonight against Northwest Indian College in (ironically) the 31st annual Taco Bell Shoot-Out in Caldwell. The Yotes have finished three of the past four seasons in the top 15 in NAIA Division II and made the second round of nationals last March. And Idaho’s first taste of real opposition this season will be a rich one tomorrow, as the Vandals face Oregon in Eugene in a charity exhibition. The Ducks will be donating all proceeds from the game to the Red Cross to help bring relief to those affected by recent wildfires in Oregon.

This Day In Sports…October 27, 2002, 15 years ago today:

The team then known as the Anaheim Angels win their first World Series, finishing off the San Francisco Giants in Game 7 with a 4-1 victory. The Angels roster included eight former Boise Hawks—one of them, righthander John Lackey, became the first rookie to win a Game 7 of the Series since 1909. And the game-winning hit came from another ex-Hawk, Garret Anderson, who won it by clubbing a bases-clearing double.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)