It was nice to see a Brett Rypien renaissance Saturday night in Boise State’s 41-14 rout of Utah State. It was like the turnover-fueled nightmare in 2015 in Logan never happened. From the 32-yard strike to AJ Richardson on the first play from scrimmage to his kneel-down at the end of the game it was, let’s say, the Rypien we saw during the first half of 2016. It had been a rough season for him to that point. Rypien had averaged just 137 passing yards and had a low-level pass efficiency rating of 116. Against Utah State, the junior came out slingin’ it, with 260 yards passing and 70 percent accuracy. His three touchdown passes were more than he had the rest of the season combined. Rypien posted a pass efficiency rating of 188 for the night—and he did not turn the ball over.
Rypien’s night was symptomatic of the Boise State offense coming out of hiding. Yes, there were more Bronco-esque numbers than have been seen all season. After averaging 28 points per game and just 337 yards—and only 197 passing—coming into the game, the Broncos finally had their first 40-point game in regulation this season. They also piled up 533 yards, their first 400 and 500-yard games in regulation, all rolled into one. It a was a retro look, with 370 passing yards. The verticality was back, as six different players caught passes of 20 yards or longer. Rypien and Montell Cozart averaged four more yards per attempt than they had coming in, and they threw for five TDs after the offense had only nine through the air entering Logan.
A lot is being made of Boise State becoming bowl-eligible for the 16th straight season, but let me throw an “au-contraire” in here. The Broncos are eligible to play in the 16th straight bowl game, yes. But they’re actually bowl-eligible for the 19th consecutive season. This would be their 18th bowl in the last 19 years. And in the season they missed, they were eligible to play in one with an 8-4 record but were passed over for the WAC’s spot in the 2001 Humanitarian Bowl in favor of Louisiana Tech. That’s what spawned Boise State’s “Leave No Doubt” slogan (and a 12-1 record) in 2002. So it’s 19 straight seasons. There you go.
Just as the Boise State wide receivers not named Cedrick Wilson are rising to the occasion, the Broncos land another wideout for the 2018 recruiting class. Stefan Cobbs, a 6-0,170-pounder from undefeated Fossil Ridge High in Keller, TX, gave his verbal Saturday afternoon, just in time to watch AJ Richardson, Sean Modster, Octavius Evans and CT Thomas all make an impact on the Aggies. Boise State began the weekend with a commitment from the amazingly versatile Demitri Washington from Santa Fe Christian High in Solana Beach, CA. Washington said he picked the Broncos over Arizona, Cal, Washington State and San Diego State. At 6-5, 235 pounds, he’s a quarterback, wide receiver and defensive end (imagine that), and said he expects Boise State to utilize him in its STUD end position.
The Mountain West was not immune to the rash of upsets in college football Saturday. There were two huge ones, as Colorado State was ripped by Air Force 45-28, and Fresno State was shocked by UNLV 26-16. The Rams had the look of a team that was looking ahead, trying to forecast their Mountain West championship game opponent. Same thing with the Bulldogs, for that matter. Now Boise State is the only team still unbeaten in conference play. It’s not the end of the world for either upset victim, though. Fresno State still controls the West Division, and if CSU wins out (including a takedown of the Broncos November 11 in Fort Collins), it will win the Mountain Division.
Idaho had visions of Appalachian State dancing through its head in the fourth quarter in the Kibbie Dome Saturday. Louisiana-Monroe had whittled a 24-point deficit down to eight with just under six minutes left. Then the Warhawks drove to the Vandals’ three-yard line in the final minute. The Idaho defense stopped ULM on fourth-and-goal with five seconds remaining for an emotional 31-23 win. Quarterback Matt Linehan has his best day of the season for the Vandals, throwing for 360 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. Linehan also threw Idaho’s longest TD pass of the year—and it went to a linebacker. Kaden Elliss struck again, pulling in a 45-yarder for a score.
College of Idaho overcame 558 yards in total offense by Eastern Oregon Saturday with a slew of big plays themselves in completing a season sweep of the Mountaineers with a 38-20 road win. Quarterback Darius-James Peterson had a 58-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, followed by a 78-yard TD dash by redshirt freshman Dominic Garzoli as the Yotes pulled away from Eastern. How about Garzoli’s stat line: three carries for 105 yards. Peterson rushed for 99 yards and added 179 yards and two touchdowns through the air. After providing a turnover-fest the week before at Southern Oregon, C of I gave it away only once in LaGrande.
In men’s hoops, College of Idaho got a jump in prep for its exhibition against Boise State Thursday in Taco Bell Arena by splitting a pair of games at the 31st annual Taco Bell Shootout in Caldwell. The Coyotes blitzed an overmatched Northwest Indian College squad 130-67 Friday before falling to Ottawa University of Arizona 67-66 Saturday. Ottawa won on a three-pointer with three seconds remaining. The University Of Idaho got its feet wet with an 81-57 loss to Oregon at a charity exhibition in Eugene. The special event raised more than $17,000 for the Red Cross to help those affected by wildfires in Oregon.
The Idaho Steelheads have now lost four straight games after a road sweep at the hands of the Quad City Mallards. Friday’s loss came in a shootout, and Saturday’s was in overtime, both by a 3-2 count. The Steelheads are putting up a phenomenal number of shots on goal, but not many are finding the net. Idaho fired a combined 107 shots at Quad City and had four goals to show for it. The Steelies’ 59-shot effort Friday was just one shy of the Steelheads’ regular-season ECHL record, set in February of 2006 when the team logged 60 shots against Bakersfield.
This Day In Sports…October 30, 1982:
New Idaho coach Dennis Erickson brings the Vandals into Bronco Stadium to try to break a five-game losing streak to Boise State. Not only does Idaho snap the skid, it begins “The Streak,” as the Vandals would win the next 12 games against the Broncos. On this night, junior quarterback Ken Hobart, thriving in Erickson’s new offense, would lead Idaho to a 24-17 triumph. Boise State would match the streak with its 12th straight win in the rivalry in 2010, a 52-14 victory at the Kibbie Dome before the series went dormant.
(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.)