After a masterful first half at Oregon State two weeks ago, Brett Rypien had been just plodding along, winning games with pedestrian numbers—some big plays and some head-scratching misses. Rypien got back in the fast lane in the first half at New Mexico Friday night, touched by the death of his grandmother and throwing for 368 yards and five touchdowns before the break in Boise State’s 49-21 win at New Mexico. Those who were hoping Cedrick Wilson’s role would increase were rewarded, as Rypien got the junior wide receiver the ball to the tune of nine catches for 167 yards and three touchdowns. Old reliable Thomas Sperbeck was right there with him against the secondary-challenged Lobos with nine grabs for 198 yards and two TDs.
A coach’s second-favorite statistic, behind turnover ratio, is pass efficiency rating. Rypien’s was not what he’s accustomed to over his first four games. A completion percentage of 58.6 percent and six touchdowns against three interceptions produced a rating of 136.6, just slight above average—and just fourth-best in the Mountain West. At New Mexico, Rypien completed 75 percent of his throws for 391 yards and the five TDs, and a lights-out efficiency rating of 251.2. Now, Rypien’s completion percentage is back up to 61.5, and he has 11 touchdown passes to three picks. That sounds a lot better. His new season pass efficiency rating is 157.2, best in the conference. (Reminder—the rule of thumb: 110 is bad, 130 is average, and 150 is good.)
The digital video of their performance against the triple-option is there for all the Broncos to see. Boise State allowed 382 yards rushing and 6.2 yards per carry. But the Broncos got the Lobos in third-and-long enough to force them to the air—and they were a helpless bunch there, going just 4-of-15 for 39 yards, one after-the-fact touchdown, and one interception. Boise State was stout inside against the run, save for Tyrone Owens’ 62-yard TD dash. What the Broncos can file away for Air Force next month is what to do against the quarterback on the option. It was there they got gashed, as Lamar Jordan rushed 21 times for 139 yards (and that’s including 35 yards lost on sacks).
Idaho can start to do some bowl-dreaming now. The Vandals’ dramatic 34-31 win at Louisiana-Monroe on Austin Rehkow’s game-ending field goal evened Idaho’s record at 3-3 midway through the 2016 season. It was the first game-winner of Rehkow’s career. The Vandals have won two of their last three games—both on the road as underdogs. As expected, the running game was going to be key against the Warhawks, and Aaron Duckworth responded with 121 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Also key was the Idaho defense, which offset the 523 yards it allowed with three inteceptions, including the third pick of the season by linebacker Kaden Elliss.
Bowl projections at ESPN.com have taken an interesting turn. With Houston’s loss to Navy, both Mark Schlabach and Brett McMurphy are projecting Boise State to make a New Year’s Six bowl, specifically the Cotton Bowl. The former has the Broncos facing Baylor—the latter pairs them against Tennessee. Also, both predict Washington, after its annihilation of Oregon Saturday night, to face Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal in the Peach Bowl (both have the Crimson Tide winning, though). And those Idaho bowl dreams? Schlabach has Idaho making the Arizona Bowl and facing Wyoming; McMurphy also places the Vandals in Tucson, with Nevada the opponent.
It’s been a season of heartbreakers for College of Idaho. The Coyotes lost their third straight game Saturday, falling 28-25 to Carroll College at Simplot Stadium. The last two defeats have been by a combined seven points. The Yotes tried to get it done through the air this time, completing a program-record 34 passes. Eleven of them went to tight end Marcus Lenhardt for 161 yards, both career highs for the junior from Eagle. Lenhardt has now passed the legendary R.C. Owens for the No. 1 spot on the all-time C of I receptions list with 117 career catches. Yotes quarterback Tyler Cox was 29-of-39 on the day for 281 yards and a touchdown.
Demarcus Lawrence made his season debut for Dallas yesterday after a four-game NFL suspension. But the former Boise State star didn’t start and wasn’t a factor in the Cowboys’ 28-14 win over Cincinnati. Orlando Scandrick was inactive again for Dallas with his troublesome hamstring, while Tyrone Crawford made two tackles in the victory. Elsewhere, Jay Ajayi hopes to hang on to his newfound starting spot with Miami, but his numbers continue to be just “okay.” Ajayi rushed 13 times for 42 yards yesterday in the Dolphins’ 30-17 loss to Tennessee and made one catch for no gain. The Jay-Train needs a breakout game.
Former Boise Hawks dotted the playoff scene over the weekend. Toronto punched its ticket to the AL Championship Series last night when Josh Donaldson doubled and then scored on an error in the bottom of the ninth to give the Blue Jays a 7-6 win over the Texas Rangers. The Cubs burst out to a two games-to-none lead on San Francisco, launched by Javier Baez’s game-winning solo home run Friday night. On Saturday, the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, the former Cub and Hawk, was handled in a 5-2 Cubs win, helped by Willson Contreras’ 2-for-3 day. It’s win or go home for the Giants tonight. Yesterday, ex-Hawk Rich Hill was cruising along in his first playoff start for the Dodgers when Jose Lobaton socked a three-run homer for Washington. The Nationals went on to win 5-2, evening the series at a game apiece.
Among the five players added to the Idaho Steelheads training camp roster yesterday were three Steelies veterans, forwards Rob Linsmayer and Joe Basaraba and defenseman Charlie Dodero. Linsmayer and Basaraba played for Idaho last season, and Dodero was a Steelhead from 2013-15. All three were released from their tryouts with the AHL’s Texas Stars. The Steelies play the first of their two exhibitions against the Utah Grizzlies tonight in West Valley City.
Word is spreading quickly on this. Duane Dlouhy, the tight end who caught the winning touchdown for Boise State in the 1980 Division I-AA national championship game, is battling Stage 4 Colorectal Cancer. Dlouhy was diagnosed in August, more than a year after experiencing symptoms while enjoying Memorial Day weekend in 2015 on Lake Coeur d’Alene. After months of medical attention, it wasn’t until he was seeking a life insurance policy that tests detected he may have cancer. Currently, his family says the cancer has metastasized to his lungs and a lymph node and is considered inoperable. Dlouhy has been accepted at the Mayo Clinic and will travel there for treatment later this month. There’s an active GoFundMe campaign set up for him on Facebook.
This Day In Sports…October 10, 1964:
It’s No. 7 Michigan against No. 9 Michigan State in East Lansing at a time when the Spartans were dominating the series. But the Wolverines would defeat MSU 17-10 on a trick-play halfback pass for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. The victory would launch Michigan to a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl championship. Michigan State never recovered that season, finishing at 4-5, but would win the national championship each of the following two years.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)