The last time we saw Brett Rypien in a real game, he was pretty good. Then again, the Las Vegas Bowl was a microcosm of his career—some incredible highs, and a few lows. Rypien threw for 362 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Oregon and completed some jaw-dropping throws to Cedrick Wilson. He also tossed two interceptions in the end zone, one of them resulting in a 100-yard pick-six. Rypien’s senior year is all about accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative; it’s about consistency. That’s the missing link keeping him from joining the pedestal with the Broncos’ all-time greats. Does Boise State have to go undefeated for Rypien’s career to be considered a success? That’s patently unfair. He needs to play the best he can possibly play. The team’s record hinges on too many variables.
After Rypien’s standout performance in the Spring Game in April, the command he reportedly had during the Broncos’ player-run practices this summer, and his peers voting him a captain for the third straight season, it would be a shock if there was a sequel to his unsettling day on the blue turf on Labor Day weekend last year. Against Troy, Rypien was just 13-of-23 for 160 yards with a pick-six and a lost fumble before Montell Cozart finished the 24-13 victory. Rypien had to stare down adversity throughout September, getting knocked into next week on a sack at Washington State and not throwing a touchdown pass the entire month. But his tent did not fold. Far from it.
It’s been well over two months since Boise State had a new commitment for the 2019 recruiting class, but the Broncos snared one out of Nevada’s backyard last night. Benjamin Dooley, a 6-5, 279-pound offensive lineman from Churchill County High in Fallon, announced his decision on Twitter. Dooley reportedly also had offers from Cal, Washington State, San Diego State and UNLV, as well as the Wolf Pack. Hailing from a small school in the Silver State as he does, it brings to mind the twins from Elko, Jeff and Pete Cavender. Both were gritty in the trenches in the mid-2000’s, and both worked their way into Boise State’s starting lineup. Pete Cavender, of course, is now entering his 10th season in the Bronco radio booth with Bob Behler.
Speaking of the Las Vegas Bowl, if you watched, you’re probably viewing Oregon quarterback Jordan Herbert one of two ways. It’s either, “I don’t get why the experts think he’s so good,” or, “Boise State’s defense did an incredible job against a top-flight QB.” ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has his new 2019 “Big Board” out and has Herbert going No. 15 overall in next spring’s NFL Draft. “Herbert jumps into the top quarterback spot from my way-too-early Big Board,” writes Kiper. “His decision-making has improved, and he finished all the way up at No. 12 in FBS in Total QBR last season, even after missing five games with a broken collarbone. With only nine interceptions in 15 starts, Herbert takes care of the ball, too. He’s athletic for his size, and I think he’s a sleeper candidate for the Heisman. Watch out.” We’ll be watching.
The Mountain West has five contests with the Power 5 in Week 1. These are the measuring sticks for the conference, and they don’t often go well. There are only 17 such matchups this season after 21 last year (the MW went 4-17). Tomorrow night it’s Utah State at No. 12 Michigan State, San Diego State at No. 13 Stanford and Colorado State versus Colorado State in the Rocky Mountain Showdown. On Saturday, Wyoming hosts Washington State in Laramie and UNLV visits No. 15 USC. Do you sense any victories in that bunch? I’m not counting out the Aztecs, and the Cowboys should give Wazzu plenty of trouble.
After a 5-6 debut last year, former Boise State coach Dan Hawkins begins his second season at UC Davis. The Aggies, celebrating their 100th season, open tonight at San Jose State, and they’re expected to be good—they’re ranked 22nd in the HERO Sports preseason FCS Top 25. Wouldn’t Hawk love a win over a Mountain West school? Hawk and the Ags head back to the Bay Area for a tilt at Stanford on September 15. Chris Petersen’s fifth season at Washington starts Saturday. The Huskies face their toughest opener of the Coach Pete era, facing Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff In Atlanta. You could argue that Boise State filled that bill three years ago, but hey, this is War Eagle, and it’s a short jaunt for Tigers fans. UW is No. 6 in the AP Poll, and Auburn is No. 9.
NFL Preseason Week 4 starts and finishes tonight. Everybody plays—16 games. There were 20 former Boise State players on NFL rosters going into this week. Mike Prater combed through ESPN.com’s projections for 53-man rosters after tomorrow’s massive cuts, and he found 14 or 15 Broncos remaining, depending on Kamalei Correa’s status at Tennessee. Two mild surprises among those predicted to make it: Donte Deayon with the New York Giants and Jeron Johnson in Dallas.
Chanceller James has already been released by the 49ers. Other players projected to be cut: Rees Odhiambo and Marcus Henry in Seattle, Jeremy McNichols in San Francisco, and Jonathan Moxey at Arizona. Hats off to Henry for making it this far, though. It’s highly unusual to see an undrafted free agent who has never played an NFL down get this many opportunities three years after his college career ended. But the former Boise State center was re-signed by the Seahawks August 11 after being cut early in training camp.
Trailing Hillsboro 3-0 midway through the 4th inning last night at Memorial Stadium, the Boise Hawks started to chip away, first with a two-run homer in the bottom of the frame by Luke Morgan. The Hawks carved out the tying run in the seventh on an RBI ground-out by Trey Jacobs III. Then the new minor league extra-inning experiment kicked in. The bottom of the 10th began with Boise’s Willie McIver being placed on second base. The first batter, Jacobs, knocked him in with a single to right, and it was over just like that—a 4-3 Hawks victory. Not many games in the minors go past 10 innings anymore.
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August 30, 1918: The birthday of one of the crustiest but most respected baseball talents of all time. What Ted Williams did in his career was phenomenal considering he missed time while serving in both World War II and the Korean War. His career batting average was an unfathomable .344, and he hit 521 home runs. Williams’ most famous feat was the .406 average he compiled in 1941, the last time any big leaguer has come close to hitting .400. His most common nickname was the “Splendid Splinter,” but he preferred “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived.” Ted Williams would have been 100 years old today.
(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.)