What must coach Rocky Long think of this, four years after his team played in (by far) the coldest game in Albertsons Stadium history—the nine-degree adventure in November, 2014? For the first time in six years, Boise State gets an afternoon game in October. Everyone was braced for 8:15 p.m., but in a stunner, the Broncos’ game against San Diego State has been set for 1:30 p.m. a week from Saturday. It’ll be telecast on either ESPN2 or ESPNU, with one bringing a lot more eyeballs than the other. But who cares? This is the first day game on the blue turf in October since a 32-7 win over UNLV in 2012. The Broncos were thrown a bone last year with an afternoon kickoff for their home opener in September against Troy. The high temperature that day was 97 degrees.
Boise State coach Bryan Harsin set the table for this week’s game at Wyoming by addressing Tyler Horton’s status. The senior cornerback and captain missed the Oklahoma State game, and ears perked at Harsin’s press conference yesterday—only to hear, “Tyler does not have a season-ending injury, and I’ll leave it at that.” That means it would be a shock to see No. 14 in Laramie this Saturday. Harsin is comfortable with the growth of Jalen Walker, who filled in at OSU. “His habits have improved, and that’s reflected in his play,” said Harsin. But depth is not pretty at corner right now. Harsin announced yesterday that true freshman Tyric LeBeauf tore his ACL in practice and is out for the season.
Since this was Harsin’s first media session since the loss to Oklahoma State, questions kept circling back to Boise State’s special teams. “Two blocked punts, that’s just uncharacteristic and disappointing,” Harsin said. One sticking point: the contention by the ESPN announcing crew that it was taking 2.3 seconds for the Broncos to get a punt off. “That’s not the case,” said Harsin, who had heard about the comments and was chagrinned that Boise State didn’t have a chance to answer that claim. “As disappointing and bad as it was, that wasn’t the main factor (in having the punts blocked).” He says the Broncos have put that behind them. “We will have to punt at some point against Wyoming,” he smiled. “We’re going to have a chance to re-prove ourselves.”
This eye-popping 17-point spread in the Boise State-Wyoming game probably stems from doubts about the Pokes’ offense, which had to rally with a touchdown in the final nine seconds to beat FCS Wofford 17-14 at home the last time out. Brandon Foster of the Casper Star-Tribune notes that “the Cowboys had to tread water without their top two running backs, two of their three senior tight ends, their starting nickel and a starting cornerback.” Coach Craig Bohl said the best two bets to return versus the Broncos were running back Nico Evans, who had a rib injury, and tight end Austin Fort, who had an ailing knee. Evans and Fort are senior starters and captains. Wyoming’s offense will be as healthy as it can be when Boise State takes the field at War Memorial Stadium.
Back to San Diego State for a moment. The Aztecs have a bye this week, but that won’t help them heal the way they want to in preparation for their next game, that daytime showdown on the blue. Long has ruled out quarterback Christian Chapman for the Boise State game as he continues to recover from a sprained knee suffered 2½ weeks ago. So junior Ryan Agnew will continue to run the team. But here’s the latest twist. Turns out SDSU starting running back Juwan Washington fractured his clavicle in Saturday’s win over Eastern Michigan and will be lost for about six weeks. He’ll be replaced by sophomore Chase Jasmin. Washington opened the season with three straight 100-yard games and was the nation’s fourth-leadin rusher leading into the weekend, but have you seen Jasmin run? He is no slouch.
How did Troy land a big feature in this week’s Sports Illustrated? Andy Staples chronicles the Trojans’ preparations, travel, gameday setting, game recap and celebration in their 24-19 win at Nebraska nine days ago. It’s a cool story to be sure, but did Staples plan it before or after Troy’s 56-20 loss to Boise State? And would he have run the piece if the Trojans had lost in Lincoln? No matter. “We didn’t show up this morning and surprise them,” Staples quotes coach Neal Brown as saying in the locker room. “They knew that you guys could play (after last year at LSU). But here’s the deal: You still took care of business.” Too bad the Cornhuskers looked so bad Saturday in their 56-10 loss at Michigan. Then again, how does Oklahoma State look right now?
It’s one thing to be named a conference player of the week after a loss. It’s something else to get a national player of the week honor at the same time. College of Idaho absorbed a heartbreaking 42-41 loss to Rocky Mountain College Saturday, but Coyotes quarterback Darius-James Peterson earned the NAIA’s national honor on offense along with the Frontier Conference nod after rushing for 179 yards and a career-high four touchdowns—his eighth 100-yard rushing game at C of I—and adding 223 yards through the air and two touchdown passes to finish with 412 yards of total offense. Peterson is the fourth Yote in history to top 2,000 career rushing yards.
As Boise State hoops preseason practice nears Thursday, here’s something that makes you appreciate one of the highlights of last season for the Broncos. Sports Illustrated has compiled a list of the Top 10 Toughest Arenas for Opponents in men’s basketball. No. 6 is The Pit in Albuquerque. “New Mexico has taken a step back in recent years after making four of five NCAA tournaments from 2010 to ’14,” stated the article at SI.com, “but opponents would never be wise to underestimate The Pit. The Lobos have won a whopping 732 home games since the arena’s opening in 1966, with their fans making it a daunting place to play.” It was with that backdrop that Boise State scored eight points in the final minute of the game in February to steal a 73-71 win on the Lobos’ legendary home floor.
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September 25, 2015: True freshman Brett Rypien makes his first career start as quarterback at Boise State and leads the Broncos to their largest margin of victory over a Power 5 school in a 56-14 win at Virginia. Rypien threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to Thomas Sperbeck, and earned high marks for his poise in the pocket in the face of intense pressure from the Cavaliers. For its part, the Boise State defense was recording a safety and forcing five turnovers. The Broncos had two pick-sixes, with one coming on the first play of the game by defensive tackle Justin Taimatuia.
(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.)