The Broncos lost to a better team

The national hype for the Boise State-Oklahoma State game was such that you wondered whether the result would be like Oregon in 2008—or Georgia in 2005, the Broncos’ most famous and infamous true road games ever against the Power 5. It was closer to the latter, as Boise State took its lumps in a 44-21 loss to the Cowboys. What happened to the Broncos’ special teams, as in two easy blocked punts that produced 14 OSU points, was stunning. But the futility of the Boise State offensive line against the relentlessly quick Oklahoma State defense, as in seven sacks allowed, actually tells us something else. It shows that the Group of 5, even the best among ‘em, is going to have trouble keeping up with elite Power 5 talent as the financial gap keeps widening.

With about 11 minutes left in the first half, Boise State allowed its first sack since the first play of the opener at Troy. And man was it a harbinger. Brett Rypien fumbled on the play, John Molchon recovered, and there would be six more sacks to come. Then there was the O-line’s crisis in run-blocking. How does the offense go from 400 yards rushing one week to 34 the next? There was an apparent talent differential (definitely a speed gap) in the trenches. The reality is, the Broncos are unlikely to see anything that severe the rest of the regular season, but once was enough. It was a confidence-shaker after all the progress the offensive line had made since the end of last September.

You can’t fault Rypien for this one. The senior quarterback spent the afternoon under duress, but he hit the reset button time after time after time. He took what little Oklahoma State gave him and went underneath, hitting nine different receivers while having to save the deep ball for highlight reel touchdown catches by John Hightower and A.J. Richardson. He ended up 39-of-56 for 380 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions while becoming the first Boise State quarterback ever to open the season with three straight 300-yard games. Rypien also broke Kellen Moore’s school record for career 300-yard game with his 17th. He now has 10 TD passes and still no picks this season.

Boise State paid the price in the rankings yesterday, although the Broncos did hang onto a Coaches Poll spot at No. 24. They dropped out of the AP Poll and are second in the “others receiving votes” category. Just about everybody, including yours truly, had been overplaying the New Year’s Six card this month. It was the natural narrative, it seemed. Are we sure players weren’t affected by the outside noise? It’s a good thing for this team that UCF is out of the conversation now, because the Mountain West needs to be its focus. And how. Plus one other team down the line. Who helped axe Boise State from the AP Poll? BYU, who debuted at No. 25 after its shocking 24-21 road upset at Wisconsin.

If the Mountain West was going to log three victories over Power 5 programs over the weekend, you’d think one of them would involve Boise State. But it was Nevada, Fresno State and San Diego State taking care of business. After leading 30-7, the Wolf Pack held off Oregon State when the Beavers missed a 34-yard field goal as time ran out to win 37-35. Bulldogs quarterback Marcus McMaryion went off on UCLA, accounting for five touchdowns in a 38-14 rout of the Bruins in the Rose Bowl. In the biggest surprise of the day, the Aztecs upset 23rd-ranked Arizona State 28-21, with their defense holding the Sun Devils without a second-half first down until four minutes remained in the game. And hey, San Jose State lost just 35-22 at Oregon.

Wouldn’t it have been something if Anders Albertson had won the Albertsons Boise Open yesterday? The 25-year-old former Georgia Tech standout made a heckuva bid, shooting a nine-under 62 in the final round, but he end up one shot short of the champion, Sangmoon Bae. Albertson joined Roger Sloan and Adam Schenk in a tie for seconds. As for Bae, he had been hanging around the top of the leaderboard since tying for the lead after the first round on Thursday. And he walked the 18th fairway knowing he needed a birdie to stave off his three challengers. Bae hit a perfect approach shot and drained an eight-foot birdie putt to pocket $180,000.

Bae should be sufficiently relaxed now as he competes in next week’s Tour Championship in Atlantic Beach, FL. He’ll follow that with a return to the PGA Tour at the Safeway Open in Napa, CA. Bae lost his status on the PGA Tour this season after serving a two-year military obligation in the South Korean army, but he clinched his card with the victory at Hillcrest. It was another successful, well-attended week for the Albertsons Boise Open, which celebrates it 30th edition next year. The tournament is one of only four events on the schedule that have remained since the Tour’s birth as the Ben Hogan Tour in 1990.

Back to the ol’ gridiron: College of Idaho dropped to 0-4 Saturday after a 63-14 loss at FCS Portland State. The Vikings snapped a 15-game losing streak while racking up 657 yards of total offense and holding the Coyotes to 247. The Yotes’ two touchdowns both came on scoring throws from Darius-James Peterson. Davis Koetter closed out the scoring for PSU in the fourth quarter with a 41-yard touchdown catch. Koetter is the son of former Boise State and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter. Davis was born in Boise 20 years ago, near the beginning of Dirk’s first year with the Broncos.

Two other notes: Boise State’s Raimee Sherle is now one goal away from equaling the Bronco career record after scoring six minutes into yesterday’s 3-0 win over Idaho State. Sherle is also seven tallies away from the Mountain West career record. This season, the former Rocky Mountain High star is tied for the national lead in goals with nine and leads the country in game-winning goals with five. Sherle has scored 21 goals in her last 16 games. And the Dallas Stars wrapped up their quick Boise training camp yesterday with their Victory Green vs. White Intrasquad Scrimmage at CenturyLink Arena. It was an important three days for the Stars as they establish their identity under new coach Jim Montgomery. Dallas dives right into its first preseason game tomorrow night at home against the St. Louis Blues.

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September 17, 1955: Hawaii shocks Nebraska 6-0 in Lincoln to avenge a 50-0 humiliation in Honolulu the prior season. The Rainbow Warriors’ 29-man team outgained the Cornhuskers’ offense, 318 yards to 219. With the game still scoreless and five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Hawaii halfback Bill Taylor ran 37 yards to the Nebraska 7-yard line. From there, fullback Hartwell Frietas powered into the end zone for the only score of the game.

(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.)