Let’s put Brett Rypien’s season to bed. Overall, there were a lot more ups than downs. Let’s put Brett Rypien’s season to bed. Overall, there were a lot more ups than downs for Boise State’s highly-touted recruit from Spokane. There may not have been anything to talk about at all had Ryan Finley not been injured in the third game of the season. But Rypien took the stage and ran with it, facing adversity aplenty along the way. He had to go through those bumps—the sub-par nights against Utah State and Air Force among them—as part of the molding process for an FBS quarterback. In the end, he became the first Mountain West freshman ever to throw for 3,000 yards in a season and was named first-team all-conference, as well as the league’s Freshman of the Year.
How about a comparison between Rypien’s numbers and those of Washington’s Jake Browning as true freshman quarterbacks? After all, they’re slated to face each other the season after next in Seattle (Rypien was still a redshirt when the Broncos beat the Huskies 16-13 to open this season). The stats are actually very close. Rypien threw for 3,353 yards this year, just 133 behind Kellen Moore’s Boise State freshman record set in 2008. And he did it in 11 games. Browning passed for 2,955 yards in 12 games. Rypien’s completion percentage was 63.5 to Browning’s 63.3. Rypien had a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 20-8 with a pass efficiency rating of 140.6—Browning threw 16 TD passes against 10 picks and had a rating of 139.7.
Rod Couch, one of the mainstay writers at BroncoSports.com, has come up with this nugget. With its 55-7 win over Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl, Boise State is now tied for first with the most college football wins over an 18-year period since the turn of the 20th century. The Broncos have gone 192-40 since Dirk Koetter took the reins of the program in 1998—Nebraska was 192-31-1 from 1982-99. Couch notes that Bryan Harsin has been a part of the BSU program for 14 of those seasons as a player, assistant and head coach.
The Mountain West bowl season wraps up today with the Armed Forces Bowl between Air Force and Cal and the Arizona Bowl conference game matching Nevada and Colorado State. We’ll see if the Bears can figure out the Falcons’ option any better than some other teams we know. On the other hand, Air Force will have to deal with Cal quarterback Jared Goff, the one-time Boise State recruit. This may be Goff’s final college game, as an early NFL Draft entry could be in the cards. It’s hard to figure the Wolf Pack-CSU game. The Rams seem to be more cohesive—they’re favored by three points.
In Boise, everybody searches for more positives on Kellen Moore’s first NFL start even as some cast doubt on his abilities after the Dallas’ loss in Buffalo on Sunday. It comes down to Kellen knowing exactly where he wants to go and what he wants to do on the field—and his physical disadvantages keeping him from doing it. Power on the deep balls and zip on the intermediate ones, for example. He is going to start against Washington this week, though. The Cowboys had four pass plays of more than 20 yards at Buffalo. They had done that just once all season—via Matt Cassel against the New York Giants two months earlier. The offensive line also kept Moore clean; he was really hit only once. The protection was really good, but part of the reason was Moore’s propensity to make quick decisions—and his uncanny ability to sidestep the rush.
Not to forget the other former Broncos on the Dallas roster, Demarcus Lawrence in particular. Lawrence recorded a sack in a seventh straight game in the loss to the Bills and leads the Cowboys this year with eight. Lawrence has been solid in his season NFL season. Elsewhere, the race for the NFL rushing crown between Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson and Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin will come down to the final game of the regular season. Peterson opened up a 64-yard lead with a 104-yard performance in the Vikings’ rout of the Giants on Sunday Night Football. Martin gained just 49 yards on 17 attempts in the Buccaneers’ loss to Chicago. That’s 2.8 yards per carry, his second-lowest output of the season. Peterson has 1,418 yards to Martin’s 1,354.
Wyoming hoops coach Larry Shyatt is mad. So mad that he released a long manifesto on the injustice of the Mountain West Tournament’s decision to restrict the event to the conference’s top eight teams beginning with the 2016-17 season. Shyatt was almost as distressed about the deal to keep the tournament at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center through 2019, but the fact that three of the league’s 11 teams will be kept from realizing a rags-to-riches dream of reaching the NCAA Tournament really riled him. Shyatt said the lengthy statement was on behalf of the Mountain West’s basketball coaches, a group he chairs this season. But the conference didn’t take kindly to it, issuing Shyatt a public reprimand late yesterday as the Cowboys prepare to open league play at San Diego State tomorrow night.
The College of Idaho raced out to a shocking 14-point lead, and it was a respectable 13-point deficit at halftime last night, but Utah outscored the Coyotes by 28 after the intermission and rolled to a 115-74 win at the Huntsman Center. One number absolutely crushed the Yotes—they were out-rebounded by 30 in the game. Altor Zubizarreta led the C of I with 19 points. Former Borah High star Isaiah Wright played 24 minutes for the Utes and scored eight points with five assists. The crowd of 12,329 was the largest ever to watch a College of Idaho game.
The Idaho Stampede get the Oklahoma City Blue one more time tonight in CenturyLink Arena, with a chance to avenge Sunday afternoon’s 102-95 overtime loss. The Stampede, currently 5-13, need to find some new scoring punch. They were already points-challenged anyway before Tyus Jones’ return to the NBA. The Stamps are 18th in the 19-team D-League with an average output of 96.6 points per game.
The Idaho Steelheads are suddenly en fuego. The Steelheads drubbed the ECHL West Division-leading Utah Grizzlies again last night, this time 4-1 in West Valley City. It was Idaho’s sixth win in its last seven games. Emil Molin scored two goals for the Steelies, the first on a power play. The Steelheads have now tallied on the man-advantage in seven straight games, with 13 power play goals total over that span. And Philippe Desrosiers was a rock in goal again, stopping 24 of 25 Utah shots to notch his fifth win in his last six starts. The Steelies return to CenturyLink Arena tomorrow night to open a three-game series against the Colorado Eagles.
This Day In Sports…December 29, 1957:
The last time the Detroit Lions won an NFL championship. In one of the most one-sided NFL title games ever, the Lions routed the Cleveland Browns, 59-14. Detroit quarterback Tobin Rote was just 12-of-19 passing, but he threw for 280 yards and four touchdowns. The Lions and Browns are two of just four teams that have never played in a Super Bowl (the others are relatively recent expansion franchises, the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars.
(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.)