This Day In Sports: And it was going so well at Wazzu

September 9, 2017, five years ago today: Underdog Boise State bursts out to a 31-10 fourth quarter lead at Washington State, but a series of unfortunate events leads the Broncos to implode, and the Cougars win it 47-44 in triple-overtime.For Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien it was a homecoming of sorts, as the Spokane native paid a visit to the place where his uncle, Mark, starred as a Coug. But Rypien was knocked out of the game in the first quarter, leaving the reins to backup Montell Cozart.

The graduate transfer from Kansas caught fire in the second half and threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Cedrick Wilson early in the fourth quarter to put the Broncos up 24-10. Then Boise State knocked WSU standout quarterback Luke Falk out of the game on a strip-and-score fumble return by Curtis Weaver with 11 minutes remaining and went up by 21 points. It was shortly thereafter that Cozart, who had been enjoying a solid night, threw an inexplicable fourth-quarter interception on a wild shovel pass that was returned for a pick-six.

The hero of the night for Washington State was backup QB Tyler Hilinski, who replaced Falk. Hilinski rallied the Cougars with 240 passing yards and three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and overtime, including a six-yard scoring throw to Jamal Morrow that tied the game with 1:44 left—and another of 22 yards to Morrow in the third OT to win it. The loss snapped a winning streak of 101 games when Boise State led by 21 points or more.

Hilinski was carried off the field by jubilant fans at Martin Stadium. Falk was NFL-bound the following year, so Hilinski was his clear heir-apparent in Pullman. But the story had a tragic ending when he took his own life four months later. The Hilinski family would create Hilinski’s Hope, a non-profit organization which focuses on mental health awareness and education. Younger brother Ryan Hilinski is carrying the banner today as the starting quarterback at Northwestern after two seasons at South Carolina.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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