Brett Rypien’s status is up in the air for Boise State’s Friday night ESPN2 game against Virginia. But the junior quarterback is one step closer to playing. “Brett is practicing (this week),” said coach Bryan Harsin at his Monday press conference. And he was indeed suited up yesterday afternoon. “We’ll see where he’s at through practice,” Harsin added. Rypien’s situation is intriguing. He missed last week’s win over New Mexico, a team against which he had thrown for 897 yards combined the previous two seasons. Aforementioned in this column is the fact that Rypien threw for 321 and three touchdowns in his first start two years ago on the road against the Cavaliers. I’m thinking he’ll be rejuvenated when he hits the field again—whenever that may be.
If Rypien’s not playing Friday night, he’ll be a de facto coach for Boise State. He was very engaged on the sideline in the win over New Mexico last week, helping Cozart dissect the game. It’s not a unique circumstance on this team. Safety Evan Tyler and linebacker Blake Whitlock have been working behind the scenes since their seasons were pre-empted by knee injuries. “Those guys have been phenomenal, sitting in meetings and helping our team,” said Harsin. “Those are two extra coaches. Brett is no different.”
Whether it’s Rypien or Cozart under center for Boise State, either guy will want to know where Virginia senior linebacker Micah Kiser is when he scans the defense pre-snap. Kiser has been named National Defensive Player of the Week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation after logging 15 tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery in the Cavaliers’ 38-18 thumping of Connecticut Saturday. He now has four sacks in the past two games and is No. 10 on UVA’s all-time list with 19 career sacks. Kiser’s the one who brought the diverse Virginia team together for a display of unity after the tragedy in Charlottesville last month. He organized an on-campus photo of the team together in street clothes that was tweeted with the message, “Our school, our city, our home. United forever.”
It’s been an interesting five days since Boise State beat New Mexico. There was star defensive tackle David Moa’s arrest early Saturday morning in Downtown Boise. As far as discipline for Moa is concerned, Harsin said, “We’ll handle it internally. I’m disappointed.” Yes, Moa shouldn’t have been at 6th & Main at 2 a.m. Yes, he should have disengaged from the other party in the dispute. But I was kind of surprised a misdemeanor disturbing the peace arrest was national news (it ended up on the main homepage at ESPN.com). Harsin wouldn’t say whether Moa would be eligible to play against Virginia Friday night—but the feeling is he will.
Regarding Chase Hatada’s late hit that knocked New Mexico quarterback Lamar Jordan out of the game? “I saw it,” Harsin said. Of the call that got Hatada ejected for targeting? “It’s important, said Harsin. “It’s important to the game. You’re not trying to knock somebody out of the game.” Lobos coach Bob Davie said after practice Sunday that Jordan won’t be available for this Saturday’s UNM game at Tulsa. With No. 2 QB Tevaka Tuioti still likely to be out as well, Davie will again turn to Coltin Gerhart, the graduate transfer from Arizona State who finished last Thursday’s game on the blue turf. Gerhart hadn’t played quarterback since 2013, his senior year in high school.
Josh Allen is certainly hearing about it after his performance in Wyoming’s 49-13 loss to Oregon in Wyoming Saturday. The Cowboys’ star quarterback was just 9-of-24 for 64 yards and an interception, putting a puncture wound in the hype that has projected him as a first-round pick (even No. 1 overall) in the NFL Draft next spring. Tom Fornelli of CBSSports.com notes: “In the last two years, Allen has now started three games against Power Five opponents, and the results will cause you to shield your eyes. He has completed only 50 percent of his passes (48 for 96) for 427 yards (4.48 yards per attempt, 8.89 per completion) with one touchdown and eight interceptions.” I feel badly for Allen, though. He’s a good kid who didn’t ask for this microscope. It was forced upon him.
Jay Ajayi is not only buying time for interim Miami quarterback Jay Cutler, he’s carrying the team. After having their opener postponed by Hurricane Irma, the Dolphins played their first game of the season before a small crowd outside of L.A. Sunday, beating the Chargers 19-17. Ajayi carried the ball 28 times for 122 yards. The former Boise State star kept pounding at the Chargers’ midsection. “I will tell you what,” Cutler said after the game. “I think I have the best seat in the house. He is fun to watch. I mean, breaking tackles and spinning. I think he has enough speed to get to the edge. He is a heck of a back and I am glad he is on our team.” It was Ajayi’s fifth career 100-yard game.
From the Players of the Week docket, College of Idaho linebacker Forrest Rivers has earned the Frontier Conference honor on defense. The sophomore from Corona, CA, had a career-high 11 tackles in the Coyotes 28-20 upset of No. 11 Eastern Oregon on Saturday. Rivers added three tackles-for-loss, including two sacks. And Boise State women’s soccer senior standout Janelle Flores has been named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week for the sixth time in her career, a Bronco record. The All-Mountain West goalkeeper logged her 16th career shutout last week in a 1-0 win at Weber State. Flores currently leads the Mountain West with a 0.6 goals-against average.
Other local notes: the Boise Hawks and their parent club, the Colorado Rockies, have extended their Player Development Contract through the 2020 season. The Hawks have been a Rockies affiliate since 2015 after parting ways with the Chicago Cubs. And it’s official—the Big Sky men’s and women’s basketball tournaments are moving to Boise in 2019. The vote by the Big Sky Conference Presidents’ Council was unanimous. The three-year contract with CenturyLink Arena begins in 2019—the tournaments wrap up a three-year stay in Reno next March. “Obviously I’m very excited for it to be in Boise because that’s where the University of Idaho’s biggest alumni base is,” said Vandals men’s hoops coach Don Verlin.
This Day In Sports…September 19, 1992, 25 years ago today:
Defending national champion and second-ranked Washington wins one of the highest-profile games of the season, 29-14 over No. 12 Nebraska at Husky Stadium. UW recovered two fumbles and grabbed an interception to keep the Cornhuskers at bay and scored two touchdowns in 42 seconds in the fourth quarter to pull away. It would turn out to be legendary coach Don James’ final season with the Huskies, who would finish 9-3.
(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.)