BOISE, Idaho--When Boise State sophomore quarterback Ryan Finley went down in the first half with an injury, the entire season changed for the Broncos. First Tommy Stuart and then Brett Rypien came in to ignite the Bronco team, and Boise State went on to beat Idaho State 52-0 last night in Albertsons Stadium.
In Rypien's case, when head coach Bryan Harsin inserted him into the Bronco lineup in the second half, it meant the talented quarterback from Spokane, Washington would not redshirt this year. Rypien thus became the first true freshman to play at quarterback since Tony Hilde in 1993. Hilde made his Bronco debut against Montana on Oct. 2, 1993.
(Photo by Brian Losness, USA Today Sports)
After a three-and-out on its first possession, Finley took the Broncos on a 48-yard drive, with running back Jeremy McNichols scoring from six yards out. On the third play of the next drive, Finley kept the ball on a run to the left, but was injured and had to be helped off the field. Boise State trainers worked on his ankle on the sidelines, then took him to the locker room for x-rays. Finley did not return and his status is unknown at this time.
Meanwhile, sophomore Tommy Stuart guided the Broncos into the end zone on a drive that had begun at their own five-yard line. This time, Devan Demas carried the ball the final 13 yards for a 14-0 Bronco lead. Stuart led the Boise State offense to a 21-0 halftime lead and another scoring drive in the third quarter before giving way to Rypien.
In the second half, Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin made the decision to burn the redshirt for Rypien, a highly-sought after recruit and the nephew of former Washington Redskins starting quarterback Mark Rypien. Brett set the Washington state record with 13,044 career passing yards and was named Washing State Offensive Player of the Year twice by the newspaper The Seattle Times. Rypien proceeded to throw darts at the Bengal defense, completing 8-9 passes for 126 yards in leading Boise State to four consecutive scoring drives. Rypien's 46-yard completion to Thomas Sperbeck was the longest Bronco pass play of the season.
Meanwhile, the entire Boise State team and Albertsons Stadium crowd seemed re-energized. A veteran offensive line that had not been able to sustain blocks in the first two games suddenly opened holes. Bronco running backs McNichols, Demas and Kelsey Young ran with renewed vigor. The Boise State defense played virtually mistake-free football, allowing zero points and avoiding the penalties and mental mistakes that had plagued them the previous week in a loss to BYU. And the Bronco special teams also played with a fire not yet seen in the 2015 season.
Harsin was happy with the way his team played: "I was very pleased with the way everybody responded to the situation. That should give us confidence moving forward."
McNichols scored three more touchdowns to give him eight in three games, while Young ran for two. The Bronco backs ran for 344 yards while the stingy Boise State defense allowed just 36 for Idaho State. It was the third consecutive game in which the Bronco defense allowed less than 100 yards rushing, limiting the Washington Huskies to 29 yards and the BYU Cougars to 72.
Thirteen players made their Bronco debut last night--Rypien, Suart, Alex Ogle, Cory Young, Brandon Brown, Durrant Miles, David Moa, Troy Bacon, Jehren Ertel, Andres Preciado, David McKinzie, Paul Semons and Kaleb Hill. "That's going to make us a better football team," Harsin said.
Regarding his decision to play Rypien, Harsin said, "Not knowing exactly the length that Finley's going to be out, when a guy doesn't come back into the game, we have to have a couple quarterbacks prepared."
"Brett has done a nice job," Harsin said. "He has put himself in a position to play. The decision was after halftime that we need to get him in there and play. He's been ready to play--this isn't something that surprised him. We talked about it each and every week, and at this point it was time to go. I thought he went in there and showed what he's capable of doing with his first opportunity."
The mood of the Bronco team was upbeat after the game. "It always feels good to win," linebacker Tanner Vallejo said. "Obviously, getting zero on the board against any team, that’s hard to do. Obviously what happened to (Finley) that’s unfortunate. But the two other quarterbacks, they came in and stepped up. That’s what they’re expected to do."
Stuart completed 9-of-13 for 69 yards and a touchdown for Boise State, which amassed 598 yards of total offense. McNichols gained 69 yards on 15 carries, while redshirt freshman Cory Young (Kelsey's younger brother) was a second-half star with 69 yards on nine carries. Demas finished with three carries for 65 yards and a touchdown, while Stuart gained 46 yards on 11 carries and Kelsey Young had eight runs for 38 yards and the two TD's.
Sperbeck enjoyed his best game of the season, as he hauled in seven passes for 99 yards, tight end Holden Huff had four receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown and Shane Williams-Rhodes had five catches for 50 yards. Huff moved into seventh place all-time for career receiving yards by a Bronco tight end, wihle Williams-Rhodes tied former Bronco great Don Hutt (1970-73) for fourth place all-time in career receptions at Boise State with 189 (see charts at the bottom of the page).
The Bengals unleashed 59 passes, with starter Michael Sanders going 21-42 for 169 yards and Tanner Gueller completing 9-of-17 for 93 yards.
With the victory, Boise State moved to 2-1 on the season while the Bengals slipped to 1-2. Boise State travels to play Virginia next Friday. Harsin said that while he was impressed with both Stuart and Rypien, he wouldn't commit to naming a starter for next week until he evaluated film from the game.
1. Matt Miller (234) 2011-2014
2. Austin Pettis (228) 2007-2010
3. Titus Young (204) 2007-2010
4. Don Hutt (189) 1970-1973
4. Shane Williams-Rhodes (189) 2012-current
6. Jeremy Childs (168) 2006-2008
7. Ryan Ikebe (162) 1993-1996
8. Mike Wilson (159) 1990-1993
9. Jay Swillie (140) 1999-2002
9. Eric Andrade (140) 1983-1984/1986-1987
11. Mike Holton (139) 1972/1974-1976
12. Terry Hutt (132) 1973-1974/1976-1977
13. Lou Fanucchi (131) 1999-2002
14. Jeb Putzier (128) 1998-2001
15. Kim Metcalf (126) 1980-1984
16. Kipp Bedard (122) 1979-1981
16. Tyler Shoemaker (122) 2008-2011
18. Rodney Smith (117) 1997-1998
18. Sheldon Forehand (117) 1989-1992
20. Winky White (116) 1987-1990
20. Al Marshall (116) 1969-1972
22. Kirby Moore (115) 2009/2011-2013
22. Drisan James (115) 2003-2006
22. Billy Wingfield (115) 1998-1999/2001-2002
25. T.J. Acree (107) 2001-2004
26. Kyle Efaw (103) 2008-2011
26. Brock Forsey (103) 1999-2002
28. Tim Gilligan (101) 2000-2003
29. Terry Heffner (95) 1987-1990
30. Chris Thomas (93) 1987-1991
31. John Smith (89) 1972-1975
32. Geraldo Boldewijn (87) 2010-2013
33. Jeremy Avery (87) 2007-2010
34. Jarret Hausske (86) 1991-1994
35. David Hughes (80) 1977-1980
36. Mitch Burroughs (78) 2009-2012
36. Derek Schouman (78) 2003-2006
36. Larry Stayner (78) 1989-1991
39. Jerard Rabb 75) 2005-2006
40. Legedu Naanee (74) 2003-2006
40. Vinny Perretta (74) 2005-2008
42. Jay Ajayi (73) 2012-2014
43. Rodney Webster (70) 1980-1983
44. Thomas Sperbeck (68) 2013-current
45. Doug Martin (67) 2008-2011
45. Jeremy Avery (67) 2007-2010
45. John Crabtree (67) 1974-1975
48. Jeff Lindsley (65) 1986-1988
49. Lonnie Hughes (62) 1977-1978
50. Chris Potter (61) 2009-2012
Career Receving Yards by a Tight End
1. Kyle Efaw (1,269) 2008-2010
2. Derek Schouman (1,009) 2003-2006
3. Larry Stayner (937) 1988-1991
4. Jeff Lindsley (856) 1985-1988
5. Jeb Putzier (824) 2001
6. Del Graven (569) 1993
7. Holden Huff (531) 2012-current
8. Dave Deitz (520) 1992-1993
9. Jon Cox (514) 1983-1986
10. Dave Stachelski (473) 1997-1999
11. Bernie Zimmerman (469) 1994-1995
12. Mike Davisson (463) 1996-1999
13. Jim Brekke (460) 1995-1998
14. Jake Roh (449) 2014-current
15. Robby Snelling (427) 1999-2000
16. Gabe Linehan (395) 2010-2013
17. Duane Dlouhy (297) 1978-1981
18. Trent Lundin (280) 2002-2003
19. Ron Pound (272) 1995-1998
20. Tommy Gallarda (257) 2007-2010
21. Chris O'Neill (254) 2007-2008
21. Sherm Blaser (245) 2004-2005