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WSU vs. BSU: Bronco QB Brett Rypien knows where famous uncle Mark's allegiances will be Saturday

MAKE NO MISTAKE, crimson is thicker than blood. Washington State legend and Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien told a Boise radio station this week he'll be pulling for the Cougars when they face his quarterbacking nephew Brett at Boise State on Saturday night. And that's completely understandable, the younger Rypien told reporters this week.

"I mean, I don't blame him," Brett Rypien said. "He's a Coug alum and diehard Coug fan. It's tough to go against that. He'll be rooting for me as well. He wants the Cougs to win but he'll be rooting for me."

Mark was an all-Pac-10 quarterback for WSU in the 1980s before going on to become a Pro Bowler and Super Bowl hero with the Washington Redskins.

Brett said his famous uncle has been instrumental --"huge"-- in his development, offering guidance both on the field and off.

"Obviously it's good having a guy that's been through it all, been through the college ranks, been through the pro ranks, knows the ins and outs of everything that there is to being a quarterback at this level. He's been definitely a great influence on me."

But the 6-2, 200-pound sophomore said he didn't expect to be exchanging calls with Uncle Mark this week to talk strategy. He also said he has no notions of directing smack talk at Mark if the Broncos win. Rather, his focus is on reclaiming the home-field advantage that BSU lost last season in its last two games on the blue turf.

He joked that going to Boise State instead of Washington State allowed him to climb out of his uncle's shadow and into Kellen Moore's. He noted that going to WSU "definitely would have" prompted more comparisons with Mark.

  • KICKOFF: 7:15 p.m. Pacific
  • TV: ESPN2
  • THE LINE: Boise State by 11

The younger Rypien's Cougar connections run deep. Mom Julie is a WSU grad, as is another uncle, Bill. And yet another uncle, Chris Tormey, is a former WSU assistant coach.

Growing up in Spokane in a Cougar family makes the game "a little bit weird ... definitely a different feeling playing the team I grew up watching," Rypien said. "But I think when we get out there on Saturday it's just going to be another opponent."

WSU was the first school to offer Rypien a scholarship when he was setting records at Shadle Park High. He narrowed his final three choices to WSU, BSU and Washington. When Jake Browning jumped early on a UW offer, Rypien was down to two. He said BSU was a better fit for him, that he loved the town, coaching staff and winning tradition. And he wanted to learn a different offense after playing in the Air Raid at Shadle.

Asked about favorite Cougar memories, Rypien pointed to the 2012 Apple Cup in Pullman when the Cougars stormed back from an 18-point second-half deficit to defeat the Huskies in overtime. 

Like WSU's Luke Falk, Rypien was a first-team all-conference choice last season and is on the Maxwell and O'Brien award watch lists this season. In BSU's 45-10 season-opening win at Louisiana-Lafayette last week, Rypien was 22 of 33 for 347 yards and 2 TDs.

NOTABLE NOTES:

* Boise State hails from the Mountain West Conference.  WSU is 7-4 against Mountain West opponents after beating Wyoming 31-14 in Pullman last season.

* The Cougars lead the all-time series with Boise State 4-0. The last meeting came in 2001, a 41-20 victory in Boise behind a monster day from receiver Nakoa McElrath and three touchdown passes by Jason Gesser. The Cougar D posted seven sacks and three INTs that day.

* Boise State is 38-10 in home openers since becoming a four-year institution prior to the 1968 season. The Broncos have won 14-straight home openers dating back to the loss to WSU in 2001.

* Mark Jones and Rod Gilmore will be on the call for ESPN2 on Saturday.

* WSU's Gabe Marks needs seven receptions to move past Reggie Williams (UW) into seventh place on the Pac-12's career receptions list. Marks currently has 237. He needs 58 more catches to move into the top spot. Marks is 3 TD receptions away from joining the Pac-12's all-time top 10 list.

* Hall of fame announcer Bob Robertson is in his 50th season calling Cougar football games, and according to a nationwide survey of sports information directors, is the longest-tenured radio announcer in the country with the next closest being Bill Hillgrove who has announced 46 at Pitt.

RELATED STORY: Rypien wanted to start 4 years and Falk & Co. made that tough to envision at WSU


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