Tuesday, October 10, 2017.
We broached this subject on Sunday Sports Extra the other night. Is Brett Rypien a “game manager” now for Boise State? He appeared to be one in last Friday’s 24-7 win at BYU, throwing only when he had to—with success—after that first-drive interception. Rypien’s confidence appeared to slip last fall after the safety that spelled doom in the loss at Wyoming, and it was further affected in the games against Air Force and Baylor. Then came the first four games of this season (three of which Rypien played, sometimes struggling). Maybe the redesigned offense at BYU was meant to help Rypien get his confidence back; he looked better as the game progressed. His first touchdown of the season, the 24-yard strike to Sean Modster, was on the money, thrown when Modster made his break and came free.
What Rypien did in Provo is being compared to what Christian Chapman does every week for San Diego State. With superstar Rashaad Penny a total distraction to opposing defenses, Chapman has been able to deftly pick his spots therough the air. Chapman is second in the Mountain West in pass efficiency among those who have thrown more than 100 passes, with a rating of 143.6. He has passed for seven touchdowns against just one interception—numbers Rypien would love to sport. Not that Alexander Mattison can be the distraction that Penny is, but maybe he can do enough to buy Rypien some time to get his mojo back.
Garrett Larson passed his stage test at center in front of almost 60,000 fans last Friday. But first the former Fruitland Grizzly had to pass an audition the past two weeks with Mason Hampton injured. The Broncos’ bye week was surely a benefit. “We felt like (Garrett) was the best option—snapping the football, going with the silent cadence,” said coach Bryan Harsin at his Monday press conference. “Sometimes opportunities like that—guys take advantage of it, and he certainly did that.” Harsin said they’ll monitor Hampton’s health when practice resumes today, but he indicated that Larson will be the guy Saturday night at San Diego State.
Interesting times in San Diego. One way or another, Saturday night’s game will be Boise State’s last at what used to be Qualcomm Stadium—and is now back to San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium. The Broncos aren’t slated to face San Diego State on the road again until 2021, at which time the Aztecs hope upon hope that they’ll have a new stadium to call their own in Mission Valley. The university has taken steps this fall, hiring Populous to draw up a conceptual plan. Populous designed the Padres’ Petco Park and dozens of other college and pro stadiums, including the new one at Colorado State. One wish list from the San Diego Union-Tribune: “It seats 35,000 for college football. It can be downsized to 25,000 for pro soccer. It can be expanded to 55,000 or more if the NFL wants to return.” Which it should.
I hope you’re sitting down, because I know you’re going to find this hard to believe. Boise State’s game against Wyoming a week from Saturday on the blue turf will kick off at 8:15 p.m. Shocking, I know. But after a 1:45 start and two at 6 p.m. so far this season, you knew this was coming. Remember that the game is on ESPN2—that kind of exposure makes it bearable. When the Broncos end up on ESPNU or CBS Sports Network? Not so much. Idaho will be at the opposite end of the clock that day. The Vandals’ game at Missouri will kick off at 10 a.m. Mountain time on the SEC Network.
If you didn’t have your ears on, this would have sounded logical about six years ago. Kelton Moore is the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week. But—yes—this is K-E-L-T-O-N Moore, a Nevada running back. We don’t know how his football smarts compare to those of Kellen, but Kelton certainly has better wheels. This Moore rushed for 216 yards on just 16 carries (11.4 yards per attempt) and added five catches for 46 yards and a touchdown to lead Nevada to a 35-21 home victory over Hawaii. It was the Wolf Pack’s first win of the season after an 0-5 start, the team’s worst in 53 years (“since the Beatles came to America,” as was pointed out by the Reno Gazette-Journal’s Chris Murray). Elsewhere, Idaho kicker Cade Coffey is the Sun Belt Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time in three weeks.
The headline in the Coloradoan newspaper Sunday read, “Mountain West title game or bust for CSU football.” After Colorado State’s 27-14 win at Utah State Saturday, columnist Kevin Lytle ran through CSU’s upcoming schedule and basically chalked up wins for the Rams over Nevada, Air Force, New Mexico and Wyoming. “That leaves Boise State,” wrote Lytle. “Of course, the Broncos are good, but a far cry from the days of busting the BCS. Circle Nov. 11 on the calendar for when Boise State visits CSU. That should be a Mountain Division title game. The Rams are the only Mountain Division team who has never beat Boise State. This needs to be the year that changes.” There’s your line in the sand.
What a confounding turn of events at Oregon State yesterday. Gary Andersen resigned as head coach and essentially tore up his contract, giving OSU a pass on the $12 million he was owed through 2021. Oregonian columnist John Canzano surmises that at the end of the day, Andersen just felt he couldn’t win in Corvallis, where he was 1-5 this year and 7-23 overall in 2½ seasons. Saturday’s 38-10 loss at USC was apparently the final straw. Andersen’s the one who turned around the Utah State program beginning in 2009, moving on to Wisconsin after winning the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. His surprising exit from the Badgers following a 10-3 season in 2014 looks even more curious now.
The Statesman isn’t covering Boise’s minor league teams on a regular basis anymore—so hey, I’ll try to help out. The Idaho Steelheads’ goaltending situation is becoming clear as the season opener approaches this Friday night. The Steelheads released rookie netminder Chris Truehl yesterday, leaving last season’s primary tandem between the pipes. Branden Komm made 14 saves in 15 shots-on-goal in Idaho’s 2-1 exhibition win over Utah in West Valley City last Friday while playing half the game. Philippe Desrosiers, who was reassigned by the Texas Stars of the AHL at the end of last week, went the distance in a 5-2 victory over the Grizzlies in Boise in the return game Saturday, clocking 31 saves. That’s a good one-two punch at the outset.
This Day In Sports…October 10, 1957, 60 years ago today:
Lew Burdette wins his third game of the World Series as the Milwaukee Braves beat the mighty New York Yankees, 5-0, in Game 7 to win the world championship. It’s still one of the single biggest days in Milwaukee history—one of the darkest days would come just eight years later when the Braves announced they were moving to Atlanta.
(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.)