Tuesday, September 11, 2018.
As balanced as Boise State was in its record offensive night against UConn, there was one player who took every snap—at least through the first play of the third quarter. And Bronco quarterback Brett Rypien did enough to be named Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week after the 62-7 victory. It gives us a chance to talk about Rypien, who has now thrown for 667 yards and seven touchdowns the first two Saturdays in September. For perspective, consider that Rypien didn’t hit 667 yards last year until October 14, and didn’t throw his seventh TD pass until November 4. One of the bulletpoints in the Mountain West release: Rypien has tied Kellen Moore’s Boise State record with 16 career 300-yard games.
Remember when everybody wondered about Rypien’s ability to hit the deep ball his freshman and sophomore seasons? Boise State was not shy about taking its shots with him, and he’d overthrow some of them. Even the ones he completed often saw his receiver, usually Thomas Sperbeck, have to adjust his route a bit. But late last season, when Rypien’s connection with Cedrick Wilson was at its peak, the ball was in the breadbasket. How about the clutch 59-yard throw to Wilson in the fourth quarter of the Mountain West championship game—and the bombs to Wilson in the Las Vegas Bowl? The deep balls to CT Thomas, Sean Modster and John Hightower the past two weeks were in-stride beauties. The task now for Rypien is to perform like that in a place that may find him under duress this Saturday: Stillwater, OK.
It would be nice for Boise State if it could have all hands on deck for the Oklahoma State game. Coach Bryan Harsin said at his press conference yesterday it’s possible. Harsin “anticipates” that wide receiver Octavius Evans and defensive tackle David Moa will be ready to go, as will linebacker Tyson Maeva, who sat out the UConn game. Harsin added that linebacker Zeke Noa will probably be available, back from an undisclosed surgery on August 23. The 5-11, 243-pounder could provide some needed physicality against the Cowboys this Saturday. Noa is surely anxious to get on the field—he missed the entire season last year due to a knee injury suffered in fall camp.
There’s a lot of similarities in the two teams that will meet on ESPN Saturday afternoon, and that’s reflected in the three-point spread favoring Oklahoma State. Boise State’s 818 yards on Saturday were the most by one team in an FBS game since both Oklahoma and Texas Tech had 854 yards in the same game in 2016. Oklahoma State? The Cowboys boast the No.1 offense in the country, piling up 297 rushing yards and 377 passing yards per game. The sample size is small, though, with OSU getting little resistance from Missouri State and South Alabama in 58-17 and 55-13 victories, respectively. Both games were played in Boone Pickens Stadium, so there’s a lot still to be determined about the Cowboys. But this Harsin knows: “They’re no-huddle, and they run the ball, and they’re physical when they do it.”
In Stillwater, they’re trying to fire up the Cowboys faithful for this Saturday’s game. And Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy is aboard. At his press conference yesterday, Gundy came in wearing a sweater. Then he “tragically and totally accidentally” (according to one writer) spilled a smoothie on it. He then took off the sweater to reveal a referee’s shirt, donned to send a message to fans to “stripe the stadium” for the game against the Broncos.
Will this be a game-changer for San Diego State—and its opponents? Aztecs coach Rocky Long says quarterback Christian Chapman, a four-year starter, is going to miss up to six weeks with an MCL sprain of the left knee suffered on an illegal hit in Saturday’s 28-14 win over Sacramento State. SDSU plays Boise State on the blue turf three weeks from this Saturday. Junior Ryan Agnew, who has backed up Chapman for three years, will be the interim starter. After going 11-of-17 with two interceptions against the Hornets, Agnew will be thrown into the fire this week against No. 23 Arizona State.
Doug Martin backed up Marshawn Lynch in his Oakland Raiders debut last night, and he got backup-type carries: four for 20 yards. The former Boise State star also had two catches for a net loss of three yards. Martin didn’t really have a chance to get in a rhythm as the Raiders offense fell apart in the second half of a 33-13 loss to the L.A. Rams. This is a second chance for Martin, if he gets a chance. He totaled 4,633 rushing yards and 26 rushing touchdowns in six seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
There won’t be a lot of public access to the Dallas Stars when they hold their training camp in Boise this weekend. The Stars will hold closed practice sessions at CenturyLink Arena on Friday and Saturday. If you’re an Idaho Steelheads season ticket holder or are staying at a select area hotel, you’ll be able to get in to Saturday’s practice. On Sunday, the Steelheads will host the Stars’ “Victory Green vs. White Intrasquad Scrimmage” at CenturyLink Arena. Dallas will split into two squads and play an officiated scrimmage beginning at 11 a.m. The Steelies say a limited quantity of tickets still remain for Sunday's event.
He may not be a household name right now, but he has the look of one. Among the focal points at the 29th annual Albertsons Boise Open this week will be South Korea’s Sungjae Im, the first player in Web.com Tour history to top the Money List wire-to-wire. Im opened the season with a victory in the Bahamas and finished with a win in the regular season finale in Portland, and never relinquished the money list lead in between. Chesson Hadley parlayed his win in Boise a year ago into Web.com Tour Player of the Year honors, and Im is making his case for the same award this year.
This Day In Sports…September 11, 1985:
Cincinnati’s Pete Rose records the 4,192nd hit of his big league career, passing the legendary Ty Cobb for the all-time lead. Rose got the record-breaker on a single to left-center-field off San Diego pitcher Eric Snow in his first at bat of the game. But Rose may have actually reached the mark three days earlier. New century research found that two of Cobb’s hits may have counted twice, thus dropping his actual hit total to 4,189.
(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.)