Ryp­ien breaks pass­ing records, then tack­les

The Idaho Statesman (Sunday) - - BOISE STATE FOOTBALL - BY DAVE SOUTHORN AND CHADD CRIPE dsouthorn@ida­hostates­man.com ccripe@ida­hostates­man.com

Early in Fri­day’s game, Boise State se­nior quar­ter­back Brett Ryp­ien broke pass­ing records. Later, he broke tack­les.

Ryp­ien broke the Moun­tain West records for ca­reer yards pass­ing and completions in the first quar­ter, and used his legs — yes, re­ally — to keep drives alive in the sec­ond half. He had 30 yards on eight car­ries, and mi­nus a 3-yard sack, his 33 yards gained on the ground were the most in his ca­reer.

“He might’ve been hold­ing that back,” ju­nior run­ning back Alexan­der Mat­ti­son said.

Bet­ter late than never, in this, Ryp­ien’s 47th game at Boise State.

Ryp­ien un­corked a 10yard run on the fi­nal play of the third quar­ter on a third-and-4, hur­dling the out­stretched arm of Fresno State line­backer Jeff Al­li­son on the way. He also had an­other 10-yard run in the fourth quar­ter, keeping it on a third-down read op­tion play. Mostly, it was the de­fense key­ing on Mat­ti­son, but Ryp­ien was con­fi­dent, keeping it and scoot­ing around the edge for the first down.

“It was just me try­ing to make a play, there were some third-down sit­u­a­tions where they were drop­ping in a zone ... felt like their eyes were off me,” Ryp­ien said. “That was prob­a­bly the eas­i­est I would ever have to make on a zone read, they were crash­ing down pretty hard.”

Ryp­ien broke the Moun­tain West ca­reer record for pass­ing yards on the first play Fri­day, a 41-yard com­ple­tion to wide re­ceiver Sean Mod­ster. That gave Ryp­ien 12,696 yards in his ca­reer. Ryp­ien broke the mark set by San Diego State’s Ryan Lind­ley, who had 12,690 yards from 2008 to 2011.

Ryp­ien fin­ished the game with 269 yards pass­ing on 24-of-29 completions with a touch­down and an in­ter­cep­tion. He now has 981 ca­reer completions, which passes Lind­ley’s mark of 960.

Ryp­ien is sec­ond in school his­tory in pass­ing yardage. Kellen Moore threw for 14,667 yards from 2008 to 2011 but his pro­duc­tion was split be­tween the WAC (2008-10) and Moun­tain West (2011).


Moun­tain West com­mis­sioner Craig Thomp­son met with me­dia be­fore Fri­day’s game, and was un­der­stand­ably op­ti­mistic about his league with four teams 7-2 or bet­ter.

Thomp­son said he feels the con­fer­ence is in good shape if UCF fal­ters or doesn’t win the Amer­i­can Ath­letic Con­fer­ence. He even sug­gested the Fi­esta Bowl would be wise to nab the Moun­tain West champ as an at-large for the re­gional ap­peal even if UCF runs the ta­ble.

On the topic of bowls, fol­low­ing the 2019 sea­son, the Las Ve­gas Bowl will no longer be a Moun­tain

West bowl, switch­ing to Pac-12 against SEC. Thomp­son had said in July that there was a chance a sec­ond Las Ve­gas bowl could be cre­ated, but said Fri­day that ap­pears un­likely. How­ever, he did say a new op­tion could be com­ing.

“I don’t want to put the cart ahead of the horse … but I’m re­ally ex­cited about the po­ten­tial re­place­ment we’re look­ing at for the Las Ve­gas Bowl. It’s a des­ti­na­tion our fans would re­ally like, in all like­li­hood would be against the Pac-12. It’s a new op­por­tu­nity, but that’s as far as I’ll go right now.”

In July, Thomp­son said pub­licly there could be a third Phoenix-area bowl game added in ad­di­tion to the Fi­esta and Cheez-it. With a ren­o­vated Sun Devil Sta­dium in Tempe, that could be a land­ing spot for a new game.


Boise State got a ver­bal com­mit­ment this week from Yorba Linda (Calif.) High de­fen­sive line­man Michael Cal­la­han, the Bron­cos’ third ad­di­tion to the 2019 class in a week’s span.

Cal­la­han (6-foot-4, 246 pounds) had of­fers from Hawaii and Utah in ad­di­tion to most Ivy League schools, in­clud­ing Prince­ton and Har­vard. He’s the ninth known com­mit­ment of the class, but the sec­ond de­fen­sive player, as Cal­la­han joins STUD end/line­backer Casey Kline on the list.


Boise State ju­nior wide re­ceiver John Hightower is out for Fri­day’s game against Fresno State, the school an­nounced be­fore the game. Hightower pulled up short on a route last week against BYU and didn’t re­turn to the game be­cause of the in­jury.

Hightower came into the game tied for third on the team with 30 catches and is sec­ond with a 16.5yard aver­age as a pro­duc­tive deep threat. He also is the team’s sec­ond-lead­ing rusher with 163 yards and two touch­downs on just eight car­ries.

Oth­ers out Fri­day in­clude tight end Gar­rett Colling­ham, tight end Matt Pi­s­tone and wide re­ceiver Octavius Evans. The Bron­cos al­ready had an­nounced that lead­ing tack­ler Ri­ley Whim­pey would be out for the rest of the sea­son with a knee in­jury.

With­out the two tight ends, the Bron­cos used true fresh­man cen­ter Kekan­iokoa Holo­ma­liagon­za­lez as a full­back, and he made his de­but on the first play of the fourth quar­ter on Mat­ti­son’s 1-yard touch­down run.


Sopho­more tight end John Bates had just one catch for 3 yards in the six games prior to Fri­day’s win, but he made a huge play that gave the Bron­cos some much-needed mo­men­tum.

Trail­ing 17-3 and the Bron­cos fac­ing a thir­dand-16 at the Fresno State 49-yard line, Ryp­ien found a safety valve in Bates about 5 yards down­field, but the 6-foot-6 tight end broke a tackle and turned it into 15. Mat­ti­son got the first down on the en­su­ing play on a fourt­hand-1, then scored the Bron­cos’ first touch­down five plays later.


Boise State wore all blue . ... Boise State punt re­turner/cor­ner­back Avery Wil­liams car­ried the Ham­mer . ... Fresno State won the coin toss and de­ferred . ... Ju­nior safety Kekoa Nawahine led Boise State with 10 tack­les . ... Sopho­more STUD end Cur­tis Weaver had a sack, giv­ing him 19.5 for his ca­reer, which puts him al­ready at No. 9 in school his­tory . ... Sopho­more safety Jor­dan Hap­ple and red­shirt fresh­man line­backer Zeke Noa made their first starts for the Bron­cos . ... Fresno State is now 0-10 against Boise State at Al­bert­sons Sta­dium when the turf is blue. The Bulldogs last won here in 1984.

KYLE GREEN kgreen@ida­hostates­man.com

Boise State quar­ter­back Brett Ryp­ien (4) jumps into the air try­ing to evade Fresno State line­backer Jeff Al­li­son (9) and safety Mike Bell (4) in a 24-17 vic­tory over the Bulldogs on Fri­day.

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