Note: After the game, coach Bryan Harsin said that Brett Rypien remains the starting quarterback and the plan was to use Montell Cozart situationally. He had a scheduled series in the first half. We’ll have much more on the quarterback situation in my full column, which will post this evening.
The attention was on the quarterback.
The problem was on the offensive line.
The Broncos, using four inexperienced starters on the line, couldn’t handle Troy’s talented defensive line in Saturday’s season opener — a 24-13 win. Four different linemen committed penalties in the first half alone, when quarterback Brett Rypien was sacked three times. Rypien was sacked again in the second half.
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As a result of the ineffective line play, the Broncos couldn’t run the ball with Rypien in the game. He missed what should have been a touchdown pass on the first half under pressure. And the Broncos failed to score a touchdown with Rypien — the two-time All-Mountain West first-teamer — in the game.
The alternative is senior transfer quarterback Montell Cozart, whose running ability brings a different dimension to the team and compensates for some of the line woes. The former starter at Kansas led a touchdown drive in the first half as his running ability opened more space for tailback Alexander Mattison. That led to calls for more Cozart and less Rypien from the fans. Cozart didn’t re-enter until the fourth quarter, when he led the game-clinching drive.
There’s no doubt the Broncos were more effective with Cozart in the game. However, he struggled to hit open receivers down the field — which limits how effective he can be.
The problem was up front. But that is going to lead to at least a bit of quarterback controversy as the Broncos prepare for next week’s game at Washington State.
On the plus side, the Broncos’ special teams were dynamic a year after so many costly mistakes. Return man Avery Williams, who scored a touchdown on the Broncos’ first touch of the game, is fun to watch. And the young defense under coordinator Andy Avalos played stellar football with little help from the offense. Defense and special teams are a good recipe for success — but for the Broncos to win a championship and re-pack Albertsons Stadium, they’re going to need to fix the offensive line.
Each week, we’ll have an immediate, brief analysis of the Boise State football team’s game. Check IdahoStatesman.com for more coverage, including a full column, later in the day.
Fan reaction from Facebook:
Jake Lopez: QB controversy to start the season.
Justin Jeppesen: Great job D! That was a good offense they held all game long.
Tyler Fetzer: Cozart should start. Ryp has not learned from previous 2 years. Could be Troy is a quality opponent. Defense and special teams was great though
Kevin Nebeker: Well pleased with defense and special teams. Especially with how young the starters are. Once O-line improves the offense should flow better. Ryp needs to just play that 2015 game against Virginia and remember that he just needs to play like that and not put too much pressure on himself.
Be Danh: The Defense of BSU win the game not offense under Brett Rypien leadership.
Lonnie Hughes: Special teams. Way to go!!!!!
Flint Lightfoot: Cozart needs to start period. If the coaches can’t see that they need to be replaced.
Rebekah Probst: cozart! cozart! coooooo zaaaaart!!!!!!!!!
Chad Scott: Spot on about the oline. Rypien is better than he played but the o-line limited his ability. Unfortunately, to win games Cozart is a qb that is a bit more effective with a bad line.
Chris Grenfell: Big time O-Line problem!
Ray W. Wright: Rypien is the guy and the O line will improve with game experience. Cozart adds a good change of pace
Brian Critchfield: Play calling was a B-. Too many draw plays with a poor O-line. Needs to be more balanced play calling. With Cozart, the playbook really opens up. Should have 9 more points in field goals. The worst offender was BSU’s last play of the game. Take the points.
Robert Roundy: Troy was better than many thought and the line needs work.
Jay Saunders: Pathetic!!! Not impressed. Be lucky to win 6 games
Joe Rogalsky: I liked how bsu adjusted during the game. Ryp and the O line was not working. Brought in Cozart and it worked. QB is like any other position. Put guys in that will get the W.
Brian Rich: Agree. DL was able to sell out on the blitz with Rypien in and the OL couldn’t handle it.
Jt Belnap: The only reason Cozart was the better option is because he was mobile and our offensive line couldn’t do anything so we couldn’t run the ball. If things were working like they should we would be able to run the ball in Ryp could be protected and actually pass the ball. We shouldn’t be excited that Cozart is the answer. If he is playing it means we are having issues and he is the alternative
Gary Sackett: No mobility, missed receivers, interceptions, always goes long instead of intermediate routes. It's time to move on. Let's go real run and shoot.
Scott Wessel: Rypien was on the mark around 10-15 yards. He struggled deep and made some poor decisions. The pressure clearly got to him, and he panicked a bit. Cozarts mobility was key. He didn’t get flustered like Rypien because he could avoid the rush. Right now, I like cozart more