BOISE STATE 41, COLORADO STATE 10
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — No. 25 Boise State and its unflappable true freshman quarterback hammered Colorado State 41-10 on Saturday night at Hughes Stadium with big plays in the first half and physical dominance in the second half.
The Broncos scored first-half touchdowns on plays of 53, 56 and 85 yards to build a 17-point lead. They closed out their fourth straight win with two touchdown drives over 80 yards in the second half and a stingy defense that hasn't allowed a second-half point since the Sept. 12 loss at BYU.
The defense contributed two interceptions and a forced fumble, increasing its total takeaways to 13 during the winning streak.
Still, the Broncos walked away a bit unsatisfied.
“I told those guys, ‘Enjoy it,’ ” coach Bryan Harsin said. “We’re never in that mindset, this is just what we do. Every single week is a challenge. We played a good Colorado State team, they were ready to play us. Our guys came out here, started fast and got after it. Did we play perfectly? No. Was that our standard? No. Did we come here to win the game, and is that what we wanted to get done? Absolutely.”
Quarterback Brett Rypien faced more defensive pressure than he has in his young career but made some timely throws just before he was hit. Rypien topped 300 passing yards for the second time in three starts, setting a career high with 339. He threw his first interception but also scored his first touchdown.
Sophomore tailback Jeremy McNichols added his second 100-yard rushing game (104 yards), 77 receiving yards and two touchdowns before leaving after a hit to the head (he was out of uniform at the end of the game and his status is uncertain).
Junior wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck made five catches for 178 yards and two scores.
“Brett played really well tonight,” Harsin said. “... He’s seeing some things and feeling some things out there. I was very proud of the way he played tonight and I just see him each game getting better and better.”
Boise State improved to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the Mountain West going into a key Mountain Division game Friday night at Utah State. Colorado State slipped to 2-4, 0-2, in its first season under coach Mike Bobo.
“We pretty much got whipped soundly in all three phases tonight,” Bobo said. “... We had a chance to grab momentum a couple times during the game and couldn’t do it. They were more consistent, made more plays and out-executed us all night.”
Boise State outgained Colorado State 597-256.
The Broncos have outscored their past four opponents by a combined score of 204-24.
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Coach Bryan Harsin
— On Shane Williams-Rhodes’ TD pass: “He’s a guy that said he could get it done. Shane’s been one of our better players for a long time. He continues to, every single week in my opinion, get better. This is just another part of his game, another tool in his toolbox, so to speak. The only thing I told him is, ‘Don’t leave it short.’ You go out there for your first pass and you throw a touchdown, that’s pretty good. Now, the guy he’s throwing it to is pretty good as well. Thomas set it up. To me, that’s part of some of the things we do, but it’s also giving guys opportunities. They’ve seen it in the past and they want to have their shot at doing it, they work really hard on it. You don’t know how many reps we got on that before we actually go out there and run it for that one touchdown. They executed it, and I’m really excited for those guys and that play, and I thought coach (Eliah) Drinkwitz did a great job calling it at the right time.”
— On Sperbeck and McNichols: “They’ve elevated their game each week. ... Jeremy, I thought, ran really hard tonight, physical. He showed up. That was the mentality we wanted to establish in the run game.”
— On the defense: “I thought our defense played really well but we played against a team that was going to try to be physical and run the ball. ... That’s tough to defend against. Colorado State got onto a roll. Mike Bobo does a great job with the offense of getting that set up, and they made a few plays. And they’ve got arguably the best wide receiver in the conference and our guys did a great job against him. We played a really good team. We don’t expect to have zero points every single game but we expect to compete and you saw that when it was time to make plays they stepped up and they made plays. They got us one time on the touchdown. We really wanted that. We thought we had the right play called and they got us and from that point on they didn’t get us.”
— On McNichols’ injury: “I don’t know his status. He didn’t come back in. We’ll figure out where he’s at after tonight. But not coming in, that’s a problem.”
— On going to Utah State on Friday after the Colorado State trip: “It’s really tough. And not against easy football teams either. we’re going from Colorado State, one of the most physical teams we’ve played, to Utah State, maybe the most physical team in our league ... both on the road. Bye weeks usually happen right about now and we don’t have it until week nine. That is uncharted territory for myself for putting a bye week this late. ... We’re going to have to deal with it. We’re going to have to find ways to be creative to keep our guys healthy and have them ready to play. But we also knew what we were getting into before we started.”
— On Sperbeck’s 85-yard TD catch right after a Colorado State score: “That’s a great answer by the offense. Guys didn’t flinch. And to me, that’s the key ingredient.”
S Darian Thompson
— On tying the Mountain West record for career interceptions: “It means a lot. Eric Weddle is a great player in the NFL, someone I look up to, so to be able to tie his record is a blessing.”
— On missing practice for the birth of his daughter (full note below): “Pretty cool week. To come out here and get this W for the team and have another interception, it’s great. It’s been a great week for me.”
WR Shane Williams-Rhodes
— On his touchdown pass: “It was nice. It was also my first touchdown this year. I’ve been looking for a way to get in the end zone. I’ll take a pass.”
— He had never thrown a pass in a game at any level. “I told them I’m only good for about 25 yards, but Thomas ran a little farther than that and I was able to get it there. ... I usually don’t get nervous out there but that was one of the plays I actually got nervous for.”
— On breaking the tendency by having him throw: “It caught them off-guard. They weren’t expecting it.”
— On Rypien: “He’s a warrior. He’s been showing that since he’s been here. He takes the hit, he’ll get up and he’ll throw a touchdown pass. That’s how we view Brett. He’s given us exactly what we expected out of him.”
WR Thomas Sperbeck
— On the win: “Coach Harsin was just talking about it in the locker room — we left a little out there, but each week, even though the scores are like they are, we have to keep pushing ourselves to get better.”
— On the offense: “Definitely the offense is clicking right now and we have a lot of momentum and we’re carrying it from each game and we just have to carry it into the next one.”
— On McNichols: “The guy is really tough. He’s battling for those extra yards every time and that one he had where he just creased it and had the touchdown was awesome.”
LB Ben Weaver
— On Colorado State: “They did a hell of a job tonight. They were running the ball on us and that hasn’t happened on us much this year, so give good credit to them. They were really pounding the rock. ... We’ll make the corrections so that doesn’t happen again.”
— On Thompson’s big week: “It’s awesome for all of us. We’re all a family here, so when he has a kid, we all have a kid. It’s a family atmosphere so the game that he had was awesome.”
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Miami Dolphins tailback Jay Ajayi, who is injured, joined the Boise State road trip. Ajayi gave up his senior year in 2015 to go to the NFL. Full post on Ajayi here.
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BSU— Thomas Sperbeck 53 pass from Shane Williams-Rhodes (Tyler Rausa kick), 12:10. Key play: Quarterback Brett Rypien delivered a strike under pressure to Williams-Rhodes for 16 yards on third-and-5. Drive: 5 plays, 72 yards, 1:37. Boise State 7, Colorado State 0
BSU— Rausa 27 field goal, 10:08. Key plays: Safety Darian Thompson drilled running back Dalyn Dawkins to knock the ball loose and defensive end Tyler Horn recovered to put the Broncos at the Colorado State 11-yard line. The offense went three-and-out. Drive: 4 plays, 1 yard, 1:18. Boise State 10, Colorado State 0
BSU— Jeremy McNichols 56 run (Rausa kick), 7:53. Key plays: The Broncos’ 67-yard punt return was wiped out by penalty, but that didn’t slow them down. A pass interference penalty got the drive going. Drive: 4 plays, 88 yards, 1:29. Boise State 17, Colorado State 0
CSU— Joe Hansley 13 pass from Coleman Key (Wyatt Bryan kick), 14:56. Key plays: The Rams converted third-and-5 on a pass to Rashard Higgins and two fourth-and-1s on Jasen Oden runs. The TD came on third-and-12 as Hansley broke wide open at the goal line. Drive: 16 plays, 75 yards, 7:57. Boise State 17, Colorado State 7
BSU— Sperbeck 85 pass from Rypien (Rausa kick), 14:16. Drive: 1 play, 75 yards, :40. Boise State 24, Colorado State 7
CSU— Bryan 20 field goal, 3:11. Key plays: Hansley threw a 35-yard pass to tight end Kivon Cartwright on a double pass after the Rams stopped the Broncos on fourth-and-1. Rashard Higgins added a 20-yard catch but the Broncos held inside the 10-yard line. Drive: 7 plays, 62 yards, 2:57. Boise State 24, Colorado State 10
BSU— Rausa 35 field goal, :00. Key plays: Sperbeck made a leaping catch for 8 yards and Rypien launched a deep ball as he was hit to wide receiver Chaz Anderson for 35 yards. On the next play, Rypien avoided a sack just long enough to throw the ball away. Drive: 6 plays, 49 yards, :33. Boise State 27, Colorado State 10
BSU— McNichols 1 run (Rausa kick), 4:50. Key plays: On third-and-5, Rypien had an extended amount of time to throw and hit McNichols running down the right sideline for a 40-yard gain. On third-and-1, tailback Kelsey Young kept from the wildcat for 6 yards to the 1-yard line. Drive: 10 plays, 82 yards, 3:44. Boise State 34, Colorado State 10
BSU— Rypien 4 run (Rausa kick), 12:18. Key plays: Wide receiver Akilian Butler fumbled on the second play of the drive but left tackle Rees Odhiambo recovered. A pass interference penalty on third-and-7 kept the drive alive. Drive: 10 plays, 89 yards, 3:11. Boise State 41, Colorado State 10
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First quarter: The Broncos came out firing. The defense forced a three-and-out and the offense went 72 yards in five plays, capped by wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes’ 53-yard TD pass to fellow wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck on the double pass. It was a new twist on a Boise State favorite because Sperbeck usually is the thrower on that play. Safety Darian Thompson forced a fumble two plays later to set up a Tyler Rausa field goal for a 10-0 lead. After another three-and-out, tailback Jeremy McNichols broke a 56-yard touchdown run for a 17-0 lead. The Rams offense finally got untracked on the ensuing possession. They marched 75 yards in 16 plays, converting two fourth-and-1s along the way. On third-and-12 at the Boise State 13-yard line (actually the first play of the second quarter), wide receiver Joe Hansley broke free in the front of the end zone for an easy TD pass from backup QB Coleman Key. In-game analysis: This was one of those games that would test the Broncos’ focus more than their ability — and the hot start showed they were ready to play. Boise State scored on the opening drive for just the second time this year. Colorado State did take advantage of the one weakness in the defense, third-and-long, on the TD.
Second quarter: The Broncos answered the Rams’ touchdown in one play — a perfect throw by Rypien to Sperbeck on a deep crossing route. Sperbeck ran away from the defense for an 85-yard TD. The Broncos missed chances to expand their 24-7 lead when Rausa missed a 55-yard field-goal attempt and McNichols was stuffed on fourth-and-1. Colorado State made it 24-10 on a 62-yard drive that ended with a field goal. The Broncos pulled ahead 27-10 on a field goal on the final play of the half. In-game analysis: The Broncos probably should have scored more than 27 points in the first half but too much pass rush on Rypien and the fourth-down failure — short-yardage offense has been a problem all season — got in the way. Colorado State was able to drive the ball in the quarter but the Broncos were tough around the red zone. Cornerback Jonathan Moxey made an acrobatic interception. Halftime stats: Boise State outgained Colorado State 383-177. Rypien was 16-for-24 for 245 yards and a TD with one sack and no turnovers. Sperbeck made five catches for 178 yards and two touchdowns. McNichols had nine carries for 65 yards and a TD. The Broncos threw for 298 yards. Colorado State backup QB Coleman Key was 4-for-14 for 46 yards and a TD with an interception. Starter Nick Stevens was pulled after going for 0-for-1. Star wide receiver Rashard Higgins had two catches for 32 yards. The Rams rushed for 96 yards against the Broncos’ second-ranked rush defense.
Third quarter: Rypien threw his first college interception on the opening drive of the second half. The defense held when Thompson grabbed an interception of his own with Colorado State in scoring position. The Broncos put together their best sustained drive of the night later in the quarter for a 34-10 lead. The 10-play, 82-yard march was keyed by McNichols’ 40-yard catch on third-and-5. Rypien had a long time to throw and spotted McNichols running down the sideline. McNichols finished the drive with a 1-yard TD run but took a hit to the head at the goal line that kept him on the field for a minute or two. In-game analysis: The Broncos’ offense struggled all night to sustain drives, relying on the big plays, until the third-quarter TD drive. The defense continued to come up big when needed.
Fourth quarter: Rypien scored his first college touchdown on a 4-yard run with 12:18 left in the game. Then the Broncos emptied the bench.
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Unforgettable week for Thompson
Boise State senior safety Darian Thompson welcomed his daughter into the world Wednesday in Boise and tied a Mountain West record with his 18th career interception Saturday at Colorado State.
Thompson missed practice Wednesday so he could be with his girlfriend, Chelsey, as Novah Rosemarie was born.
“Pretty cool week,” Thompson said. “... (The birth) was absolutely nuts. I can’t even really explain it. It’s something I’ll never forget. I’m truly blessed for the family I have.”
Thompson also forced a fumble and finished with five tackles against the Rams.
“Just an uncommon person,” coach Bryan Harsin said. “There’s a reason he’s a captain, there’s a reason he’s on the side of our stadium. He’s just a guy who’s got a maturity about him at practice, even on the sideline during games, whether we’re up or not. It’s not about motivating him; it’s just about what’s next.”
Thompson’s interception in the third quarter tied former Utah defensive back Eric Weddle, who is a longtime member of the San Diego Chargers. Thompson, who is one ahead of teammate Donte Deayon, also tied the Boise State FBS-era school record of 18 set by cornerback Gabe Franklin (2001-04).
Thompson’s continued playmaking is bolstering his resume for the NFL Draft. He is one of the nation’s top safety prospects.
“Definitely there was a different feeling,” he said of Saturday’s game. “I’m a father now and that’s something I keep in the back of my mind. I have to go out here and try to provide for my family.”
A new spin on an old trick
Boise State used its double pass — a lateral to a wide receiver with a second throw to follow — in a new way Saturday night.
Senior wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes threw the first pass of his career in the first quarter. His target: junior wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck, who usually is the passer on the Broncos’ trick plays.
The defense was so fooled that Sperbeck was wide open. The play resulted in a 53-yard touchdown.
Another great shot from John Kelly of Boise State Photo Services, this of SWR's TD pass to Sperbeck pic.twitter.com/HmanGJ8f7b— Boise State Football (@BroncoSportsFB) October 11, 2015
Sperbeck’s run continues
Sperbeck has been a big-play machine since true freshman Brett Rypien became the quarterback in the second half of the Idaho State game.
He added an 85-yard touchdown catch from Rypien on a deep crossing route to the 53-yarder from Williams-Rhodes.
Sperbeck now has 16 catches for 432 yards and five touchdowns since Rypien became the quarterback. His average per catch: 27 yards.
Rausa tries another long one
Boise State junior kicker Tyler Rausa missed a 55-yard field-goal attempt wide left in the second quarter. He also has missed from 54 yards this season.
He’s 11-for-11 on his other attempts with a long of 51. He hit from 27 and 35 yards in the first half against Colorado State.
QB change for Colorado State
After two drives without a first down to start the game, Colorado State switched to freshman quarterback Coleman Key. Key played the rest of the first half.
Starter Nick Stevens was 0-for-1 before he was removed. Key finished 5-for-19 for 56 yards and a TD with two interceptions. He also rushed for 25 yards and proved elusive as a scrambler.
Stevens came back late in the game and was 8-for-10 for 60 yards overall.
The Broncos wore blue pants, white jerseys and blue helmets. ... The single-game captains were linebacker Ben Weaver and tight end Holden Huff. ... Nickel Chanceller James carried the Hammer. ... Boise State won the coin toss and deferred. ... It was 84 degrees at kickoff. ... Deayon returned a punt 67 yards in the first quarter. The play was completely wiped out by a holding call on defensive end Jabril Frazier. ... Attendance: 26,117. ... Boise State had a shutout streak of 108 minutes, 13 seconds before Colorado State scored in the second quarter. ...
SUCH GRACE FOR A BIG MAN pic.twitter.com/CIiHUVO12a— Boise State Football (@BroncoSportsFB) October 11, 2015
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Our coverage plan is a little different this year. I’ll be spending 100 percent of my time on our live/digital coverage of the game — so I’ll be even more active than usual updating this blog and interacting with fans on Facebook and Twitter (@IDS_BroncoBeat).
Late in the game, we’ll be collecting fans’ brief takeaways from the game. We’ll run the best ones in Sunday’s paper and in the blog post with my takeaways from the game. To participate, tweet with the hashtag #bsutake, respond to the Facebook post soliciting opinions or email email@example.com.
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