It’s Week 6 of our new feature: BSU Takes.
After each game, I post my top takeaways. During the game, I solicit takeaways from fans on Twitter and Facebook. We’ll run a select few — and a shorter version of my story — in the newspaper. But the full version will always be in the Bronco Beat blog with many contributions from fans.
Boise State thumped Colorado State 41-10 on Saturday night. You can find our comprehensive, multimedia coverage of the game here and Dave Southorn’s traditional game story here.
1. McNichols keeps getting better: Boise State true sophomore tailback Jeremy McNichols keeps growing into the Broncos’ latest star tailback.
One drive Saturday night showed how much versatility he brings to the position. On a third-and-5 in the third quarter, McNichols outran a defender down the right sideline and made a difficult catch for a 40-yard gain — a play that highlighted his past experience as a wide receiver. He finished that drive with a 1-yard touchdown run that ended with a violent collision at the goal line.
McNichols was shaken up on the TD by a helmet-to-helmet hit that cast some doubt on his availability for next week.
“He’s dynamic,” offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz said. “He ran hard. He had an explosive run in the first quarter (56-yard TD) and then had that (40-yard) catch. That was a great job of Brett (Rypien) finding him, keeping his eyes downfield. That was a great play by both those guys. I wish I could say that was coaching, but that’s called talent.”
McNichols finished with 17 carries for 104 yards and two touchdowns and six catches for 77 yards. He leads the nation with 14 touchdowns.
“The guy is really tough,” junior wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck said. “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.”
2. Brett Rypien is unflappable: Drinkwitz and coach Bryan Harsin chatted before the game and decided Colorado State would try to attack the true freshman quarterback making his third career start.
“We felt like they were going to try to pressure us and see if he could be accurate, and he was,” Drinkwitz said.
That theme started with the third play of the game, when Rypien threw a strike to senior wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes for a 16-yard gain on third-and-5.
“He hit Shane to the field and got smoked,” Drinkwitz said. “We’ve got to do a better job protecting him and he’s got to demonstrate toughness. He did that.”
Later, Rypien launched a pass down the left sideline as he was hit. That ball dropped perfectly into the hands of junior wide receiver Chaz Anderson for 35 yards. And on the McNichols 40-yarder, Rypien showed patience in a rare instance when he had abundant time — some QBs might have scrambled out of the pocket given the pressure that had been there most of the night.
“Brett played really well tonight,” Harsin said. “... He’s seeing some things and feeling some things out there, and that’s a credit to coach Drinkwitz and a credit to him and his preparation. But I was very proud of the way he played tonight and I just see him each game getting better and better.”
Rypien was 22-for-35 for a career-high 339 yards with one touchdown, his first interception and a sack. He also rushed for his first touchdown.
“He’s a warrior,” Williams-Rhodes said. “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.”
3. Yates shows versatility: Defensive coordinator Marcel Yates relented a bit on his “stop the run” mantra to protect his secondary against Colorado State’s passing attack. The Broncos gave up twice as many rushing yards as usual (105, at a rate of 2.8 per carry) but limited All-American Rashard Higgins to 42 receiving yards and the Rams to 10 points.
Colorado State’s longest pass play by a quarterback covered 23 yards.
Senior cornerback Donte Deayon made five tackles and recorded a pass breakup. Junior cornerback Jonathan Moxey added three tackles, two pass breakups and a crazy interception. Moxey jumped to break up a pass at the goal line and caught the ball on his back in the end zone.
“We probably gave up a little more rushing yards than we wanted to, but then again I didn’t want to leave those guys out on an island,” Yates said. “But then, when I did leave them on an island, they actually played well. Those corners did a good job.”
NOW FOR READERS’ TAKEAWAYS ...
Carl Lloyd Russell: I love it when we do so well that the third and fourth stringers get to play.
If this is what it looks like to struggle on the road under Rypien, Boise State will be double digit favorites for awhile. #BSUtakes— BroncoInTX (@Olsen27Mike) October 11, 2015
Boise State didn't play its best game & left points on the field, but still beat a conf. opponent by 30-plus points on the road. #bsutakes— Chase Glorfield (@SirGingerBeard4) October 11, 2015
Good test against a better team. We needed that to find out where we need to improve. #bsutakes— Linda (@Murphgal1991) October 11, 2015