The Boise State football coaches didn’t simplify the game plan for true freshman quarterback Brett Rypien’s first start last week.
They didn’t reduce the standard, either.
Rypien threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover Friday at Virginia to help the Broncos to a 56-14 win — numbers any coach/quarterback combo would take in a first start.
Rypien also made plenty of mistakes, from three sacks to errors with the snap count, that provided easy fodder for his coaches in video review. The Broncos also were 3-for-14 on third down.
“We’re not easing into this with a freshman quarterback,” offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz said. “He’s a quarterback, and he’s going to be expected to play like a quarterback in this system is expected to play. He was by no means perfect. There’s some things he’s got to get a lot better at for this offense to be as dynamic as it needs to be.”
Drinkwitz showed his faith in Rypien by opening the game with passes on three of the first four plays. He called at least 44 pass plays and at most 25 run plays against a Virginia defense that liked to put eight defenders in the tackle box and play man coverage.
“We went in there and game-planned like we were going to game plan for whoever played quarterback,” Drinkwitz said. “(Injured starter Ryan Finley) actually runs a little better than anybody else in that room. We still called quarterback runs and read stuff. (Rypien) did it. He’s got to get better at it.”
Rypien graded out “fairly well,” coach Bryan Harsin said. The coach was most excited about the last TD pass of the game — an otherwise-meaningless 64-yarder from Rypien to Thomas Sperbeck — because of how it happened.
The Broncos identified the Cavaliers’ tendency to put a defender right in Sperbeck’s face at the line of scrimmage in situations where they wanted to throw a quick out. They decided that when it happened again, they’d send Sperbeck deep and take a shot.
Sperbeck won his matchup, Rypien launched a nice pass and Sperbeck broke free for the score.
“That probably fired me up more than anything,” Harsin said. “When it presented itself, he was able to see it and he and Sperbeck hit it. That’s what adjustments are for, to take advantage of the opportunities and looks they’re giving you. That was the best moment just as far as quarterbacking goes.”
Rypien will make his second start Saturday against Hawaii (8:15 p.m., Albertsons Stadium, ESPN2).
Sophomore Tommy Stuart, who was listed as the co-starter last week but barely played until mop-up time, still could have a role, Harsin said. Stuart might be used in a package of plays that require a dual-threat quarterback, like last week, or perhaps play an entire series.
“We’re not in a whole two-quarterback system,” Harsin said. “That’s not what we’re doing, but we’re letting guys play. If that means we give him a series vs. a package of plays, we can do that as well. It makes us more multiple on offense is what it does. If guys are deserving of playing, we try to find roles for them — why is it any different at quarterback, as long as he can keep our flow and momentum?”
Finley pleads guilty
Finley pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges Monday stemming from his April arrest. The charges involved underage possession/consumption of alcohol and resisting/obstructing officers.
Finley received a withheld judgment and three months of probation. He was required to pay $719 in fines and already had completed the required 40 hours of community service.
Boise State declined to comment on Finley’s case.
Finley, of Phoenix, started the first three games this season before sustaining a broken bone in his right ankle. He’s out for about two months.
Sumner-Gardner breaks ankle
Boise State sophomore safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner needs surgery to repair a broken ankle bone but is expected to return this season, Harsin said.
Sumner-Gardner ranks seventh on the team with 14 tackles. He started the first four games and was injured while making a tackle against Virginia.
Redshirt sophomore Kam Miles, who played with Sumner-Gardner at West Mesquite (Texas) High, replaced him during last week’s game and is listed as the starter for this week’s game.
Miles finished with two tackles, a forced fumble and a pass breakup. He also dropped a near interception.
Walk-on Skyler Seibold joined the depth chart as Miles’ backup.
“(Miles) carried the flag. He played better than what we expected actually,” senior nickel Mercy Maston said. “I can’t wait to see what he does this week.”
Sumner-Gardner isn’t eligible for a medical redshirt because he played too many games.
Players of the game against Virginia: Sperbeck (offense), linebacker Ben Weaver (defense), kicker Tyler Rausa (special teams), right guard Steven Baggett (O-line) and nose tackle Armand Nance (D-line). ... Harsin is pushing fans to sell out Albertsons Stadium this week. The Broncos have filled the stadium in its current configuration just three times: in 2012 and 2014 vs. BYU and 2015 vs. Washington.