Fresh off its best team effort of the season, the Boise State football team moved up two spots in the Associated Press poll and one spot in the Amway coaches poll.
The Broncos routed Hawaii 52-16 on Saturday, and on Sunday moved from No. 24 to 22 in the AP poll and from 24th to 23rd in the coaches poll. West Division champion San Diego State, which has won its last four games by at least 27 points, is the new AP No. 24 and No. 25 in the coaches poll.
It is the first time since Nov. 23, 2014 more than one Mountain West team has been ranked in both polls.
Both teams could very well meet in Dec. 3’s Mountain West championship game. Boise State needs Wyoming to lose one of its final two games, contingent on the Broncos winning out themselves. The Broncos, No. 22 in the College Football Playoff rankings, are one spot behind Western Michigan as the top Group of Five team. A win over a possible 11-1 San Diego State could vault them past the other Broncos into a Cotton Bowl berth, should they get a title shot.
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The next College Football Playoff rankings will be announced at approximately 7 p.m. on ESPN. It is approximate, as they will be announced between the Kentucky-Michigan State and Duke-Kansas basketball games.
Boise State running back Jeremy McNichols said after Saturday’s game in Honolulu that because Hawaii was stacking the box against the run, it opened up the ability to bounce outside. He broke off a 38 and a 35-yard run off the edge.
On the 35-yarder, the first play of the team’s second drive of the second quarter, McNichols was seemingly stopped behind the line of scrimmage, but got free off the left side for a big gain. It was aided by quarterback Brett Rypien setting a block after seeing McNichols not go down right away.
“I told Brett, when he hands it off, if I cut back, man, you’ve got to go get somebody,” McNichols said. “I’ve told him that since last year, so he finally did it. It was a big play and he had the key block.”
McNichols capped that drive off with a 5-yard touchdown run five plays later for a 28-0 lead.
It was the best all-around performance in Rypien’s young career, from the block to his 4-yard touchdown run in the second quarter (his second career rushing TD) to his 18-of-22 passing for 338 yards and four touchdowns.
Senior wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck had 114 receiving yards on five receptions. It was his 14th 100-yard receiving game, establishing him as No. 1 in Boise State history in that statistic. He’s already No. 1 in school history with 3,352 receiving yards and No. 4 with 206 receptions.
The Broncos were happy to see Wyoming fall 69-66 in three overtimes to UNLV, but they know any momentum is moot if they can’t take care of their own business. And next, it’s the team that beat the Cowboys. UNLV heads to Albertsons Stadium for, by its standards, an early 7 p.m. kickoff Friday. The Rebels (4-6, 3-3) have been a strong running team, currently 14th in the FBS at 252.7 yards per game.
Here’s how I voted in the AP poll:
2. Ohio State
9. West Virginia
10. Western Michigan
11. Penn State
19. Boise State
20. Washington State
21. Oklahoma State
22. Florida State
23. San Diego State
25. Texas A&M
UNLV at No. 22 Boise State
- When: 7 p.m. Friday
- Where: Albertsons Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf)
- TV: ESPN2
- Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KTIK 93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)
- Records: Boise State 9-1, 5-1 Mountain West; UNLV 4-6, 3-3
- Series: Boise State leads 6-3 (won 55-27 last season in Las Vegas)
- Vegas line: Boise State favored by 26 1/2
- Kickoff weather: Low-40s, light winds