Ryan Finley left Boise State in April 2016 knowing he was unlikely to be the Broncos’ starter, which he was to start the 2015 campaign before a season-ending ankle injury. He was a hot commodity as a graduate transfer with three years of eligibility.
At North Carolina State, he not only found a shot to start and a chance to be reunited with former Boise State offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz, but also a place to excel.
Finley, a redshirt junior, was 22-of-32 passing for 230 yards and two touchdowns Saturday in an upset win at then-No. 12 Florida State. It was the Wolfpack’s first road win over a ranked foe since 2008.
“Ryan is playing the same way he has the last three games,” coach Dave Doeren said. “He’s managing the offense, he’s giving his receivers a chance, he’s not making mistakes with the ball and hurting our team, very accurate, throws catchable balls, very intelligent. He’s having a heck of a year.”
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In four games for the 3-1 Wolfpack, Finley is 118-of-159 passing for 1,217 yards, with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. His completion percentage of 74.2 percent is No. 5 in FBS. His streak of 224 straight passes without an interception is the longest in the nation.
In his first season with the Wolfpack, Finley had a strong start and was among the nation’s leaders in completion percentage, but he faded as the year progressed. North Carolina State, which hosts Syracuse on Saturday, is hoping to avoid that again.
“We did the same thing last year,” Drinkwitz told the Raleigh News & Observer. “When we get to the meat of the schedule, we’ll find out.”
Finley isn’t the only former Boise State quarterback making news.
▪ Tommy Stuart, who left the team following the Cactus Bowl, transferred to Duquesne, where he is now the Dukes’ starter. He’s 61-of-91 passing for 720 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions. He also has three rushing touchdowns. Last week, the senior was named Northeast Conference Offensive Player of the Week for Duquesne (2-1), which hosts West Virginia Wesleyan on Saturday.
▪ Jake Constantine, who left the team in August, has taken a majority of the snaps at quarterback for Ventura (Calif.) College. A redshirt freshman, he is 58-of-85 for 811 yards, with eight touchdowns and three interceptions. He also has two TD runs for the JC program. Ventura (2-2) hosts Saddleback College on Saturday.
Saddleback’s starter, Cam Humphrey, is 70-of-109 for 999 yards, with 11 TDs and two INTs. He redshirted last season at Boise State as a walk-on.
▪ Alex Ogle, who left the team in December 2015 and spent one season at Arizona Western, is the starter at Division II Tusculum (Tenn.) College. The junior is 63-of-118 passing for 859 yards and five touchdowns. The Pioneers (2-2) host Lenoir-Rhyne on Saturday.