• BOISE STATE 56, VIRGINIA 14
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The Boise State football team crushed Virginia of the ACC 56-14 on Friday night at Scott Stadium.
True freshman quarterback Brett Rypien, in his first career start, threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns. He was 24-for-35 with a rating of 173.90.
“It was expected,” sophomore tailback Jeremy McNichols said. “We didn’t lose a beat with him getting in.”
The defense contributed 22 points — two interception returns for touchdowns, a safety and two turnovers that allowed the Broncos to kick field goals.
“We wanted to go out and prove that we can play on the road,” senior cornerback Donte Deayon said.
The Broncos improved to 3-1. Virginia fell to 1-3.
The victory was Boise State’s second all-time in a true road game against a Power Five team. The other was in 2008 at Oregon. The Broncos' previous largest margin of victory against a Power Five team was 32 points against Arizona State in the 2011 MAACO Bowl Las Vegas (56-24).
This is the second time that Boise State has beaten two Power Five teams in the regular season. It also beat Washington this year. The previous time it happened: the Broncos beat Virginia Tech and Oregon State in 2010.
“It’s huge because these guys worked really hard this week to go win this football game regardless of power or whatever,” coach Bryan Harsin said. “We went out, got after it ... that was a whole lot of fun.”
RYPIEN GETS START
Boise State true freshman quarterback Brett Rypien made his first college start Friday night against Virginia.
Rypien last week became the first Boise State true freshman QB to start since Tony Hilde in 1993.
Rypien is the fourth quarterback to make his first start for the Broncos since the start of the 2012 season. Joe Southwick (at Michigan State in 2012) and Grant Hedrick (at BYU in 2013) lost. Ryan Finley (vs. Washington in 2015) won.
Rypien is the 10th true freshman QB to start for an FBS team this season.
Rypien was 17-for-23 for 206 yards and a touchdown in the first half. His rating was 163.5, an impressive number.
DRINKWITZ, RYPIEN THANK EACH OTHER
Boise State true freshman quarterback Brett Rypien and offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz shared a moment walking off the field Friday night. Here’s Drinkwitz’s description of the moment you can see in the video:
“Just proud of him,” Drinkwitz said. “It could go a lot of different ways as a true freshman but when you put your heart and soul into something and prepare for it and achieve it, you’ve got to take a few seconds to say thank you to each other and thank the lord for the opportunity.”
— His 321 passing yards are the most by a Boise State quarterback in his first start in the FBS era. Kellen Moore held the record at 274 (vs. Idaho State in 2008).
— He’s the first Boise State quarterback to win his first start when that game came on the road in the FBS era. Rypien and Ryan Finley, who beat Washington in the season opener, are the only QBs to win their first starts when those games came against Power Five teams.
• • •
— On the game: “We needed to figure out a way, on the road, to play better and create more momentum. You can’t create it any faster than getting a touchdown on the very first play of the game. Our deal was to get a fast start and we needed to get things in our favor in a hurry, not just from the defensive side but from the offensive. Either way we wanted to create the momentum for our quarterback, for our team, for the mentality that we wanted to play with and we did exactly that.”
— On the defense: “We are really proud of the defense. You have five turnovers, two touchdowns and a safety. We don’t do game balls, but I had one and it was for the defense. If you play like that, that’s a game-changer. That made a whole lot of difference and our offense took advantage of those turnovers. We were able to put points on the board.”
— On QB Brett Rypien: “I think Brett did a very nice job tonight. The thing I was most proud of Brett was when he got hit, he got up. Not just for the sake of getting up, but that’s the No. 1 requirement when you play quarterback is toughness. Get up. And he continued to do that. He took some shots tonight. I know he felt them, and we need to protect him, but he got back up, he kept competing.”
— On the pass game: “We showed up in the pass game a little bit more, which we needed to do. For our quarterbacks and our wide receivers, we got in the end zone. We threw a touchdown. We needed to do that and we wanted to do that. We need to do it more. Hopefully we can continue to be balanced. ... (Offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz) called the game very well. Yeah, they got us a few times but I thought we kept them off-balance. Virginia, this is a good football team and we just got the momentum early and we continued to keep it.”
— On Rypien: “I was impressed with his operation. I was impressed with him in the huddle. I was impressed with him after a negative series, getting on the phone, correcting. He was very focused tonight.”
— On not using QB Tommy Stuart much: “Some of the formations and the way they played it was a little bit different than what we thought.”
— On speculation that Rypien should have started all along: “I wish I had the same crystal ball that everybody else has. If we could spring forward to this game, yeah, but that wasn’t the case.”
— On Rypien’s effectiveness with quick passes: “We really felt like Virginia’s D-line was very good. They were different than what we had seen all year. They pin their ears back and come after you. Brett took some shots tonight. They do what you would do to a young quarterback — they pressured him. We were able to get the ball out of his hands. The tight ends were utilized. We took some shots that they covered. He checked some down. The one (Chaz Anderson) caught, no one was around. That was (supposed to be) a shot down the field. Brett came off of it, saw the safety and moved right to the third option and we get a big play out of it. ... That’s how he operates. ... It also puts us in a rhythm. We’re trying to create tempo. We’re a no-huddle team and when we do that we’re better.”
— On overcoming adversity of losing to BYU and losing QB Ryan Finley to injury: “Today was about us. It was 3 1/2 hours of getting away from every distraction in their lives and just playing football and doing it together. I thought the reason why we played so well was they had fun, I had fun, the coaches had fun, and we were just out there playing ball, not worried about a thing other than trying to find a way to beat Virginia.”
— On Justin Taimatuia’s pick six: “Any time a D-linemen scores a touchdown, that’s a big deal. It doesn’t matter how far. When a D-lineman scores, it’s a huge momentum-changer. It’s a great morale deal as well.”
— On Rypien starting: “It wasn’t a surprise for him. He’s been in that position knowing he would play if something happened. That’s what we told him and now it’s happened.”
— On kicker Tyler Rausa: “I know he knows he can do it. I know that. We got a chance to see it tonight. ... I just like that he’s challenged himself. I know (special teams coach Kent Riddle) has challenged him to keep improving his range and it showed.”
— On whether Rypien was the No. 2 QB all along: “Kind of. Yes. In our mind, the way Brett was playing in fall camp, we planned to play him.”
LB Ben Weaver
— On the defense: “We’ve needed to have one of these games all year. We haven’t scored on defense. We’ve been lacking in the turnover area so we made that a point of emphasis, especially on the road. They were going to come out with momentum and by starting out with turnovers we were able to make that momentum for ourselves and get the ball back to the offense.”
— On Rypien: “He was the ultimate leader out there. I know how difficult our offense is, so to see him out there and running it the way he did, make the decisions he did, it was really exciting. The kid is a baller. He plays like that all the time and makes plays.”
— On playing a Power Five team: “We’re a good football team, and we know that. When we come to a place like this, a lot of times we’re the underdog and we go out and we play like it.”
RB Jeremy McNichols
— On the fast start: “It was very important. The past few weeks we didn’t get out as fast as we wanted. The past few games we didn’t even start out with a first down. We just wanted to come out fast and finish.”
— On Rypien: “I think he did great. He took control of the offense. Everyone rallied around him and that gave him confidence. He did great tonight. Coach Harsin and the offensive staff have been getting him ready since camp. As a freshman, it’s tough. Last year I was only getting four to five plays (as a freshman) but he has to remember the whole playbook. That’s his job. His poise was most impressive to me. He got hit, he got up, he operated. He was confident. We were fast on offense and finished all of our drives.”
CB Donte Deayon
— On playing on the road: “We wanted to start fast on the road. we felt like we haven’t done that on the road. We really felt like we haven’t shown the type of team we are on the road. (Taimatuia) going out and getting the pick six really got us going.”
WR Thomas Sperbeck
— On Rypien: “I don’t think any of us are really surprised. He’s shown such great leadership.”
— On Virginia’s man coverage: “The big thing all week was just winning the 1-on-1 because we knew they were going to bring a lot of man.”
— On Rypien taking a shot on Sperbeck’s long TD: “He just told me about it after on the sideline. He had a little cut on his chin.”
OC Eliah Drinkwitz
— On whether he expected Rypien to play so well: “You always believe for the best. He handled the moment beautiful. He played well. There will be a lot of things on that film we’re going to have to correct and coach up and get better at. But to come on the road, a long way from home with a rough crowd, an ACC opponent that played Notre Dame really, really tight, to do what he did was really good. ... He took some hits, kept on going. It wasn’t perfect. We need to quell it just a little bit. Third downs were atrocious (3-for-14).”
— On when Rypien knew he’d be the starter: “He knew the whole time.”
— On how Rypien handled the week: “Like he does every week. There hasn’t been a whole lot of difference. He was mentally very focused. I know there were some people here watching tonight that he wanted to impress and I think he did.” His uncle, former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien, was at the game.
— “It was only one game. We’re not ready to do anything other than say it was one game and we’ve got to get better. There have been a lot of true freshmen who have played one really good game and then thrown three picks in the first half of another. This is one game. There’s a long season ahead of us. It’s just a good start.”
— On the Broncos’ yardage after the catch: “He’s an accurate passer and, to be honest, a lot of the guys were uncovered. I think we had them confused a little with our personnel.” The Broncos were using spread formations out of a two-tight end group against the Cavaliers’ 4-3 defense. “They couldn’t figure out the flats.”
— On reviewing the video: “There’s going to be a lot of freshman mistakes in there.”
— On whether he’s worried about the hype: “He was the Washington state player of the year. He’s been surrounded by that crap his whole life. I don’t think it will bother him. He’s a very humble kid. Believe me, when we watch the tape on Monday, he won’t be walking out of there thinking he’s a superstar.”
Virginia RB Taquan Mizzell
— On Boise State: “I feel like they were the best team we played. They’re a good team overall, defensive-wise and offensive-wise. We knew they were going to be a good team regardless of the ranking. Everything we saw on film, we saw out on the field. They’re a pretty good team. Don’t take anything away from them.”
Virginia coach Mike London
— On the game: “Obviously, we played poorly tonight. You can’t have five turnovers. After our first play from scrimmage, it all went downhill. That’s another good football team, but we can play better than that and we have.”
• • •
BSU— Justin Taimatuia 21 interception return (Tyler Rausa kick), 14:46. Boise State 7, Virginia 0
BSU— Jeremy McNichols 2 run (Rausa kick), 10:16. Key plays: True freshman QB Brett Rypien started and completed a hitch to Chaz Anderson for 8 yards. On third-and-1, McNichols broke free around left end as Virginia stacked the box and gained 47 yards. Wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes followed with a 20-yard gain on a screen. Drive: 6 plays, 80 yards, 2:32. Boise State 14, Virginia 0
BSU— Rausa 51 field goal, 7:53. Key plays: Safety Darian Thompson’s interception gave the Broncos excellent field position. On third down, Rypien fumbled but recovered to set up the field goal. Drive: 4 plays, minus-5 yards, :55. Boise State 17, Virginia 0
UVA— T.J. Thorpe 75 pass from Matt Johns (Ian Frye kick), 6:51. Key play: On the touchdown, cornerback Jonathan Moxey tried to strip Thorpe from behind and instead let him race down the sideline for the TD. Drive: 3 plays, 75 yards, 1:02. Boise State 17, Virginia 7
BSU— McNichols 10 pass from Rypien (Rausa kick), 8:26. Key plays: Rypien was 5-for-5 for 69 yards on the drive, with most of the work done after the catch. Wide receiver Chaz Anderson gained 22 yards and tight end Jake Roh gained 26 yards on two grabs. Drive: 6 plays, 69 yards, 2:23. Boise State 24, Virginia 7
BSU— Safety: Johns intentional grounding in end zone forced by Armand Nance, 7:36. Boise State 26, Virginia 7
BSU— Rausa 30 field goal, 5:11. Key plays: Virginia kicked off out of bounds, giving Boise State the ball at midfield. Rypien completed passes for 10 yards to Thomas Sperbeck and 19 yards to McNichols. Drive: 6 plays, 37 yards, 2:25. Boise State 29, Virginia 7
UVA— Taquan Mizzell 45 pass from Johns (Frye kick), 3:09. Key plays: Canaan Severin made a 16-yard catch on second-and-9. On the TD, Johns hit Mizzell on a short route over the middle and he ran away from the defense. Drive: 4 plays, 65 yards, 2:02. Boise State 29, Virginia 14
BSU— Rausa 39 field goal, 10:19. Key plays: Rypien showed some scrambling ability with gains of 11 yards on second-and-10 and 8 yards on fourth-and-5. He dodged a rusher on the fourth-down play. Drive: 14 plays, 53 yards, 4:41. Boise State 32, Virginia 14
BSU— Sperbeck 30 pass from Rypien (Rausa kick), 8:01. Key play: Linebacker Ben Weaver recovered a fumble forced by safety Kam Miles on the previous play. Drive: 1 play, 30 yards, :06. Boise State 39, Virginia 14
BSU— Mercy Maston 25 interception return (Rausa kick), 3:00. Boise State 46, Virginia 14
BSU— Rausa 45 field goal, 13:26. Key plays: Cornerback Donte Deayon’s interception gave the Broncos great field position again but a sack forced the field goal. Drive: 5 plays, 9 yards, 2:00. Boise State 49, Virginia 14
BSU— Sperbeck 64 pass from Rypien (Rausa kick), 10:26. Key play: Sperbeck made the catch in tight coverage but evaded the defender to run to the end zone. Drive: 3 plays, 71 yards, 1:21. Boise State 56, Virginia 14
• • •
First quarter: Boise State got off to a stunning start to build a 14-0 lead. On Virginia’s first play, quarterback Matt Johns made a desperate, sidearmed heave to his right under pressure. Defensive tackle Justin Taimatuia caught the ball with his left arm and dashed into the end zone. Moments later, true freshman QB Brett Rypien led the Broncos right down the field on his first drive as the starter. The key plays were a 47-yard run by Jeremy McNichols on third-and-1 and a 20-yard gain by wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes on a screen pass. McNichols scored from 2 yards out. The Broncos made it 17-0 on an interception by Darian Thompson and 51-yard field goal by Tyler Rausa. But Virginia got on the board on a 75-yard touchdown pass made possible by cornerback Jonathan Moxey’s decision to go for a strip from behind rather than knock T.J. Thorpe out of bounds. In-game anaylsis: The Broncos worked Rypien into the game with many short throws but also showed some aggression by calling a trick play and a third-and-1 deep ball. The offensive line continued to hurt the team with penalties. The defense dominated outside of the one big play with the defensive line providing the pressure that has been inconsistent this year.
Second quarter: The second quarter started almost as poorly for Virginia. The Cavaliers missed a field goal, the Broncos rolled down the field on a six-play, 69-yard touchdown drive that ended with McNichols’ waltz into the end zone from 10 yards out on a swing pass and Johns took an intentional-grounding penalty in the end zone for a safety. Boise State expanded its lead to 29-7 on a Rausa field goal but gave Virginia some life on a 45-yard catch-and-run TD by Taquan Mizzell. In-game analysis: Rypien showed impressive poise, just like in his first appearance, and seemed to have an easy time completing short passes on time, allowing the receivers to get big gains after the catch. The 69-yard drive was nearly all yards after catch with terrific blocking in front of the receivers. The defense continues to dominate against the run and give up too many big plays in the pass game. Halftime stats: Boise State outgained Virginia 249-206. Rypien was 17-for-23 for 206 yards and a TD with a 163.5 rating. McNichols had 10 touches for 96 yards and two TDs. Tight end Jake Roh had four catches for 42 yards. Johns was 9-for-18 for 182 yards and two TDs with two interceptions and a 149.4 rating.
Third quarter: The Boise State defense made a huge impact as linebacker Ben Weaver’s fumble recovery set up Rypien’s quick-strike, 30-yard touchdown pass to Thomas Sperbeck and nickel Mercy Maston returned an interception for a touchdown. Cornerback Donte Deayon added an interception late in the quarter. In-game analysis: As the Broncos turned the game into a blowout, thoughts quickly turned to what could have been. This team will have two Power Five wins — vs. Washington and Virginia — but lost to BYU on a fourth-down heave by Cougars QB Tanner Mangum that resulted in a TD.
Fourth quarter: Rypien added a 64-yard TD strike to Sperbeck as the Cavaliers insisted on playing press coverage to take away short throws. In-game analysis: Rypien’s throw was meaningless for this game but serves notice to future opponents — he can dink and dunk and he can go over the top.
• • •
No. 16 for Thompson, Deayon
Boise State senior safety Darian Thompson grabbed his 16th career interception in the first quarter to set up a field goal.
Senior cornerback Donte Deayon snagged his 16th in the third quarter, on a deflection created by a Thompson hit.
They’re two behind the Mountain West record (set by Eric Weddle at Utah) and the FBS-era school record (set by Gabe Franklin from 2001 to 2004).
The overall school record is 24 (Steve Forrey, 1968-70).
“We’re having a lot of fun with it,” Deayon said. “I told (Thompson) on the sideline we’ve got to go break the school record.”
McNichols gets more
Boise State sophomore tailback Jeremy McNichols scored two more touchdowns in the first half to increase his season total to 10, most in the nation.
McNichols has eight rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns.
Fat Guy Touchdown for Taimatuia
Boise State senior defensive tackle Justin Taimatuia scored his first college touchdown on a pick six on the first play from scrimmage. Touchdowns by linemen are known as Fat Guy Touchdowns on Twitter and there’s an award this year for the best play involving a big guy with the ball called the Piesman.
Defensive end Kamalei Correa pressured quarterback Matt Johns, who desperately threw a sidearm pass to his right. Taimatuia caught the ball with his left arm and ran 21 yards unchallenged for the TD.
“All of a sudden you see a big (Polynesian) running into the end zone,” junior linebacker Ben Weaver said. “You just run over and jump on him and celebrate.”
Taimatuia wasn’t available for interviews. The school posted a video of him on the team airplane discussing his favorite type of pie.
“My favorite pie is pineapple pie,” he said. “I’m from the islands. I love pineapples — sweet ones, too.”
Boise State sophomore safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner injured his right leg when it got bent at a bad angle while he was making a tackle. He was on crutches and in a boot on the sideline in the second half.
Coach Bryan Harsin said the injury was similar to that sustained by quarterback Ryan Finley, who is out seven to eight weeks with a broken bone in his right ankle. Finley didn’t need surgery.
Baby arrives just in time for Lee Marks
Boise State running backs coach Lee Marks stayed behind when the team left for Virginia on Wednesday because his wife, Kim, was due to give birth to their son. She went into labor about the same time the plane took off and Liam Cruz was born at 8:57 p.m. He was 8 pounds, 6 ounces and 20 inches.
Marks caught a flight Friday morning and arrived in Charlottesville in time to coach in the game against Virginia.
Bacon leaves team; Dean out again
Boise State redshirt freshman Troy Bacon, the backup left tackle, quit the team this week.
Bacon has no plans to play football, he said.
“Nobody saw it coming,” Bacon said. “Just felt like I took the wrong path to my goals and ambitions in life. ... You can’t force yourself to be happy when you really aren’t. ... Just needed to go after what I wanted in my life.”
Wide receiver D.J. Dean didn’t make the trip. He has missed the first four games because of injury.
Rausa shows range
Boise State junior kicker Tyler Rausa nailed a 51-yard field goal in the first quarter — the longest field goal by a Bronco since Kyle Brotzman’s 52-yarder against Utah State on Nov. 20, 2009.
Rausa hit the right upright from 54 yards later in the quarter. He said earlier in the week he had hit from 60 in practice.
Boise State wore all white. ... The single-game captains were linebacker Tanner Vallejo and left tackle Rees Odhiambo. ... Virginia starting cornerback Demetrious Nicholson was out with an injury. ... Linebacker Tyler Gray carried the Hammer. ... Boise State won the coin toss and deferred. ... The attendance was 42,427. ... Rypien’s uncle, former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien, attended the game. So did Washington Redskins safety Jeron Johnson, a former Bronco, and Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong. ... Boise State broke the Mountain West’s 21-game losing streak vs. non-conference, FBS teams. It was the league’s first such win since the Boise State-Washington season opener.
• • •
(If you’re on one of our apps and have trouble viewing the Cover It Live window, click here.)
• • •
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
• • •