Boy, oh Boise.
The Boise State Broncos are who we thought they were; the high-scoring class of the Mountain West Conference. On Saturday evening, the Broncos came in and blew out the Colorado State Rams with a bevy of explosive plays to win 41-10.
The Rams ran the ball with relentlessness, gaining 96 yards in the first half against the nation’s second-best run defense, but Boise’s dual threat of big-time passing and running plays were too much for CSU to compete with.
Running back Shane Williams-Rhodes caught a lateral and then tossed a 53-yard touchdown to Thomas Sperbeck. Then, following a field goal, running back Jeremy McNichols busted off a 56-yard touchdown run for the 17-0 lead.
Finally, the Rams found a spark when backup quarterback Coleman Key came in and hit Joe Hansley for a 13-yard touchdown to bring the contest to 17-7. That score capped a lengthy, 16-play drive. Boise answered on the very next play as Brett Rypien completed a pass to Sperbeck who ran 85 yards for the score and 24-7 lead. Each team kicked a field goal near the end of the half and CSU trailed 10-27.
Boise scored twice more – both times on the ground – in the second half to win 41-10.
STAR OF THE GAME
Joe Hansley enjoyed a pass to Kivon Cartwright for 34 yards, which was special, and he also scored the Rams only touchdown of the day.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Rypien’s 85-yard touchdown throw to Sperbeck was the play of the game due to the receiver’s remarkable catch and run. While Colorado State had to take 16 plays to score, the Broncos answered back in one play. It was a reminder of how explosive they can be offensively.
With the Rams down 24-7 late in the second quarter, Colorado State was confronted with a 4th and goal from the two yard line. Instead of going for it, the Rams kicked the 20-yard field goal. Sure, they gained points, but the lack of a touchdown basically cemented their loss. A touchdown would’ve made it a 10-point game instead of a 14-point deficit. That touchdown could’ve boosted the Rams confidence and helped them come back. Instead, it was a win for Boise.
BY THE NUMBERS
Boise running back Jeremy McNichols ran for 104 yards and two touchdowns. His 12 touchdowns on the season now leads the NCAA. McNichols is incredibly fast, strong and quick. He has NFL potential.
Rypien went 22-35 for a career-high 339 yards and one touchdown, one interception and one rushing score. He looks like a complete natural in only his third start.
The Broncos put up 597 total yards of offense, which accompanied a whopping 27 first downs.
Key and Nick Stevens combined threw for only 116 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions all by Key.
After three straight 100-yard receiving games, Rashard Higgins had only three catches for 42 yards. Colorado State has to find a way to feed Higgins; three receptions simply isn’t enough.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
“We pretty much got whipped soundly in all three phases tonight,” Mike Bobo said after the loss. “You’ve got to give Boise State credit. They were the better football team.”
Colorado State falls to 2-4 and 0-2 in the Mountain West. They also have never beaten the Boise State Broncos in the five times the two teams have faced off. Also interesting is the quarterback battle, as Key was inserted into the game on the third drive and remained in throughout end of the first half, when Stevens was reinserted.
CSU hosts the Air Force Academy Falcons (2-2) next Saturday with kickoff scheduled for 1:30 p.m. MDT. The Falcons and Wyoming Cowboys were in the second quarter with AFA leading 7-0 at the time of publication.