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Brett Rypien shines in first start as Boise State woodsheds Virginia

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Let the hype machine commence in earnest.

Looking like a quarterback making his 21st and not first career start, and taking into account the level of competition he was facing, Brett Rypien put on quite the little show for a primetime Friday night audience, playing a starring role in Boise State taking Virginia to the woodshed and heading back to Idaho with a 56-14 win.  While it wasn’t all about the true freshman signal-caller, a lot of it was just that.

In place of an injured Ryan Finley, who suffered a broken ankle in Week 3, Rypien put on a show for those in attendance and watching on the idiot box, completing 24-of-35 passes for 321 yards and the first three touchdowns of his collegiate career.  Perhaps most impressively as he was playing on the road and in less-than-stellar weather conditions, he did not turn the ball over on either an interception or a fumble.  While head coach Bryan Harsin had stated in the days leading up to the game that both Rypien and sophomore Tommy Stuart would see action against the Cavaliers, the former’s performance dictated that the latter didn’t see much meaningful time on the field.

Rypien, the first Boise State true freshman quarterback to play since Tony Hilde in 1993, was a four-star member of the Broncos’ 2015 recruiting class who was rated by Rivals.com as the No. 8 pro-style quarterback in the country.  As one of the most touted signees in the program’s history, he was an early enrollee who competed with Finley for the starting job throughout spring practice and on into summer camp before the veteran was named the starter in late August.

The hype on Rypien, however, should probably be tempered a bit.  True freshman Josh Rosen threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start.  UCLA’s opponent that Week 1 Saturday?  Virginia, of course.

That said, it was a tremendous debut for the collegiate rookie even as it wasn’t all Rypien on the night. In fact, Boise’s defense did its damndest to keep up in the scoring column with its offensive counterparts.

On the first play from scrimmage, defensive tackle Justin Taimatuia intercepted a Matt Johns pass and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown. Later in the half, the defense forced Johns into an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone for a safety. Late in the third quarter, Mercy Maston‘s pick-six from 25 yards out gave the Broncos a 46-14 lead and essentially iced the game with still more than a quarter remaining in Charlottesville.

In between the defensive scoring by the opponent, the Cavaliers offense was consistently stifled in its attempts to even minimally move the ball. For the game, UVa. was held to 273 yards of offense, including just 40 yards on the ground on 33 carries (1.2 ypc).

As for beleaguered Hoos head coach Mike London?  It seems highly likely one third of the way through the regular season that the 1-3 Cavaliers will be searching for a new sideline boss at season’s end — if not sooner.

Alabama ties 1990-2000 Florida for longest winning streak vs. unranked opponents

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There’s that, I guess.

The outcome of top-ranked Alabama’s scrimmage game against FCS Mercer Saturday was never in doubt, with the lone question being the margin of victory.  The answer came in the form of a 56-0 Crimson Tide over the Bears that could’ve been exponentially worse as, after jumping out to a 35-0 halftime lead, Nick Saban took his foot off the overmatched program’s throats in the second half.

With the win, Alabama has now won 73 straight games against unranked opponents.  That ties the 1990-2000 Gators for the longest such streak since the Associated Press poll originated in 1936.

The last loss?  To Louisiana-Monroe in Tuscaloosa during Saban’s first season with the school.

‘Bama won’t get the opportunity to break the tie with Florida as the will face a ranked Auburn team in the Iron Bowl before very likely facing another ranked team/teams in a bowl/playoffs.

Minnesota QB Demry Croft posts negative QB rating in loss to Northwestern

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Even Blutarsky said “dayum” when apprised of this development.

In Week 11, Demry Croft was steady in both the passing (9-15, 105) and running (10-183) games as Minnesota dominated Nebraska in a 54-21 win.  Seven days later, the quarterback put together one of the worst statistical performances you’ll ever come across.

In a 39-0 whitewashing at the hands of Northwestern, Croft completed two of his 11 passes for 43 yards and three interceptions.  So, yes, he had more completions to Wildcats defenders than he did to Golden Gophers receivers.

Add it all up, and Croft posted a pass efficiency rating of minus-3.5.  Again, a negative.  Quarterback.  Rating.

Throw in minus-17 yards rushing, and with the full understanding there were at least a couple of drops by his receivers, Croft cobbled together one of the worst statistical days for a quarterback in college football history.

The loss means that 5-6 Minnesota needs to beat fifth-ranked Wisconsin in the regular-season finale next Saturday to become bowl-eligible. Northwestern, meanwhile, has won six straight and stands at 8-3 on the season, two wins in the Week 13 matchup with Illinois and a bowl game away from the fifth 10-win season in the football program’s history.

No. 5 Wisconsin muscles their way to 11-0 against No. 24 Michigan

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No. 5 Wisconsin (11-0, 8-0) moved one step closer to an undefeated regular season thanks to a strong second-half showing against No. 24 Michigan (8-3, 5-3 Big Ten). The Badgers struggled to get much of anything going on offense in the first half, but the plays seemed to come together in the second half en route to a 24-10 victory in Madison on Saturday afternoon. The Badgers scored 21-unanswered points to overcome a 10-7 deficit in the third quarter.

Michigan was on the wrong end of a controversial instant replay in the first half, but even if the correct call had been made in the review it would not have been enough to score the upset. The Badgers wore down Michigan in the second half and found some passing plays to use to their advantage off the arm of Alex Hornibrook. Hornibrook completed just nine passes out of 19 attempts with one going for a touchdown and another deep ball providing a spark along the way. The recipe for a win, of course, remained running the ball. Freshman sensation Jonathan Taylor ripped off 132 yards on 19 carries to power Wisconsin’s offense.

Michigan starting quarterback Brandon Peters was carted off in the third quarter with an apparent head injury. He did not return, and John O’Korn was tasked with taking over the offense for the remainder of the game. Had Peters not been injured, it may not have mattered. Wisconsin’s defense was still making plays when they needed and not allowing Michigan to seize control for extended periods of time.

The win keeps Wisconsin knocking on the door to the College Football Playoff. If the Badgers win their next two games, they will stand an excellent chance of getting to the playoff for the first time in school history. Wisconsin will wrap up the regular season on the road next week with the annual rivalry game with Minnesota. The Gophers were getting thumped by Northwestern and will need a long-overdue win against Wisconsin in order to become bowl-eligible. Wisconsin has not lost to Minnesota since 2003. After that, it will be a date in the Big Ten Championship Game against the champion of the East Division, which will more than likely be the team Michigan plays next week.

Michigan will be home in Ann Arbor for their rivalry game against Ohio State. The Buckeyes will need the win in order to remain on the playoff radar heading into the Big Ten championship game. Jim Harbaugh has not beaten Urban Meyer yet.

No. 3 Miami scores 30 unanswered points to go 10-0 for first time since 2002

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The No. 3 Miami Hurricanes (10-0, 7-0 ACC) overcame a disaster of a first half to keep their undefeated season going. On Saturday against Virginia (6-5, 3-4 ACC), the Hurricanes looked sluggish for one half and allowed Virginia to capitalize on big plays to a 28-14 lead, but Miami roared back with 30 unanswered points to improve on the best start since the last time Miami played for a national championship. Miami topped Virginia 44-28.

Miami players got to wear the famous turnover chain twice in the game, but the biggest turnover may have come with Jaguan Johnson‘s 30-yard interception for a game-tying score in the third quarter. The pick-six knotted the game at 28-28 in a wild third quarter, and Miami never looked back from that point on. Miami took the lead late in the third quarter on a 44-yard field goal by and Malik Rosier and Travis Homer added rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter as the Hurricanes cemented the win.

Rosier was picked off twice in the game, but he ended his day with 210 passing yards and three touchdowns to go with 38 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. His Virginia counterpart, Kurt Benkert, actually had a fantastic afternoon with 28-of-37 for 384 yards and four touchdowns. Until the lone interception thrown by Benkert, he looked more than capable to lead Virginia to an upset on the road. But Virginia needed more out of the running game and could not keep the big plays coming in the fourth quarter as Miami was taking control of the game.

Miami’s 10-0 start is the best start for the Hurricanes since playing for the BCS national championship in the 2002 season. This is also Miami’s first double-digit win season since 2003. That makes this Miami’s first 10-win season since joining the ACC. And they may not be done just yet.

Before making their first trip to the ACC Championship Game in two weeks, Miami will first make a business trip to Pittsburgh for the regular season finale against the Panthers. The Panthers were eliminated from postseason eligibility Saturday afternoon with a road loss to Virginia Tech, dropping Pitt to 4-7 on the year. Virginia will take on the Hokies next week in their regular-season finale on Friday night.