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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.

Iowa loses RB James Butler ‘at least through the bye’

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Iowa sat Akrum Wadley for much of Saturday’s 31-14 win over North Texas after he was flagged for a (frankly ridiculous) excessive celebration penalty for high-stepping his way to the Kinnick Stadium end zone. (The score was wiped off the board, but Iowa completed the drive with a touchdown anyway.) The Hawkeyes will have no choice but to give him carries now.

Running back James Butler (20) has injured an elbow that will keep him out for the next few weeks.

“I think James will be out through the bye week,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said, via Hawkeye Report. “It will be a couple of weeks before we get him back.”

A Nevada transfer with two 1,000-yard seasons to his credit, Butler was a graduate transfer addition to the Hawkeyes, announcing his transfer on July 4. He ranks second on the club with 36 carries for 158 yards thus far in 2017, carrying a season-high 16 times for 74 yards before the injury.

Butler’s carries figure to go to fellow senior Wadley and freshmen Toren Young and Ivory Kelly-Martin. Wadley leads the club with 60 carries for 258 yards and a touchdown, and Young and Kelly-Martin have combined to rush 30 times for 152 yards and two scores. Young made his debut in Wadley’s absence in the second half Saturday, rushing 19 times for 78 yards.

The 3-0 Hawkeyes host No. 4 Penn State on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, ABC), then visit undefeated Michigan State the week after (4 p.m. ET, FOX). Iowa will host Illinois before its Oct. 14 bye week.

Lincoln Riley to earn $3.1 million a year as OU head coach

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Lincoln Riley won’t be paid nearly as much as Bob Stoops was as Oklahoma’s head coach, but he’ll earn significantly more than he did as the Sooners’ offensive coordinator.

Oklahoma approved and released Riley’s new deal on Tuesday, a 5-year contract that pays him $3.1 million annually and rises $200,000 a year. Stoops made $5.5 million in his last season, according to USA Today, while Riley earned $900,000 as offensive coordinator.

Perks include 25 hours of private airplane use, not one but two private golf club membership, and bonuses ranging from $25,000 for winning Big 12 coach of the year honors to $250,000 for a national championship.

Riley is 3-0 in his young tenure, already proving himself to be a tremendous bargain for the Sooners.

SEC releases 2018 schedule

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The SEC released its 2018 slate on Tuesday, beginning the weekend of Sept. 1 and running through the SEC Championship on Saturday, Dec. 1. It would be entirely pointless to break down winners and losers of the ’18 slate considering we don’t really even know who’s good yet in 2017 — other than Alabama — and we especially don’t know who will be good in ’18 — other than ‘Bama, of course.

But we can point out some dates that look interesting as we sit here on Tuesday, Sept. 19, the year of our Lord 2017. And, no, intra-divisional games don’t count, since they are played every year.

  • Auburn vs. Washington — Sept. 1 (at Atlanta)
  • Alabama vs. Louisville — Sept. 1 (at Orlando)
  • LSU vs. Miami — Sept. 1 (at Dallas)
  • Tennessee vs. West Virginia (at Charlotte)
  • Clemson at Texas A&M — Sept. 8
  • Vanderbilt at Notre Dame — Sept. 15
  • Florida at Mississippi State — Sept. 29
  • Tennessee at Auburn — Oct. 13

Consult the full schedule here. 

Louisville-Ole Miss 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff opener made official

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After reports had signaled it, it’s a done deal.

The “it” in this case is Louisville opening the 2021 season against Ole Miss, with the two programs confirming Tuesday that they will square off in one of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff games that year.  The game will be played at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, although a date and kickoff time are still to be determined.

The 2021 game will mark the first-ever meeting between the football teams.  Each has made one previous appearance in the Kickoff Game, Louisville in 2015 (31-24 loss to Auburn) and Ole Miss in 2014 (35-13 win over Boise State).

“To have the opportunity to play in this game again for the second time is a huge win for our program,” Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said in a statement. “We are honored to be welcomed back by the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, which is a tremendous testament to our loyal fan base, who helped pack the stadium in 2015. Our fans have a great history of traveling, and to have the opportunity to play a great program like Ole Miss in this brand-new facility will certainly be a hot ticket for the fans. Gary Stokan and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl group do a tremendous job with this game and we appreciate them selecting Louisville for what has become the premier game to kick off the season.”

“We are thrilled to once again be part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff. We always set the goal to end the regular season in Atlanta, so it’s only fitting that’s where we begin it,” Jurich’s Ole Miss counterpart, Ross Bjork, said in his. “With our strong alumni base in Georgia, Rebel Nation will arrive in full force to experience this premier matchup in the nation’s finest new stadium. In addition, the Atlanta market is a key recruiting area for our staff, and this trip offers a tremendous opportunity to compete in front of those prospects.”

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that Alabama and Miami would square off in the other Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game the opening weekend of the 2021 season.