Thomas Sperbeck

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Boise State survives five turnovers to beat rival BYU and remain undefeated

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Boise State did just about everything they could to give the game away. BYU did their best to take it too.

In the end the Broncos survived a whopping five turnovers and blocked a last second field goal to escape with a 28-27 win over their regional rivals.

Tailback Jeremy McNichols scored on the third play of the game on his way to a 140 yard, one touchdown night on the ground to go along with an impressive 109 yards and a touchdown through the air. Wideout Thomas Sperbeck had 109 yards and a score as well and became the school’s all-time leading receiver while doing so.

Quarterback Brett Rypien put up some big numbers with 442 yards passing and three touchdowns but did throw two pick-sixes as part of a wild second quarter that kept BYU in the game.

That stretch also included a potentially disastrous fake punt from the Cougars own end zone on 4th-and-19. The attempt was stuffed at the goal line but the defense held Boise State to a field goal attempt that was eventually shanked to cause no harm on the scoreboard.

BYU was without the services of tailback Jamaal Williams, who became the school’s all-time leading rusher last week against Mississippi State but was held out with an ankle injury he aggravated during warmups. In his place, Squally Canada ran for 88 yards on 21 carries.

Quarterback Taysom Hill had a rough night passing (21-of-42 for just 187 yards) but nearly rallied his team for a game-winning score with under two minutes left.

The win keeps Boise State undefeated and in the driver’s seat for the lucrative Group of Five bid to a major bowl game at the end of the season. While a loss would not have completely derailed their chances at making to the New Year’s Six, it would have made things interesting given the number of other candidates for the spot.

After a turnover-filled outing and nearly blowing a second half lead for the second week in a row, you can bet that the Broncos will look to regroup over the coming days and get back on track ahead of their trip to Wyoming.

Boise State survives wild second quarter to take halftime lead over BYU

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A late night game involving regional rivals BYU and Boise State on the blue turf figured to get weird.

That it did early — and often.

The Broncos quickly got out to a two score lead and saw the Cougars storm back in the second quarter on a series of fluke plays. Eventually the home team found some late magic just to hold on and take a 21-17  lead into the locker room at halftime.

Under the radar Heisman Trophy candidate Jeremy McNichols jump-started the scoring in the first minute of the game when he raced past a BYU linebacker to score from 76 yards out on a nifty catch and run. Quarterback Brett Rypien followed that up with a quick strike to Thomas Sperbeck on the ensuing drive in a game that looked like they were going to turn into a blowout.

That’s when the wheels started to fall off for Boise State however.

After entering the red zone and threatening to score another touchdown, the Broncos opted to kick a field goal, which was blocked by Dayan Lake and returned by Kai Nacua to midfield. That setup the Cougars’ first score on a field goal and seemed to flip momentum.

On the very next snap for Boise State, Rypien was picked off by BYU safety Fred Warner. He then returned it for a touchdown in one of the most incredible pick-sixes of the season as he tight-roped along the sideline for 59 yards.

Bizarrely, BYU followed that up by running a fake punt on the next possession from their own end zone — on 4th and 19 — and got crushed just steps away from the goal line. Luckily they came away unscathed after Boise State drew a personal foul to back them up 15 yards and then missed an ensuing field goal attempt.

As if that wasn’t enough, Lake then recorded the second pick-six of the ball game off of Rypien on the ensuing drive to give BYU an improbable lead.

Eventually the Broncos offense regrouped (and held onto the ball) as they drove 69 yards in 66 seconds to head to the locker room with a four point lead thanks to long touchdown pass. It was the only positive drive of the second half for the team and might have been something to build on going forward.

Makes you wonder what both teams have in store for the second half though given how many swings of momentum there was in the first.

Boise State set an impressive FBS record during win against Colorado State

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Boise State had to hold on for dear life and survive not one but two onside kicks in order to beat Colorado State 28-23 on Saturday night. In the process the team managed to set an impressive FBS record while doing so.

The Broncos came into the contest without trailing for a single second through their first five games. Surprisingly, the Rams became the first team to take a lead the Mountain West leaders after kicking a 39-yard field goal with 7:24 remaining in the first quarter. That snapped an FBS-record run of 306:36 without trailing to begin the year, according to the school.

Quarterback Brett Rypien hit Thomas Sperbeck for a 12 yard touchdown with 27 seconds left in the first half for Boise State re-take the lead in the game so the Broncos have trailed for just over a quarter this season as a result of Saturday’s game.

Tailback Jeremy McNichols also rushed for 217 yards and two touchdowns in the win to keep the team undefeated and in the driver’s seat for the Group of Five bid at the end of the year as well.

Boise State crushes Northern Illinois in Poinsettia Bowl laugher

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These weren’t the vintage versions of these teams, what with their seven conference championships and three BCS appearances over the past seven years traded for no conference titles and nine regular season losses. Despite that, though, Boise State brought its A-plus game to the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Wednesday night. Northern Illinois’ effort can be classified somewhere between letters D and Q.

Boise State jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead and cruised to a 55-7 victory over the overmatched and uninterested Huskies. The 48-point margin was Boise State’s largest bowl victory and Northern Illinois’ greatest bowl defeat.

The Broncos found pay dirt on each of their first three possessions, marching 75, 67 and 53 yards, to grab a 21-point lead less than 12 minutes in. Jeremy McNichols notched all three of Boise’s touchdowns, coming on a 29-yard dash, a four-yard reception from Brett Rypien and then a one-yard plunge.

The lead swelled to 31-7 by halftime, despite Boise State losing the ball on an interception a fumble and a turnover on downs. Boise State then pushed the lead to 41-7 after three and 55-7 by the 9:52 mark of the fourth quarter before letting the air out of the time remaining.

For the game, McNichols rushed 19 times for 93 yards and two scores while also notching five receptions for a game-high 96 yards and a touchdown. Brett Rypien completed 29-of-40 throws for 377 yards with three scores and an interception; Shane Williams-Rhoades nabbed eight balls for 94 yards, Thomas Sperbeck caught six for 78, Chaz Anderson hauled in four for 46 and a score and Alec Dhaenens snared an 18-yard touchdown catch. On the ground, Ryan Wolpin rushed 15 times for 90 yards, Kelsey Young toted 10 times for 54 yards and a touchdown and Thomas Stuart compiled five rushes for 20 yards and a touchdown.

As for Northern Illinois? Woof. (And not the good kind.) The Huskies’ first drive moved 42 yards in 13 snaps; their remaining 12 traveled no further than six yards, and four of them lost yardage. Jacob Ambrose punted nine times if not for Aregeros Turner‘s 96-yard kickoff return touchdown NIU would have finished the night with as many points as it started.

Overall, Boise State compiled 654 yards (377 passing, 277 rushing) on 97 plays, while Northern Illinois achieved 33 yards in 51 tries. The Broncos held a 35-7 edge in first downs and converted 10-of-16 third downs to NIU’s 1-of-12.

Just how thorough was this beating? Boise State’s fifth-leading rusher would’ve lead Northern Illinois’ entire roster, and six separate Broncos posted more receiving yards than the most productive Huskie.

In the end, Boise State finishes 2015 at 9-4 and pondering what’s to come, while Northern Illinois closes at 8-6, wondering just what in the world happened.