Boise State’s quarterback depth took a hit on Tuesday when the Orlando Sentinel revealed that Nick Patti asked for and was granted a release from his scholarship so he can transfer to another school.
At 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, Patti is an undersized passer with excellent mobility. He made the trek to Boise in 2012 after starring at Dr. Phillips High in Orlando and looked to be in the mold of past Bronco quarterbacks — scrappy and fearless, with a knack for making plays.
But Patti was embroiled in a stiff quarterback competition at Boise and wound up redshirting his first season. He played sparingly as a 2013 redshirt freshman, completing 8 of 11 passes for 63 yards and no touchdowns. A brief suspension before the Hawaii Bowl (he was later reinstated in time for the game) brought his freshman year to an ignominious end.
Patti will transfer immediately and will likely have to sit out the 2014 season. The Sentinel speculated that his destination could be hometown UCF now that Blake Bortles has moved on to the NFL.
As for Boise State, it was probably going to go with senior Grant Hedrick as its starter in 2014 anyway, but with Joe Southwick graduating and Patti transferring, that leaves freshman Ryan Finley as the only other scholarship quarterback on the roster. The Broncos will need to sign at least two quarterbacks this recruiting cycle if they want to avert a potential disaster in 2015.
Sean Mannion threw for 259 yards and one touchdown and Oregon State (7-6) snapped a five-game losing streak with a 38-23 victory over Boise State (8-5) in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve night.
It was OSU’s first bowl win since beating Pittsburgh, 3-0, in the 1998 Sun Bowl.
The Beavers made quick work of the Broncos, jumping out to a 31-6 halftime lead thanks in large part to two fumble return touchdowns by cornerback Rashaad Reynolds.
Oregon State, which came in averaging just 86 yards rushing per game, accumulated 197 yards on the ground. Storm Woods got a game-high 107 of those yards on just 16 carries to notch his first 100-yard rushing game of the season.
Boise State had 537 total yards and made a solid attempt at a comeback, but couldn’t recover from the early deficit. Quarterback Grant Hedrick played well, throwing for 382 yards and one touchdown on 32 of 44 passing. Wide out Matt Miller caught 11 passes for 206 yards, but the Broncos were unable to convert those yards into points.
The loss capped a tumultuous month for Boise State. First Chris Petersen skipped town to take the head coaching job at Washington, then senior quarterback Joe Southwick was sent home for allegedly urinating off a balcony. New head coach Bryan Harsin will take over a team coming off its worst season since 1998. He’s got a lot of work to do, but the talent is in place for Boise State to once again dominate the Mountain West.
Meanwhile, Oregon State restored some of its pride after slumping horribly down the stretch this season. The Beavers will return Mannion, all of its leading rushers and most of its top receivers (assuming Brandin Cooks goes pro), so this win could act as a springboard to an even better 2014 in Corvallis.
WHO: 8-4 Boise State (MWC) vs. 6-6 Oregon State (Pac-12)
WHAT: Sheraton Hawaii Bowl (12th year)
WHERE: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
WHEN: Dec. 24 at 8 p.m. ET
WHY: Boise State gets ready to play its first game without Chris Petersen on staff since the 2000 season. Things are already off to a shaky start as quarterback Joe Southwick has been suspended and sent home for a violation of team rules. Backup Grant Hedrick, a junior who has 1,443 yards and 15 touchdowns this season, will get the start in his place. The Broncos’ top weapon on offense is sophomore running back Jay Ajayi, who has 1,328 yards and 17 touchdowns. Assistant Bob Gregory is serving as the interim coach until Bryan Harsin takes over.
Boise will be hard-pressed to stop the dynamic OSU pass-catch duo of Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks. Mannion threw for 4,403 yards and 36 touchdowns while Cooks won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver thanks to 120 catches for 1,670 yards and 15 touchdowns.
This one will come down to which defense can at least hold its own. The Beavers, losers of five straight, have been porous this year, giving up an average of 32 points per game. Boise State has been better, allowing 23.8 per game, but the Broncos have been gashed when they’ve gone up against quality offenses this year. With all the turmoil going on in Boise, the advantage has to lie with the Beavers in this one.
PREDICTION: Oregon State 38, Boise State 31