Brett Rypien

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Boise State QB Ryan Finley to transfer

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Boise State’s depth at quarterback just got a little more shallow, which is somewhat to be expected. On Saturday in Boise State’s spring game, freshman Brett Rypien played well and made a case for the starting job heading to the summer. On Tuesday, Boise State announced Ryan Finley will pursue a transfer to play elsewhere.

“We wish Ryan the best,” Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin said in a released statement. “He is going to leave Boise State with a degree, and that is what this is all about.”

With Finley earning his degree from Boise State, that qualifies him to play right away in the fall at another FBS program as a graduate transfer. It is unknown if there is a short list for Finley to consider, but there will be no shortage of options.

Finley completed 46 of 70 pass attempts last fall for 485 yards and a touchdown with four interceptions in three games. Rypien appeared in 11 games and led the offense with 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns as he grabbed a firm grasp on the starting quarterback job under Harsin. There was likely not much that would stand in the way of him being named the starter again for 2016.

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.

Seven — seven!!! — turnovers leave Boise dazed, G5 hopes on the ropes

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No. 21 Boise State came into Friday night’s game in Logan riding a 12-game winning streak against Utah State.  If they’re going to make it a baker’s dozen against their Mountain West foes — and remain in the Group of Five picture — they’re gonna have to do it coming from behind.  From way, way, waaayyy behind.

Through two quarters of play, a stunned Broncos squad finds itself down 45-10 to the home-standing Aggies.  In the Broncos’ last four games, all wins, they’d allowed a combined 24 points.  The only game in which the defense had allowed more than 14 points this season came in a Week 2, a 35-24 loss at BYU.

To say that the Broncos’ offense has been off its game — and the Aggies’ defense on its — would be an understatement.  Boise came into the game 10th nationally in scoring offense (40.7 ppg) and 19th in total offense (482.3 ppg); the Aggies held the Broncos to negative first-quarter yardage and didn’t allow a first down until a couple of minutes were gone in the second quarter.

The key sequence of the half, and perhaps the game as well as the Broncos’ postseason, came late in the first and on into the second quarter, with Boise trailing 7-3 at the time.

USU’s Jake Thompson hit on a 51-yard field goal that seemingly would’ve been good from 71 yards out with 3:17 left in the opening quarter.  On the ensuing possession, true freshman Brett Rypien was sacked on a third-and-seven and fumbled, with the recovery giving the Aggies the ball at the Broncos’ 11-yard line.  Three plays later, Kent Meyers hit Hunter Sharp from 10 yards out for a touchdown.  On Boise’s next play from scrimmage, another Rypien fumble on a strip-sack was again recovered by USU at the opponent’s 15; three plays after that, LaJuan Hunt scored on a four-yard run.

So, in a span of 3:48, the Broncos saw a four-point deficit balloon to 21 at 24-3 thanks to two costly turnovers.  A third turnover, Rypien’s first interception of the game, on the drive after Hunt’s touchdown didn’t hurt the Broncos on the scoreboard as the Aggies were forced to punt for the first time since very early in the first quarter.

The Broncos actually turned it over on four straight possessions, but the Aggies fumbled a second Rypien pick back to Boise.  The visitors then turned that turnover flip-flop into a positive — a Kelsey Young one-yard run — to seemingly give the Broncos some much-needed momentum heading into the locker room.

Unbelievably, and after forcing a three-and-out with 2:30 minutes left that gave them the ball just shy of the 50 with a chance to add to the momentum, the Broncos handed the ball back to the Aggies on a Devan Demas fumble with 2:09 left in the quarter.  A 39-yard touchdown run by Meyers a minute later stripped the Broncos of any momentum they may have gotten from the Young score.

But wait, there’s more.  Seriously.

On the very next possession, with just 1:12 left in the half, a Rypien pass completion to Chaz Anderson was in turn fumbled, with USU recovering at the 20-yard line.  For those keeping score at home, that’s six turnovers for the Broncos — four lost fumbles, two interceptions.

One play later, USU put what could have been the final nail in Boise’s coffin as Meyers hit Sharp on a 21-yard touchdown catch.

But wait, there’s more.  Seriously.

With :11 seconds to play, Rypien threw his third pick of the game, which Marwin Evans returned 90 yards for a touchdown as the final seconds ticked off the clock.  And that pick came on the play right after another Rypien fumble recovered by the Aggies was instead ruled as an incomplete pass.

So, if you’re keeping a final score at home, that’s seven turnovers, five for which Rypien was directly responsible.  In the Broncos’ first six games, they had turned the ball over six times combined.

They do get the ball first to start the second half, so that have that going for them, which is nice.

One final note: The FBS record for turnovers in a game is 13 (five fumbles, eight interceptions) by Georgia vs. Georgia Tech back on Dec. 1, 1951.  Hey, it’s something to shoot for at least.

One final non-turnover note: in other Group of Five action, undefeated and 24th-ranked Houston has taken a comfortable 28-7 lead on the road into the half against 2-3 Tulane.  UH quarterback Greg Ward Jr., who came into the game as the only FBS player averaging 200 yards passing and 100 yards rushing, has totaled 263 yards of offense — 213 passing, 50 rushing.