Brett Rypien

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West Virginia’s Will Grier and Michigan’s Shea Patterson among Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award finalists

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College football’s award season is drawing near. The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award is in the spirit of the season with the announcement of 10 finalists for their award this season, honoring the top fourth-year quarterback in college football using a number of conditions including character, scholastic achievement and leadership qualities in addition to on-field success. And because the award is designed for seniors and fourth-year juniors scheduled to graduate with their class, you won’t find Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa on this list.

West Virginia quarterback Will Grier and Michigan’s Shea Patterson are among the list of candidates up for the award as finalists this season, it was announced on Thursday. Both players have certainly played a key role in guiding their respective teams into position to play for and win their respective conference titles with the final weeks of the season underway. UCF’s McKenzie Milton is in a similar position and was named a finalist for the award as well.

Joining those three are a pair of ACC quarterbacks with Syracuse’s Eric Dungey and NC State’s Ryan Finley. Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Washington State’s Gardner Minshew are representing the Pac-12 and Penn State’s Trace McSorley joins Patterson as the Big Ten representatives on the list of finalists for the award. Missouri quarterback Drew Lock is the lone SEC player named as a finalist and Boise State’s Brett Rypien is standing tall for the Mountain West Conference.

Past Golden Arm Award winners include Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Boston College’s Matt Ryan and Notre Dame’s Brady Quinn. Rudolph was last year’s recipient of the award.

Davey O’Brien Award watch list highlighted by former finalists, semifinalists and SEC

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The Davey O’Brien Award (top quarterback) took the spotlight in the ongoing college football watch list tour on Wednesday morning. A total of 30 quarterbacks were named to the initial watch list for the award, including six from the SEC along with a few potential Heisman Trophy candidates and a Heisman Trophy winner.

Highlighting the watch list are two finalists from last season; Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. Mayfield has been a two-time finalist for the award. Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett and Washington State’s Luke Falk are also on the watch list and are each two-time semifinalists for the award. Joining them on the watch list are former semifinalists Jake Browning (Washington), Sam Darnold (USC), Jalen Hurts (Alabama), Josh Rosen (UCLA), Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State)m and Wilton Speight (Michigan).

While the SEC led the way with six watch list players, the ACC, Big 12, and Pac-12 each had four players named to the watch list. The Big Ten had three, with Penn State’s Trace McSorley joining Barrett and Speight.

Clemson’s Deshaun Watson won the Davey O’Brien Award each of the past two seasons, becoming the second two-time winner of the award (Oklahoma’s Jason White in 2003-04). A player does not need to be included on the watch list in order to win the award, but only quarterbacks from the 130 FBS programs are eligible.

2017 Davey O’Brien Award Watch List

Austin Allen, Arkansas
Josh Allen, Wyoming
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
Jake Bentley, South Carolina
Jake Browning, Washington
Shane Buechele, Texas
Sam Darnold, USC
Eric Dungey, Syracuse
Jacob Eason, Georgia
Jesse Ertz, Kansas State
Luke Falk, Washington State
Riley Ferguson, Memphis
Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
Quinton Flowers, USF
Deondre Francois, Florida State
Jalen Hurts, Alabama
Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Daniel Jones, Duke
Tanner Mangum, BYU
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Trace McSorley, Penn State
Shea Patterson, Ole Miss
Josh Rosen, UCLA
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
Brett Rypien, Boise State
Brandon Silvers, Troy
Wilton Speight, Michigan
Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee
Mike White, WKU
Logan Woodside, Toledo

The Davey O’Brien Award will be trim its watch list down to a handful of semifinalists on November 7. Finalists for the award will be unveiled two weeks later on November 21, and the winner will be announced on December 7 at the annual Home Depot College Football Awards show on ESPN.

Boise State offense wins steak dinner in spring game; defense gets hot dogs

Katherine Jones/Idaho Statesman via AP
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Many teams offer up a nice meal to the winning team of a spring football game. At Boise State, the winners get treated to a nice steak dinner. On Saturday, the Broncos offense went home knowing they would be getting a rich steak meal after clipping their defensive counterparts by one point in an adjusted scoring system. The defense attempted to call a late timeout to setup an opportunity for a fourth-down stop at the end, but the timeout was not credited and the offense escaped with a 49-48 victory.

Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien had a productive afternoon for the Broncos offense in leading his team to three touchdown drives. Two of those touchdowns came through the air off Rypien’s arm with Sean Modster pulling in each, each from outside the red zone including a 52-yard play. Running back Devan Demas ripped off a 21-yard touchdown run as well as the offense finished the spring on a positive note after reportedly being somewhat sluggish this spring leading up to the game.

“That’s been kind of the theme all spring. We’ve been back and forth with the defense; you don’t really want one side of the ball to be dominant,” said Rypien, according to The Idaho Statesman. “Today, we got them a little bit more, but our defense has been doing a great job all spring. That unit, there was a lot of questions about them coming into spring, but they’ve been doing a really good job.”

If the Boise State offense needed a little motivation to get focused to perform the way they did on Saturday, maybe it was the thought of a steak dinner. But what did the losing team get to eat? Hot dogs wrapped in foil.

Boise State actually has one more practice to hold before wrapping things up for the spring. The Broncos will hold their final practice on Monday.

Boise State QB Finley probably out for 8 weeks; big problem for MWC, NY6 chase

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Boise State’s New Years Six and Mountain West Conference title hopes took a big hit on Sunday. Starting quarterback Ryan Finley will probably miss the next eight weeks after breaking his ankle in Friday night’s game against lowly Idaho State.

Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin announced the injury status on Sunday, saying Finley broke a bone in his ankle, but he was unsure what the treatment process will be. That should become more clear on Monday.

With Finley on the sideline rehabbing his ankle, Harsin says both backup quarterbacks — freshman Brett Rypien and sophomore Thomas Stuart — should be expected to play. The two have combined to throw 22 pass attempts this season, completing 17 of those for 196 yards and a touchdown.

Boise State’s next eight weeks consist of six Mountain West Conference games, one game against Virginia and a bye week. If Finley is out for eight weeks he would miss Boise State’s road games at Virginia, Colorado State, Utah State and UNLV and home games against Hawaii, Wyoming and possibly New Mexico. Finley could return to play Air Force in Boise on November 20 if he only has to be out for eight weeks and can return after that, but that stretch of eight games is a tough one with Virginia, Utah State and Colorado State all being played on the road.

Boise State has already lost once and now may have little margin for error in the race to the New Years Six, if not just the Mountain West Conference.