You know what I love? The sweet smell of victory. And the taste of Rams Tears. Rams Tears are DELICIOUS! As such, seeing Boise State walk away with the win during a game where the Broncos struggled mightily on third down (at one point 1-6) and Rypien's first interception (THE END IS NIGH!!!). But to walk away with the win is the most important thing.
Boise State started well enough jumping out to a 17-0 lead. Shane Williams-Rhodes wobbly 53 yard pass to Sperbeck for the game's first strike. SWR ended the game with a 875.2 passing rating. I can only assume a QB controversy is coming forthwith. Rausa nailed a 27-yard field goal after a Colorado State turnover. Then McNichols rumbled for 56 yards for his eleventh rushing touchdown for the year.
So, of course, the shutout streak ended with the Rams scoring on a Hansley pass from Key to get them within 10 points, 17-7. Colorado State posed the biggest challenge to the Broncos since BYU (and I am putting that extremely lightly) with their ability to run the ball somewhat effectively, being the first team this year to reach the century mark. And adding 151 yards through the air, thankfully the only touchdown for the night.
After an early penalty on the next drive pushed the Broncos back to the Broncos 15, Rypien connected with, you guessed it, Sperbeck for an 85 yard touchdown pass. The longest TD reception on the year (and hopefully the first of many). Sperbeck ended the night with five receptions and 178 yards. The entire Colorado State receiving corp? 151. Seeing Sperbeck be awesome warms my heart.
Colorado State managed to get a field goal to get with 14 points of the Broncos 24-10. With time winding down, the Broncos were able to extend their lead, but only off a Rausa 35 yard field goal. Some points are better than none, especially with Colorado State getting some momentum in the rush game.
Unfortunately Rypien showed his human side on the second play of the third quarter. Throwing an interception to Januska. But Colorado State could not capitalize on the true freshman's mistake as Darien Thompson was able to tie the MWC interceptions record of 18. But the Bronco's offense continued to struggle as they had to eventually punt during the drive.
The Broncos were able to put together two drives that resulted in touchdowns. The first was a costly rush from McNichols that gave him a concussion. Hopefully he is going to be ok going forward. The stable of backs is deep, however he is the starter for a reason. The second was a four yard rushing touchdown from Rypien. Rypien had four yards on the night.
Though the game ended in what optically resembles a blowout 41-10, the game did not have that feel. The Broncos ended the game 4-12 on third downs, and 1-3 on fourth downs.
What did we learn?
- Rypien is human. While obviously still the better quarterback on field, and arguably in the MWC, he made some questionable throws throughout the contest and one cost him. His offensive line also struggled to get him where he needed to be, at times, as far as protection goes. He could check off his first and second reads at times, others he would be flushed from the pocket. Rypien ended with 339 yards passing. More than Colorado State's total: 256.
- Injuries. Far too many for my liking. First Deayon got his leg rolled on while trying to field a punt, to Odhiambo having to take some time on the sidelines after a scrum for a fumble recovery. Even Colorado State decided to join in on the fun. Hopefully the Rams player, whose collar bone is assuredly broken, recovers quickly. To McNichols being forced to fully de-pad after his last touchdown. Hopefully his concussion is light and the Broncos do right by his protocol and make sure he is fully recovered before he ever sees the field. Hopefully his recovery is full and quick.
- Third downs. Both for opponents and the Broncos. While the Rams struggled worse (5-17) third and long is how they ended with their first score of the night. The Rams were at least 2-2 on fourth downs. The Broncos just 1-3. The Broncos are 89th in the nation at third down conversions with .364. That is not good. Luckily playing against MWC teams will mask that awful conversion rate.
- Rush Defense. Still strong. Nabbing three sacks and getting six tackles for losses. The Rams managed 105 yards. 2.8 yards per carry. Still pretty solid. But would love to see that number go down. Having massive (literally and figuratively) depth there is comforting.
- Interceptions. Boise State is so strong in the rush, it forces teams to pass. At their own peril. Moxey got his on an hilariously broken pass. And Thompson's? Well. Key tried throwing it to the receiver Thompson was covering. Do. Not. Do. That. That brings Thompson's total to 18 which ties the MWC record set by Utah's Weddle. Now the clock is ticking on Deayon's next INT. The Broncos dare teams to pass. Feels like it can go either way, but an INT is GOING to happen if you keep messing with the bull.
Any particular things that come to mind? Playcalling seemed predictable, but paid off. Coaching decisions? Like a timeout right before a fourth down conversion that was probably going to work? Anyone else bummed out about the shutout streak ending? Leave your thoughts below!