Coming out parties in sports are often accompanied by eye-popping stats, glitzy plays, or even amazing game-winning touchdowns. Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien has arrived at his moment a little differently.
Rypien, winding down his sophomore season, had been heralded as the next big Boise State quarterback. He had the football genes, the football acumen and was entering a program known for its outstanding quarterback play.
Over the past two games, Rypien has found his groove, putting together two consistent–if not spectacular–games in a row. Two games that will hopefully, finally put any doubts about his ability to rest.
To be fair, it’s not like Rypien was out there on the field making people wonder how he was even a starting FBS quarterback. His numbers have been above average, but it was games like a three-interception performance against BYU this season that had many questioning his decision making.
Starting as a true freshman last season, he certainly had those types of games as well. Despite some struggles, Rypien finished with 3,353 yards, 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He averaged 7.8 yards per attempt in completing 63.5% of his passes.
Yes, Rypien had a five-touchdown performance against New Mexico this season and has taken steps to improve his game. It is over these past two games, though, that Rypien is building on the foundation in an attempt to cement his high-caliber status.
Finishing the season strong
In games against San Jose State and Hawai’i, Rypien has put together efficient performances. He is a completing 79% of his passes, including an 18-22 performance against the Rainbow Warriors. Rypien has thrown for 547 yards for Boise State in these two games, averaging 12.7 yards per attempt. Most importantly, he has tossed seven scores without turning the ball over.
Both San Jose St. and Hawai’i had pass defenses ranked near the middle of all FBS schools in passing yards allowed. Each school has allowed less than 210 passing yards per game this season.
Part of his recent success can be attributed to the continued emphasis on the running game. Jeremy McNichols and Alexander Mattison–the M and M boys–have combined to carry the ball 72 times for 451 yards and five touchdowns over the past two games. With the running backs grinding, the passing lanes have opened up for star receivers Thomas Sperbeck and Cedrick Wilson.
The tight ends have been involved more as of late as well. A healthy Jake Roh and Alec Dhaenens have combined for six receptions for 78 yards and two touchdowns the past two games. Their stats won’t overwhelm you, but they have been targeted more, allowing for Rypien’s options to increase.
Rypien’s numbers have placed him the top-25 in many passing categories this season. He is seventh in quarterback rating (167.9), 12th in yards (2,916), fifth in yards per attempt (9.82) and tied for 16th in touchdown passes (22).
Rypien versus UNLV
It was a season ago against UNLV in which he enjoyed one of his finer performances of 2015. In the 55-27 victory over the Rebels, he was 35-52 for 469 yards and two touchdowns.
The Rebels are currently allowing opponents to pass for 261 yards per game this season.
At least three games–possibly four–are left on the schedule this season for Boise State. As the cliche goes, Rypien has been staying within himself and playing to what the defense is giving him. It’s all part of the learning curve and Rypien is taking full advantage.
If he keeps playing this strong, the team is in capable hands, for not only the rest of this season, but for the next two seasons as well.