BOISE, Idaho — Boise State’s Brett Rypien is the latest in a long line of prolific Bronco quarterbacks.
Rypien, who averages 320 yards passing per game, needs 250 yards to become the Mountain West Conference’s all-time passing yardage leader.
The senior could break the mark against BYU Saturday (8:15 p.m., MDT, ESPN2).
Going into Saturday’s game, Rypien has 12,441 career passing yards, second only to San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley (2008-11), who threw for 12,690 yards. BYU left the Mountain West in 2011 to go independent.
“They have a really experienced quarterback running the show,” said BYU coach Kalani Sitake. “He can throw the ball.”
Last week, Rypien surpassed former Cougar QB Max Hall to earn the second-most career wins as a starting quarterback in Mountain West history. Rypien has 33, one better than Hall. He’s tied with Hall for most 300-yard passing games with 20.
“I think he’s been solid all year long. He’s shown consistency with how he’s played and prepared. His preparation’s been great,” BSU coach Bryan Harsin said of Rypien. “He works really hard at that. With anything, if we’re passionate about it, we’ll work harder at it and we spend the time necessary to be successful.
"He’s done all that and he continues to do that. I’ve been very pleased with his efforts that way. There’s never been a question there. He’s always working to get himself better every week.”
As a team, Boise State averages 486 yards of offense and 40 points per game.
“They have a great quarterback and they have three great receivers,” said Cougar safety Tanner Jacobson. “Boise has three guys that have more than 500 yards receiving. Their quarterback is top five in the nation in passing as well. It’s an exciting opportunity for us.”
Sean Modster is the Broncos’ leading receiver with 43 catches for 642 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Alex Mattison has rushed for 637 yards and eight TDs.
Boise State (6-2) is riding a three-game winning streak since falling at home to San Diego State on Oct. 6. The Broncos are vying for a Mountain West Mountain Division title.
Harsin isn’t concerned about stepping out of conference play late in the season to face BYU.
“It is what it is. It’s another game on our schedule, wherever they place that,” he said. “I don’t see us stepping out of anything. It’s not like we’re going to back off and do something different. We’re developing. We’re growing as a team and this is another team where we have to go out there and that’s the challenge — to find a way to be successful against them. I don’t see it in a different way.”
Harsin said the BYU-Boise State rivalry means a lot to the Broncos and their fans.
“It’s a big game. This is a game we enjoy. It’s a game our players enjoy," he said. "This is a game fans really enjoy. I expect it’s going to be packed. There are a lot of connections between the two teams, whether it’s fan-related or recruiting-based or proximity.
“It’s one of those fun games to be a part of and there’s been some good ones over the years. BYU is a well-respected program and I think Boise State is as well," Harsin continued. "When you get two programs like that, people pay attention. You add in that extra, if you call it a rivalry or a big game or whatever you want to call it, those things start to factor in.
"That’s OK. That’s what players on both sides want to be a part of. Call it what you want to, it’s a big game for us. We’ve got to show up and we need to be a better team than we’ve been all season long to go out there and find a way to win.”
BYU’s coaching staff has a lot of respect for Boise State.
“They do a great job recruiting. A very underrated part of their program is their talent,” said Cougar quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick. “Everyone thinks they’re just a bunch of overachievers and they’re not. They’ve got really good players. That’s an overlooked part of their success. They’ve had a bunch of draft picks and big-time players.”
BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes coached at Boise State in 2000.
Why has Boise State been successful over the past few decades?16 comments on this story
“They’ve developed a culture, one that obviously we’d like to do here, they win with blue-collar guys who do their jobs on a consistent basis,” Grimes said. “They’re recruiting is elevated since I was there. But I still think they maintain that blue-collar attitude and there’s real strength in that.”
BYU has not won at Boise State in four tries.
“It’s a difficult place to play. We’ve never won there as a program,” Sitake said. “It’s a good challenge for us and we’re looking forward to trying to break that streak.”
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Cougars on the air
at Boise State (6-2)
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. MDT Albertsons Stadium
Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM