BY CHRIS LEWIS
Bob Behler and I posed a question Tuesday on “Idaho Sports Talk” about whether Brett Rypien is a “big-game” quarterback. We surveyed the Twitter audience, and the results were favorable to the Boise State quarterback.
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I voted with the majority, saying that Rypien has been a “big-game quarterback” (someone who plays their best in the biggest games). However, after doing the exercise of going through Rypien’s biggest games as a Bronco, his play has been more negative than positive. Here’s what I deemed the 10 biggest games of Rypien’s career.
- Virginia as FR: 24-35, 321 yards, 3 TDs
- This was Rypien’s debut. Considering the hype he had when he selected Boise State, this has to be considered one of the big games. This easily falls into the good category.
- Air Force as FR: 23-48, 237 yards, 1 TD
- This was coming off the loss the New Mexico at home late in the season. Boise State still had a chance to win the Mountain Division with a win against the Falcons. Unfortunately, Rypien struggled with deep passes, completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes, Boise State’s offense suffered, and it turned out to be back-to-back home losses. This goes into the bad category.
- Washington State as SO: 19-35, 299 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs
- Early season game against a solid Power Five team at home that had a star quarterback in Luke Falk. Rypien was the better quarterback in the game, but that was because Boise State’s defense owned Falk. Rypien was loose with the ball, throwing three INTs and had a low completion percentage. Broncos’ defense led them to a win, but this goes into the bad section for Rypien.
- BYU as SO: 25-39, 442 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs (pick 6’s)
- Boise State came into this game 6-0, against a rival at home on a nationally televised weekday night game. This game had the best and worst of Rypien, so I put it in the both category. The yards and big plays were plenty, however he also threw two pick-6’s in the game, giving BYU a chance to win. Boise State was fortunate to block a field goal at the end of the game to stay unbeaten.
- Air Force as SO: 9-26, 316 yards, 1 TD
- Boise State still had a chance to win the Mountain with a win and some help (which they ended up getting from other MW games). However, Rypien and the passing game didn’t have it. Struggled to move the ball until some big plays when behind in the fourth quarter. It was the worst completion percentage of Rypien’s career, certainly a bad game at a bad time.
- Baylor as SO: 32-51, 305 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
- That Cactus Bowl was a disaster for everyone on Boise State’s team, Rypien included. He had a couple red-zone turnovers and the Broncos were overmatched. Numbers don’t look awful, but a lot of those were in garbage time. Another bad game.
- Washington State as JR: 7-8, 76 yards, fumble, Did Not Finish
- Early season road game against a Power Five team. This one gets a N/A for Rypien, because he didn’t finish the first quarter before leaving with an injury. Before he left, he led a TD drive and had a fumble.
- SDSU as JR: 11-19, 72 yards, 1 TD
- Much anticipated meeting of what we thought were the two Mountain West powers in San Diego. Boise State got up early with a special teams and defensive touchdown. However, Rypien and the passing game was extremely quiet, leading to a lot of stalled drives. When Boise State needed a late drive to put the game away, the coaches turned to Montell Cozart to close it out (he led a TD drive). With under 100 passing yards and being taken out in the fourth quarter, it falls in the bad section for me.
- Fresno as JR: 16-30, 246 yards
- Mountain West championship game might have been the biggest to date in the career of Rypien. Despite a defensive struggle and an average stat-line, Rypien gets a solid good grade for this performance. He led the championship clinching drive when everything was on the line. Big time drive in a defining moment.
- Oregon as JR: 21-38, 362 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
- The Vegas Bowl against Oregon was a showcase of everything that was good about Boise State. Big plays, fancy plays, trick plays were all a factor. Despite the two INTs, this goes into the good section for Rypien, as he and Cedrick Wilson paced a comfortable win.
Conclusion: In the 10 biggest games of Rypien’s career, using the simple grading of “good vs. bad,” the Boise State QB has three good, five bad, one both, and one N/A. That’s not exactly the ratio I’m looking for when I call someone a “big-game quarterback”. This Oklahoma State game is the biggest game in the career for the national perception of Rypien. The resume’ says he has something to prove against the Cowboys.
Chris Lewis, the play-by-play voice of Boise State women’s basketball and Olympic Sports, co-hosts Idaho Sports Talk with Bob & Chris weekdays from 1-3 p.m. on KTIK 93.1 FM The Ticket. He can be found @ChrisLewisTweet (Twitter).