Brett Rypien and No. 20 Boise State sure look ready for their showdown with Power Five for Oklahoma State next week.
Rypien threw for 362 yards and three touchdowns in little more than a half and the Broncos set a school record for offensive yards in a 62-7 rout of UConn on Saturday night.
Boise State (2-0) gained 818 yards, including 514 in the first half. The previous record was 742 yards on Oct. 15, 2011, against Colorado State in Boise State’s first Mountain West game.
Combined with a blowout win over Troy last week, the Broncos seem poised to give Oklahoma State trouble in a game that could have major postseason implications.
“I’m not going to downplay what our team did tonight,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “That was a tremendous performance. I told our guys in the locker room congratulations on that — eight hundred yards of offense is not going to happen every single game. But for me, it’s not as much about the numbers as it is how we played the game.”
Rypien had his 16th career 300-yard passing game, tying Kellen Moore for most with the program.
“Any time you’re in a conversation with Kellen Moore — who I think is the greatest college football player of all time — that’s definitely an honor for sure,” Rypien said.
UConn (0-2) struggled to move the ball against Boise State’s veteran defense, mustering just 78 yards and four first downs in the first half. The Huskies finished with 193 yards of offense.
“We didn’t seem to help ourselves by giving up all those big plays and starting off in such a hole,” UConn coach Randy Edsall said. “We’ve got to continue to improve and get better.
“Boise State is a fine football team and certainly deserving of their ranking — and should probably be ranked a little higher.”
The Broncos scored on three plays of 50-plus yards, including two big ones by John Hightower.
The junior transfer from Hinds Community College broke out with a 67-yard scoring strike from Rypien and an electrifying 55-yard touchdown run, weaving from sideline to sideline before finding the end zone.
Hightower finished with five catches for 119 yards to go along with his long scoring run.
“John is very special in space and he showed everyone that tonight,” said Boise State receiver A.J. Richardson, who also had 100 yards receiving on three receptions. “I think he shocked everyone with what he can do.”
UConn: The Huskies need to shore up their defense after giving up 600-plus yards in back-to-back games to start the season. Even more troubling is the fact that both performances were relatively balanced in yards yielded on the ground and through the air.
Boise State: The Broncos are hitting on all cylinders heading into their big matchup with the Cowboys. If Boise State intends to make a run at the sole New Year’s Six bowl game slot designated for a Group of 5 program, it’s a must-win victory with heavyweight UCF also contending for that spot.
UCF OR BOISE STATE?
UConn has had the misfortune of facing two of the most highly regarded teams from the Group of Five programs. And who did Edsall give the nod to after losing 56-17 to UCF and 62-7 to Boise State?
“They’re both very fine football teams,” Edsall said. “And again as I studied the tape and watched the tape and now being here tonight and playing them live, I think that Boise State is a little bit better and a little bit ahead of Central Florida right now. Defensively, I think Boise State is outstanding.
“They’re both good football teams, but there are more issues playing against Boise State than Central Florida, and we got hammered by both of them.”
CONFERENCE RECORD TIED, THEN LOST
Boise State tied the Mountain West Conference record for most total yards of offense held by Fresno State in 2013 — but only briefly. Five years ago, the Bulldogs rolled up 822 yards against New Mexico State, which Boise State matched Saturday. However, the Broncos lost four yards and their share of the record after two kneel downs.
Boise State entered as the second highest-ranked program among the Group of Five schools, one spot behind UCF. However, Boise State could leapfrog the Knights after registering a more impressive win against UConn.
UConn: The Huskies will attempt to stem their two-game skid when they return home Saturday to host Rhode Island.
Boise State: The Broncos will travel to Oklahoma State on Saturday for a much-anticipated matchup.