Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien is no stranger to Washington State’s Martin Stadium.
He attended many games in Pullman when he was growing up in nearby Spokane and knows what the atmosphere is like.
He'll get to experience it from a different perspective Saturday when he leads Boise State against No. 20 Washington State.
“It’s wild, especially when the Cougars start winning,” Rypien said.
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The Cougars (1-0) have been winning quite a bit the past two years, going to bowl games after each of the last two seasons.
Boise State (1-0) has been winning consistently for some two decades. Rypien, the nephew of great Washington State quarterback Mark Rypien, picked the Broncos over the Cougars because he wanted to try something new.
“It’s going to be different for sure, being back home,” the junior said. “But I’m looking forward to it.”
Rypien led Boise State to a 31-28 win over Washington State last season in Boise, the Broncos’ first win over the Cougars after four losses.
While Rypien is expected to start Saturday, the Boise State quarterback situation got a little murky in the season opener against Troy last weekend when backup Montell Cozart played some decisive minutes in leading the Broncos to a 24-13 win.
Cozart, a former starter at Kansas, may play again if the Cougars defense is roughing up Rypien like the Troy defense did.
“It really wasn’t that hard for me,” Rypien said of watching Cozart play. “I want to win championships, first and foremost, and after not getting it done the first two years here, it’s something I’m really looking forward to.”
Washington State coach Mike Leach said Rypien played well against the Cougars last year. He is not a fan of rotating quarterbacks.
“I always worry it makes the team disjointed,” Leach said. “I’ve never done it that way.”
Leach said the Cougars will prepare to face both quarterbacks. He noted that Boise State often presents coaching challenges.
“They’ve always had some gadgets and shifts and motions that have worked out good for them,” Leach said.
Other things to watch when Washington State hosts Boise State:
WELCOME TO THE PAC-12
Boise State is regularly one of the Mountain West’s top teams but the Broncos are pretty good playing out of conference as well. The Broncos are 4-0 against Pac-12 teams dating to 2014, including wins over Washington State and Oregon State last year. “They are able to zero in” when they play teams from the Power Five conferences, Leach said. “Pac-12 teams play a lot of good teams.” These two programs, located about 300 air miles apart, have played only five times in their history.
Washington State QB Luke Falk continues to pile up passing records. He needs just 101 passing yards to break Connor Halliday’s team record of 11,304 career yards, and is stalking a whole bunch of other team and Pac-12 records. Most important, he has led the Cougars to 19 victories, second-best in program history behind Jason Gesser’s 24 wins. “He’s good at featuring the talents of the players around him,” Leach said.
Boise State’s football winning percentage of .725 since becoming a four-year college ranks third in history, after Michigan (.731) and Notre Dame (.729). The Broncos also have made 15 consecutive bowl appearances and have appeared in the AP Top 25 at least once a season for the past 15 years.
The air in eastern Washington has been smoky all week because of wildfires, with air quality often dropping into the “hazardous” category. But the weather forecast calls for much of the smoke to clear out by game time Saturday night. ... Washington State’s James Williams set team running back records last weekend with 13 receptions for 163 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also rushed for 45 yards. “James is really explosive with the ball in his hands,” Leach said.