Washington State once coveted Brett Rypien during the recruiting process but it has worked out much better that it is Luke Falk who serves as the squad’s quarterback as the No. 22 Cougars entertain Boise State on Saturday. Rypien, the nephew of former Cougars’ star Mark Rypien, chose Boise State and struggled in the Broncos’ opener while Falk continued his assault on the school record books.
Falk opened his senior season with 311 yards passing and three touchdowns as Washington State rolled to a 31-0 victory over Montana State. The big performance gave him 92 career passing touchdowns as he surpassed Connor Halliday (90 from 2011-14) for the school mark and he needs just 101 passing yards to break the record set by Halliday (11,304) in that category. Meanwhile, Rypien had an inauspicious start to his junior campaign by going 13-of-23 for 160 yards and throwing an interception returned for a touchdown in a 24-13 win over Troy. Rypien’s shaky performance saw him spelled by backup Montell Cozart — a graduate transfer from Kansas who guided the team to both its offensive touchdowns — but coach Bryan Harsin insists the job still solidly belongs to Rypien.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Washington State -10.5
ABOUT BOISE STATE (1-0): Rypien, who is from Spokane, Wash., passed for 299 yards and a touchdown in a victory over Washington State last season but also was picked off three times. Sophomore Alexander Mattison is the new starting running back and he recorded a 49-yard touchdown in the opener while accumulating 82 yards on 13 carries. The Broncos allowed just 215 yards and forced three turnovers against Troy with redshirt freshman linebacker Curtis Weaver registering two sacks in his first college game.
ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE (1-0): Falk, who completed 33-of-39 passes in the opener, riddled Boise State at will last season when he completed 55-of-71 throws for 480 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Sophomore James Williams set school marks for a running back in the opener against Montana State as he caught 13 passes for 163 yards, while senior running back Jamal Morrow provided 116 all-purpose yards to move into eighth place in school history with 3,238. Junior defensive tackle Hercules Mata’afa dominates in the trenches with 27 career tackles for loss while sophomore safety Jalen Thompson stood out in the opener with a team-best seven tackles and his first career interception.
1. Washington State leads the series 4-1 but the Broncos recorded a 31-28 victory in Boise last season.
2. Redshirt freshman Avery Williams returned an 81-yard punt for touchdown versus Troy, the fifth longest in Broncos’ history.
3. Falk’s career passing touchdowns count ranks fifth in Pac-12 history and he needs 25 to surpass record-holder Matt Barkley (116 from 2009-12) of USC.
PREDICTION: Washington State 35, Boise State 28