For those among the 8,568 fans on hand Saturday at Boise State football’s annual spring game who wanted to see the stars of today, they got exactly what they wanted.
The first-team offense and defense combined for a dominant 42-7 victory against the Broncos’ backups at Albertsons Stadium.
Senior quarterback Brett Rypien was locked in with a nearly perfect two quarters of work, completing 15 of 19 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns in just five possessions.
“Brett was on target. He was real accurate with throws,” offensive coordinator Zak Hill said. “Our receivers have come a long ways through spring ball, and some of the young guys are getting good reps and you can see their progression through spring. (We) hit some with deep balls, and that was the big thing going into this scrimmage that we really wanted to see.”
On the second play of the game, Rypien found sophomore wide receiver Octavius Evans for a 58-yard completion, then capped off the drive with a 12-yard touchdown strike between the pair to get on the board. Evans showed he is primed for a breakout season with two touchdowns in the scrimmage, also scoring on a 39-yarder from redshirt freshman Chase Cord in the third quarter.
“That’s the go-to target in the red zone,” junior safety DeAndre Pierce said of Evans. “He’s a worker. He’s big, physical, fast. Basically, he’s our prototype receiver, and to think that he’s only going into his sophomore year is kind of scary. I feel like the sky is the limit for him.”
Senior receiver A.J. Richardson caught a pair of TD passes from Rypien, scoring on a 64-yard pass in the first quarter and a 30-yarder with 15 seconds left before halftime. Evans had five catches for 124 yards, and Richardson, the team’s top returning receiver, had four catches for 117 yards.
Boise State’s starting defense kept the second-team offense scoreless in the first half. Senior STUD Jabril Frazier twice sacked Cord on third down for losses of 6 and 7 yards. Senior cornerback Tyler Horton added an interception near midfield.
“The first offense, first defense did a good job today. It was difficult for the second offense to move the ball,” coach Bryan Harsin said.
Cord got his chance with the first-team offense in the second half and took advantage. He hit Evans with the touchdown pass in the third quarter and broke free for a 67-yard TD run in the fourth.
“Obviously that second crew kind of struggled against our No. 1 defense,” Hill said. “That’s good for Chase Cord to go through some of that learning process, go through the ups and the downs and have to deal with some of that, and he obviously showed some flashes. ... It’s exciting to think about what he brings to the table, and we feel real good with the backup role right now.”
With starting running back Alexander Mattison sidelined this spring after postseason surgery, the Broncos worked plenty on establishing a more physical run game. Redshirt freshman Drake Beasley, sophomore Robert Mahone and senior Skyler Seibold combined for 18 carries and 58 yards. Seibold, who made the transition from safety to running back, had a 6-yard TD run in the second quarter. Seibold set up the scoring play himself thanks to a 31-yard reception on a wheel route the play before.
The backups’ only score of the game came on the final play when redshirt sophomore quarterback Brandon Bea connected on a 69-yard strike to sophomore receiver CT Thomas. It was the first — and only— snap of the game for Bea, a walk-on addition.
When the team hits Albertsons Stadium’s blue turf again for fall camp, the roster will be bigger with new scholarship additions, creating a little more competition. Though the likely starters stole the show Saturday, Harsin thinks the guys behind them will be just fine.
“Execution today with the first group was good — the second group, not very good, but not in a bad way,” Harsin said. “It’s an uphill battle for them, that’s the challenge. ... I think we got better with that group. I think our depth is closer than people think.”