Brett Rypien, Boise State Defeat Oregon 38-28 in Las Vegas Bowl

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2017

Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien attempts a pass against Oregon during the first half of the Las Vegas Bowl NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

The No. 25 Boise State Broncos dominated the Oregon Ducks in nearly all facets Saturday to win the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl 38-28 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.

Boise State out-gained Oregon 481-285, won the time of possession battle by more than 13 minutes and had 28 first downs in the game compared to 14 for the Ducks.

Oregon didn't run a single play in Boise State territory during the first half, and the only thing that kept the Ducks in it was a pair of long return touchdowns on defense in the final minute of the second quarter.

Offensively, Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien had a strong day with 362 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, and wide receiver Cedrick Wilson was the main beneficiary, as he made 10 receptions for 221 yards and one score.

The Ducks couldn't get anything going on offense, as evidenced by quarterback Justin Herbert's stat line of 233 passing yards, two touchdowns and two picks.  

By virtue of Saturday's win, Boise State finished the season with an 11-3 mark. Oregon fell to 7-6 by losing its first game under new head coach Mario Cristobal.

Oregon entered the game short-handed, as all-time school rushing leader Royce Freeman decided to skip the game seemingly to protect against an injury before the 2018 NFL draft.

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Freeman was on the sidelines and gave his team a pep talk prior to the game, which didn't sit well with the ESPN halftime broadcast team, according to Scout.com's Kevin Wade:

Kevin Wade @KwadeSays

Man, ESPN halftime crew just ROASTING Royce Freeman right now. Said he has no right to address the team if he's not playing

The speech seemingly did little to pump up the Ducks, as Boise State was all over them from the onset.

Boise State scored first midway through the opening quarter when Ryan Wolpin rushed for a one-yard touchdown.

That advantage was doubled on a 26-yard catch and run by Wilson, as seen in the following video courtesy of the Las Vegas Bowl's official Twitter account:

Las Vegas Bowl @LasVegasBowl

Here's that 26-yard reception by @broncosportsfb by Cedrick Wilson to cap Boise State's 3rd drive of the game. #LVBowl Score Update: BSU 14, Oregon 0 https://t.co/N2UOMjLf2v

After a field goal made it 17-0, the Broncos defense got in on the scoring act with a pick-six.

Boise State true freshman safety Kekaula Kaniho intercepted Herbert in the second quarter and took it back 53 yards to the house to help extend the lead to 24-0:

Las Vegas Bowl @LasVegasBowl

Here's the PICK 6 by @broncosportsFB Kekaula Kaniho down the sideline for an easy score! #LVBowl Score Update: BSU 24, Oregon 0 https://t.co/Gxz7ta7lmz

The Broncos were in position to add to that lead even more late in the first half, as they drove the ball down to the Oregon 10-yard line with less than one minute remaining.

Boise State may have outsmarted itself, though, as a botched Statue of Liberty play resulted in a fumble that Oregon linebacker Troy Dye picked up and returned 86 yards for a touchdown:

Las Vegas Bowl @LasVegasBowl

Here's Troy Dye's 86-yard fumble return to put points on the 'board for @oregonfootball & cut into @broncosportsfb's lead! #LVBowl Score Update: BSU 24, UO 7 https://t.co/bycpzGOPCy

Rather than being happy with a 24-7 lead and kneeling on the ball, Boise State got aggressive after receiving the ensuing kickoff.

Rypien hooked up with Wilson for a 65-yard gain, but he was intercepted by Tyree Robinson in the end zone on the next play, and Robinson went all the way for a 100-yard pick-six:

Las Vegas Bowl @LasVegasBowl

Just as @broncosportsfb looked like it was going to score a late 2Q score, @oregonfootball gets its 2nd defensive TD in as many drives with this 100-yard return by Tyree Robinson! #LVBowl Score Update: BSU 24, UO 14 https://t.co/ENlMoa1lib

ESPN's Kevin Negandhi pointed out how rare the late miscues were for Boise State since it has a penchant for protecting the football:

Kevin Negandhi @KNegandhiESPN

Boise State had 2 turnovers in their previous 8 games, in the last minute, they’ve committed 2 in Red Zone w both going for Oregon TDs.

Without even coming close to breaking 100 yards of offense or running a play in Boise State territory, the Ducks trailed by just 10 points at the half.

Benjamin Allbright of 104.7FM in Denver expressed his belief that the Broncos should have been a bit more conservative:

Benjamin Allbright @AllbrightNFL

Boise had just run and kicked a FG, would have been up 27-0 at half. Got too cute, now 24-14 and Oregon has all the momentum.

As seen in the following rundown of the first-half stats from CBS Sports' Tom Fornelli, nearly everything suggested Boise State should have had a big lead:

Tom Fornelli @TomFornelli

Oregon has turned the ball over four times, has yet to cross the 50 yard line, and trails Boise State only 24-14 at halftime. https://t.co/fnPBSYQGXe

Remarkably, the teams combined for seven turnovers in the first half, and careless play by Boise State in the latter stages is primarily what kept Oregon afloat.

The opening drive of the second half was key for the Broncos in terms of reversing momentum.

Boise State's offense was up to the challenge, as it marched 75 yards in 12 plays, culminating in a 13-yard touchdown pass from Rypien to senior tight end Alec Dhaenens to help make it 31-14:

Las Vegas Bowl @LasVegasBowl

Here's a clip of @broncosportsfb's Alec Dhaenens 13-yard TD reception from Brett Rypien that pushes Boise State's lead to 17 with 9:41 left in the 3rd Q. #LVBowl Score Update: BSU 31, Oregon 14 https://t.co/A0BVzUDjMn

Oregon once again tightened the score early in the fourth quarter, though, when Herbert connected with Brenden Schooler for a 24-yard touchdown.

The Ducks were unable to pull any closer, and Boise State put the game away with 2:22 remaining when Wolpin scored once again from one yard out to help restore the 17-point lead at 38-21.

Oregon tacked on a garbage-time touchdown with 1:12 remaining when Herbert hit Jaylon Redd from eight yards out, but the game had already essentially been decided.

With Saturday's win, Boise State finished a season with at least 11 wins for the first time since 2014. It also improved its bowl record over its past nine appearances to 7-2.

The Cristobal era got off to a rocky start, but the Ducks managed to keep the score fairly close despite being thoroughly outplayed.


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