SAN DIEGO, CA-The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl was filled with numerous record-setting moments set by the game winner: Boise State. The fast-paced scoring offense is filled with a nucleus of dynamic players from all the positions such as with starting quarterback Brett Rypien, who broke the Mountain West Conference record by a freshman signal-caller with over 3,000 passing yards (3,353 yards during the regular season).
Rypien, the Mountain West Freshman of the Year, earned the game’s Offensive MVP honors by adding to that total with 377 yards passing and three touchdowns in leading Boise State to a 55-7 win at Qualcomm Stadium against Northern Illinois University.
Along with Rypien, Boise State presented Northern Illinois with an abundance of issues with intriguing players such as Jeremy McNichols, the starting running back who scored the first three touchdowns for the Broncos-in the first quarter alone. Boise State wide receiver Chaz Anderson collected a touchdown in the first half as well.
Boise State offense was the first to strike. Little did Northern Illinois know that Boise State’s offense was going to cause the defense to be on their heels all game. The Broncos’ momentum began when McNichols caught a 39-yard pass from Rypien. McNichols followed that play with a 29-yard touchdown run up the gut of Northern Illinois defense.
Boise State had an 80-yard drive in one minute to be exact, making that the fastest time for a team to score in the Poinsettia Bowl history, leaving all Northern Illinois fans speechless. However NIU showed potential in moving the chains on their first series as they converted a fourth down play.
Northern Illinois freshman quarterback Ryan Graham seemed a bit antsy, missing several receivers for possible touchdown passes. It got worse for the Huskies as Graham fumbled a snap from center Andrew Ness. The ball was was picked up by Boise State linebacker Tyler Gray.
Turnovers are never good, especially if your opponent has a dynamic offense such as the one that Boise State have. Boise State took advantage of that fumble and that led to Rypien’s first touchdown pass in the game, a 4-yard pass to Jeremy McNichols making the score 14-0.
Northern Illinois’ offense continued to struggle by not converting on third downs, giving Boise State the ball back again. This would lead to another touchdown run by McNichols to make it 21-0 in the first quarter. Boise’s defense came up with another stop against the Huskies, and the Broncos settled for a field goal, making the score 24-0 early in the second quarter.
With that field goal, Boise State placekicker Tyler Rausa made school history with the most career kicking points with a total of 123 points. The offensive demonstration set by Boise State was record-setting as the team established a new mark for most touchdowns in one quarter in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Northern Illinois couldn’t get anything going offensively. That’s because Boise State’s defense was shutting them down from the entire time, forcing several turnovers in the first half. However, Northen Illinois did receive one spark during the game, and that was when Aregerous Turner returned a kickoff of 95 yards for a touchdown, making the score 24-7.
Momentum seemed to swing back to Northern Illinois’ side. Rypien fumbled the ball, giving the ball back to the Huskies. The struggles continued for the Huskies as Northern Illinois gave the ball right back with yet another fumble, which was picked up by Boise State linebacker Tyler Gray. The fumble lead to another touchdown pass from Rypien-this one going to Anderson for 16 yards, making it 31-7.
Another record set by the Broncos was putting up the most points scored in one half in the Poinsettia Bowl. Both aspects of the game worked for Boise State. The Broncos’ defense made numerous stops and forced turnover. On offense, Boise State went to work with little resistance as Northern Illinois’ defense couldn’t stop the more potent Broncos.
With Rypien throwing nothing but dimes with precise accuracy, this assisted in Boise State in converting all of their third downs except one. Boise State settled for another field goal, making the game even further to reach. This just wasn’t a one-sided affair. Boise State came to play both sides of the ball. Though the attention is always focused on the offense of Boise State, the team’s defense made their mark as well.
Boise State defense had been aggressive all game and they weren’t going to let up any bit. Kamalei Correa was giving Graham trouble the entire time with a number of sacks for losses. Northern Illinois’ offense couldn’t budge with the Broncos defense swarming around them the entire time. The Huskies could only muster 104 yards in total offense for the game.
With Boise State’s defense putting the hammer down on their side of the filed, the Broncos’ offense was taking advantage of those stops with another touchdown throw by Rypien. This passing score went to Alec Dhaenens for 18 yards, making it 41-7. It became one of those games as Northern Illinois would continue to struggle with Boise State leaving them lifeless on their sidelines, with no hope as they got shut out in the second half.
Boise State defensive end Kamalei was named for defensive player of the game with 2 sacks, 4 tackles, and 2.5 tackles for losses. Rypien was named Most Valuable Player of the game for his offensive output of three touchdowns and boatload of passing yards. The Broncos proudly walked away with their trophy from the accomplishment that they obtained, and now fully understand how special the trophy means to their program.
Daniel Freeman is a zoology and animal biology major and budding scientist; He is a contributing writer and animal and nature advocate.