BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien spent the past year lamenting his performance against Air Force, one that cost the Broncos a spot in the Mountain West title game.
But after his performance in the Broncos’ 44-19 victory over Air Force on Saturday night, he’ll spend the final two weeks of the season getting ready for back-to-back games with Fresno State and a chance to win the conference title.
Rypien threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns as Boise State (9-2, 7-0 Mountain West) won its seventh straight game and secured a berth in the conference title game by winning the Mountain division for the first time since 2014.
“We’ve been looking forward to this game for a long time,” said Rypien, who was 16-of-22 passing with no interceptions. “In our team meeting this week, we talked about a lot of the stuff that happened last year and how I didn’t give our receivers much of a chance to go up and get the ball.
“We focused on giving them a chance tonight. And we hit our shots downfield and that was nice.”
Boise State snapped a three-game losing streak to the Falcons and will face Fresno State for the conference title on Dec. 2. But not before hitting the road to play the Bulldogs next Saturday in the regular season finale.
Air Force (4-7, 3-4) lost its third straight and watched its bowl hopes all but dashed in the process.
After scoring two touchdowns in the final three minutes to complete a 25-point comeback last week against Colorado State in overtime, the Broncos scored the game’s first 17 points and removed any potential drama, leading from start to finish.
Entering the game with the nation’s top-ranked pass defense, Air Force struggled to stop Rypien. He passed for at least 300 yards for the second straight week and is the first quarterback to accomplish the feat against the Falcons this season.
After Haden Hoggarth’s 22-yard field goal gave Boise State a 3-0 lead, Rypien started the aerial onslaught with on an 87-yard scoring strike to A.J. Richardson. It was Boise State’s longest touchdown pass since 2003.
Rypien added touchdown passes of 8 and 7 yards to Sean Modster and Octavius Evans, respectively, as the Broncos salted away the victory.
Boise State’s defense limited the Falcons to 181 yards rushing and forced three fumbles. It was only the third time this season Air Force — which came in averaging 310.1 yards rushing per game, tops in the conference — was held to fewer than 200 yards rushing.
“We definitely didn’t start out like we wanted to,” Air Force linebacker Grant Ross said. “We didn’t execute like we wanted to, but their receivers were executing their routes and catching the ball.”
With the loss, Air Force guaranteed its first losing season since 2013 and only the third in Troy Calhoun’s 11-year tenure at the service academy.
Boise State, which slipped into the college football playoff rankings at No. 25 this week, has yet to earn a ranking in the AP poll this season, but might make its first appearance of the season in the upcoming rankings.
If the Broncos manage to find themselves in the poll, it would be the sixteenth straight season they’ve been ranked at least one week, the eighth longest current streak in college football.
Air Force closes out its season at home against Utah State
Boise State travels to Fresno State for its final regular season game.
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