I'm sure the shock hasn't worn off for the Boise State Broncos.
After Friday's nights loss to Utah State, some of the Bronco faithful are probably wondering, "How did this happen?" If you can put it into a short summary, the answer would be: a Top 30 defense and a underrated offense game. The Broncos didn't know what to expect with Utah State's defense blitzing relentlessly, and their secondary making the Broncos' receivers constantly drop the ball.
If there was anything positive to take from Friday night's game, it's that Thomas Sperbeck is the heart and soul of this Boise passing game. True, he did have some dropped balls in the game and fumbled, but he also had 156 yards receiving, including a play that went for 38 yards.
This kid is good.
The week before against Colorado State, Sperbeck caught five balls for 178 yards and two touchdowns. He is on pace to get over 1,000 yards receiving this year, and is in the discussion for the Fred Biletnikoff Award. The Fiesta Bowl MVP is one of the brightest spots in this team's offense.
Rick Worthington, who covers the Broncos for 670 KBOI in Boise, thinks that Sperbeck and quarterback Brett Rypien are a perfect 1-2 punch.
"Sperbeck and Rypien have developed that QB-WR relationship you hope your team will have," Worthington told me on Sunday. "Sperbeck has become to a go-to receiver and the one guy that seems to be able to get deep for Boise State."
Last year, Sperbeck contributed nicely to Boise State's passing game, helping Grant Hedrick have a career year for the Broncos, who beat Arizona for the Fiesta Bowl. In the victory, Sperbeck, had 199 yards receiving, including a pass from Hedrick for 36 yards. His performance was so good that he picked up the Fiesta Bowl MVP.
Sperbeck is having an even better year this year, with 682 yards receiving and 5 TD passes. He is developing a nice relationship with Rypien which could rival that of past Boise State QB-WR tandems, like Bart Hendricks-Jeb Putzier, Ryan Dinwiddie-Billy Wingfield and Kellen Moore-Titus Young.
Worthington thinks Rypien-Sperbeck has the potential to be a great combination for the Broncos.
"Rypien's game is getting better," Worthington said. "He is a freshman that needs some experience. Once he becomes a leader he could be special. Sperbeck could contend for a Biletnikoff if Rypien can continue to throw the ball."
This weekend, Boise State returns to the blue turf to battle Wyoming. The Broncos will mostly likely get back into a rhythm and put up some nice offensive numbers. Despite limiting Nevada to 21 points on Saturday, Wyoming's defense isn't that great. Rypien should be able to bounce back from Friday's disappointing showing, and connect with his new WR target Sperbeck early and often.
Worthington predicts what fans should expect come next Saturday at Bronco Stadium.
"It's Wyoming........in Boise."