BYU Gameday

Football Courtesy: Boise State Athletics

Boise State Hosts BYU In Homecoming Clash

BOISE, Idaho - The Boise State football team will take a break from Mountain West play, hosting BYU in the team's final regular-season nonconference game of the 2018 season, Saturday (Nov. 3).

The Broncos (6-2) and Cougars (4-4) are slated to kick at 8:15 p.m. at Albertsons Stadium, and the game will be nationally televised on ESPN2.

NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER: The game against BYU (4-4) will begin a November stretch for Boise State that features three home games against teams assured to be .500 or better, the first such occurrence in the final month of the season for the Broncos since 1986. Fresno State (Nov. 9) and Utah State (Nov. 24) are each currently 7-1.

A HOME-FRIENDLY NOVEMBER: Boise State heads into November with an advantageous schedule as it attempts to claim the Mountain Division, with two of its final three conference games at home during the final month. After a non-conference tilt with BYU at Albertsons Stadium on Nov. 3, the Broncos will have home dates against Fresno State (Nov. 9) and Utah State (Nov. 24) sandwiched around its conference road finale at New Mexico on Nov. 16.

The remaining home games against BYU, Fresno State, and Utah State bode well for the Broncos fortunes, as they are a combined 22-3. Broken down individually, the Broncos are 4-0 at home against BYU, 9-1 against Fresno State (the Broncos have won nine in a row at home against the Bulldogs since the lone loss in 1984), and 9-2 against Utah State (last home loss to the Aggies coming in 1996).

TWO RANKED OPPONENTS IN NOVEMBER?: With Utah State (No. 18) and Fresno State (No. 20) breaking into the Associated Press Top 25 this week, the Broncos could end up playing two ranked opponents in November for the first time in program history.

The Broncos have played one ranked opponent in November on three occasions (Fresno State in 2005, Hawai'i in 2007, Nevada in 2010). Boise State is 0-3 over those games.

BOWL ELIGIBILITY: With last week's victory over Air Force, the Broncos became bowl eligible for the 21st-consecutive season (1998-2018). Despite being eligible, the Broncos were not selected for a bowl in 1998 (6-5) of 2001 (8-4). Regardless of the snubs, Boise State entered 2018 having appeared in a bowl game in each of the last 16 seasons, tied for the sixth-longest active streak in the country.

NONCONFERENCE HOME GAMES: Boise State is 25-1 in nonconference home games since the start of the 2006 season, the only loss during that time coming to Virginia (42-23), Sept. 22, 2017. The loss to the Cavaliers snapped a streak of 24-consecutive victories, and was the first nonconference setback at home since falling to Boston College in the 2005 MPC Computers Bowl (27-21), Dec. 28, 2005.

RYPIEN CLOSE TO MW PASSING RECORD: Brett Rypien needs 250 yards to become the Mountain West's all-time passing yardage leader. Entering Saturday's match-up against BYU, Rypien has 12,441 career passing yards. The current leader, San Diego State's Ryan Lindley (2008-11), had 12,690 yards.

WHO YOU CALLIN' W(H)IMP(E)Y?: Sophomore linebacker Riley Whimpey continued his run of strong performances Oct. 27 at Air Force, recording a career-best 13 tackles, including a sack, just a week after posting a personal-best nine tackles against Colorado State.

Whimpey has been one of Boise State's surest tacklers of late stepping up and rising to the team lead with 48 tackles (23 solo) through Oct. 27. Over the last four games, Whimpey has accounted for 35 tackles.

RYPIEN IS THE AIR FORCE: Quarterback Brett Rypien must've been inspired by the pregame F-18 flyover at the Air Force Academy Oct. 27 because he then put on an aerial display to the tune of 399 yards and five touchdowns in Boise State's 48-38 win.

It was his sixth 300-yard passing performance of the season, and the five touchdown tosses matched his career high. Three of those scoring passes went for at least 35 yards, highlighted by a 61-yard bomb to John Hightower with 3:21 left in the game.

THE HIGHTOWER EFFECT: Wide receiver John Hightower, a junior-college transfer from Hinds Community College, continued his eye-opening debut season with a career effort Oct. 27 at Air Force, setting personal bests in receptions (eight), receiving yards (182), and touchdown catches (three).

Hightower scored Boise State's first two touchdowns against the Falcons, hauling in scoring passes fo 44 and 18 yards, respectively, but saved his best for last, catching a Brett Rypien deep ball in stride for a 61-yard score with 3:21 to go.

The performance brought Hightower's numbers this season to 29 catches for 488 yards and six touchdowns. He's also rushed eight times for 163 yards and two more scores, and shares the team lead with eight total scores (Alexander Mattison).
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