FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Thomas Sperbeck caught two long touchdown passes and sophomore Jeremy McNichols scored his 13th and 14th TDs of the season, leading No. 25 Boise State past Colorado State 41-10 Saturday night.
Among Brett Rypien’s 339 yards passing was a beautiful 85-yard TD to McNichols, who also caught a 53-yard touchdown pass from fellow wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes on a trick play.
McNichols, who leads the FBS in TDs, scored on a 56-yard scamper but was knocked from the game on a 1-yard TD run late in the third quarter and didn’t return.
The Broncos (5-1, 2-0 Mountain West) jumped out to a quick 17-0 lead before the Rams (2-4, 0-2) had even moved the chains and Boise State was never seriously threatened in celebrating its return to the rankings by thrashing Colorado State for the sixth straight time.
Sperbeck finished with five catches for 178 yards, all in the first half. McNichols had 104 yards on 17 carries and caught six passes for 77 yards. His 1-yard TD run made it 34-10 with 4:50 left in the third quarter.
Williams-Rhodes took a lateral from Rypien, pulled up and tossed a 53-yard TD strike to Sperbeck for the game’s first score. Two plays later, safety Kameron Miles jarred the ball from running back Dalyn Dawkins’ grasp and tackle Tyler Horn recovered it at the Rams 11. That led to Tyler Rausa’s first field goal.
The Rams caught their first big break when a holding call negated Donte Deayon’s 67-yard punt return to the Rams 11. Instead, the Broncos started the drive at their own 12.
It didn’t matter. Boise State needed just four plays to score.
McNichols sped through a huge hole for a career-long 56-yard TD that made it 17-0 before the Rams had their initial first down.
The Rams finally figured out to slow down the Broncos — by playing keep-away. Behind freshman quarterback Coleman Key, who split snaps with Nick Stevens, they went on a 16-play, 75-yard drive that ate up nearly eight minutes. Key capped the drive with a 13-yard TD pass to Joe Hansley on the first play of the second quarter.
Fresh from all that time on the sideline, however, Rypien found Sperbeck free over the middle for an 85-yard TD that made it 24-7. That came one play after a holding call negated a 20-yard run by McNichols.
The quick-strike ability of Boise State came in handy again when the Broncos got the ball back at their 33 with just 33 seconds left before halftime. Thanks to Rypien’s 35-yard pass to Chaz Anderson, they got in range for Rausa’s 35-yard field goal as time expired.
The Broncos had another scary moment when Deayon stayed down holding his right knee just before halftime when a teammate inadvertently knocked a Colorado State defender into him as he was about to fair catch a punt. Deayon, who leads the Broncos with four interceptions, wasn’t seriously hurt, however, and returned after halftime.