Who to look out for as the Cougars take on Boise State in Boise, Idaho on Sept. 10

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Opponent Outlook: WSU vs. Boise State

Coach/record: Bryan Harsin (22-6 at Boise State – three seasons)

Record: 1-0

Early line: Boise State favored by 12 points

Star Players:

QB Brett Rypien’s last name is familiar to any Cougars fan. Rypien, a Spokane native, is the nephew of WSU quarterbacking great Mark Rypien. He started for Boise State as a freshman, and went on to earn All-Mountain West first team honors, while also being named the conference’s freshman of the year. This season, Rypien appears to have picked up right where he left off, going 22-of-33 for 347 passing yards and two touchdowns in the Broncos’ season opening win over Louisiana-Lafayette.

WR Cedric Wilson transferred to Boise State from Coffeyville (Kans.) Community College this year and has made an immediate impact. Wilson exploded against the Ragin’ Cajuns, catching seven passes for 113 yards and a touchdown in his Broncos debut.

RB Jeremy McNichols started 12 games and scored 26 total touchdowns in 2015 – second nationally. He led Boise State in scoring against Lousiana-Lafayette, pulling in one touchdown reception while running for two more scores. He has now scored rushing touchdowns in 13 straight games – a Mountain West record. At 5-foot-9, 212 pounds, McNichols is built solidly enough to run through defenders and be the Broncos workhorse back. Look out for him on kickoff returns too.

SLB Tanner Vallejo is one of the better linebackers in the country and a dependable fourth year starter for the Broncos who finished his junior season third on the defense with 57 total tackles. He led the team with nine solo tackles against Louisiana-Lafayette and provides a stable force for Boise State in the middle of their defense.

WLB Ben Weaver is the emotional leader of the Boise State defense. He’s the most experienced player on Boise State’s roster, leading the way with 31 career starts. Weaver had a team-high 68 tackles last year, and also contributed three interceptions. He had seven tackles against Louisiana-Lafayette.

By the numbers:

8 – Number of true freshmen who made their debuts for Boise State against Louisana-Lafayette, an indicator that Harsin is still very much in program building mode.

18 – Number of consecutive winning seasons Boise State has had, good for second nationally behind Virginia Tech (22).