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SCOTT SLANT: Coach of the Year No. 1 vs. No. 2 on Saturday

Thursday, December 5, 2019.

There were only two Boise State players on the All-Mountain West first-team offense, and only two on the first-team defense. Let’s start there in making a case for why Bryan Harsin should have been conference Coach of the Year over Hawaii’s Nick Rolovich. The offensive guys were tackle Ezra Cleveland and guard John Molchon. Not a single skill player, yet the Broncos led the league in scoring and were second in total offense (and, oh by the way, went 8-0 in conference). The defensive first-teamers were Curtis Weaver and Kekaula Kaniho. It seems like Harsin never gets the award because other coaches figure he’s “supposed to win.” Well, he’s only “supposed to win” because of his program’s sustained success year after year. Harsin and his staff recruit the best players, and they were forced to use of a lot of ‘em this season.

Not that there was an anti-Boise State conspiracy, as Weaver was named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, Avery Williams was Special Teams Player of the Year, and George Holani was Freshman of the Year. Weaver, as the conference’s season and career leader in sacks, was a pretty easy choice. But there was competition for Williams’ and Holani’s awards. Back to gripes: John Hightower, a second-teamer, should have been a first-team All-MW wide receiver. Hightower didn’t have the receptions the other guys had, but he had the most yards-per-catch and put up demoralizing big plays against almost every team in the league. Khalil Shakir was a victim of numbers, too. Despite being a feared playmaker, Shakir was only honorable mention.


Boise State was down to not only its third-team quarterback again last week (although he’s now first-team), the Broncos went three-deep to find a starter at safety as well. And it may happen in the title game Saturday versus Hawaii. Tyreque Jones filled in for the injured Jordan Happle, who had been filling in for the injured DeAndre Pierce. The Colorado State game was vindication for Jones, who had taken some heat for the trick plays that did the Broncos in at BYU. His first-quarter pick altered the flow of the game. “That was a huge interception,” said Harsin. “He’s worked so hard to make that happen. You don’t see all the hours he’s put in after practice catching balls.” Another unsung stepper-upper: linebacker Benton Wickersham, who’s been filling in since Zeke Noa was injured back on September 20.


Boise State athletic director Curt Apsey spoke out about Wednesday about the new College Football Playoff rankings. The gist of it: “I think there’s a lack of respect for the conference we’re in right now,” as the Broncos are No. 19 in the rankings, just one spot ahead of a two-loss Cincinnati. Apsey and Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said the problem they have is not with the Bearcats, but with No. 17 Memphis. Interesting tactic. I still think Cincy is a big issue. Apsey noted that Boise State doesn’t go around tooting its own horn all the time and prefers to “do its talking on the field.” Alas, Caves & Prater asked Dr. Jerry Palm on IST if American commissioner Mike Aresco’s incessant lobbying helps his conference. “I don’ t think it matters to the committee,” said Palm. “Politicking doesn’t matter to them.


One of the phrases of the week is “a mutual separation.” That’s what coach Mike Bobo’s arrangement is described as at Colorado State, as he is out in Fort Collins. Brett McMurphy of Stadium tweeted that CSU’s buyout “was negotiated down from $5.5 million to $1.82 million.” That’s a precipitous drop. Bobo went 7-6 in each of his first three seasons, and fans felt the Rams were in a rut. Then he was 3-9 last season and 4-8 this season. Bobo was also winless in three bowl games, the last one being the wild 61-50 loss to Idaho in the 2016 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Bobo follows UNLV’s Tony Sanchez and New Mexico’s Bob Davie out the Mountain West door.


Now that Chris Petersen has stepped down at Washington, let’s check one branch of the his coaching tree. Montana State has a heavy Boise State flavor on its staff as the 9-3 Bobcats host Albany Saturday in the second round of the FCS Playoffs. Petersen’s former special teams and running backs coach with the Broncos, Jeff Choate, is in his fourth season and is 26-21 in Bozeman. Choate is also coming off a 48-14 rout of bitter rival Montana. On his MSU staff are three former Boise State stars who played for Petersen: offensive coordinator Matt Miller, defensive line coach Byron Hout and tight ends coach Nate Potter. Four Big Sky teams—Montana, Sacramento State and Weber State are the others—made the FCS Playoffs this year, and all four received first-round byes.


You could say Wednesday night’s Boise State game at New Mexico was a throwback to last season’s close-game woes. But that would be unfair to the Broncos, whose gutty effort fell short in an 80-78 loss to the Lobos. UNM’s elite inside game tore up Boise State, but the Broncos bombed away from the outside from the get-go, nailing 14 three-pointers. Six of them came from Justinian Jessup, who led the team with 24 points. If you ask Boise State coach Leon Rice, the difference in the game were two crucial late misses on the front end of one-and-ones. Rice came back to that three times on the KBOI postgame show. Derrick Alston had one of them with 2½ minutes left, and Alex Hobbs had the other with 1½ remaining. The last five meetings between the Broncos and Lobos have been decided by a total of 12 points.


Things were not looking good for the Boise State women against New Mexico Wednesday night in ExtraMile Arena. The game was in overtime, and the Broncos had not scored in the extra period and were trailing by five points with under a minute left. Then came one three-pointer by Riley Lupfer with 56 remaining and another from Mallory McGwire with 11 ticks on the clock, and Boise State took down the Lobos 83-82. McGwire was tremendous for the Broncos, scoring 21 points and pulling down 17 rebounds. Hard to call anything pivotal in the first week of December, but that was a big, big Mountain West win.


Allen buried the Idaho Steelheads with four first-period goals Wednesday night in CenturyLink Arena, and there was no recovering from it. The Americans outskated the Steelheads 6-4, continuing the Steelies’ current struggles. Brett Supinski scored two goals for Idaho. And the Boise State women’s volleyball team opens play tonight in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship in Laramie. The 18-11 Broncos’ first-round opponent is Weber State of the Big Sky, which finished the regular season 24-8. This marks the third time in the last four years that Boise State has reached the postseason.

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December 5, 1974: The NFL awards a franchise to Seattle for the future Seahawks. The price tag was $16 million for a group led by Lloyd W. Nordstrom. The Seahawks would debut in the Kingdome August 1, 1976, with an exhibition game against the San Francisco 49ers. Inspired by the skills of new players such as Jim Zorn and Steve Largent, no one seemed to care much that the team lost its first five regular season games. Seattle was an NFL city at last.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)

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SCOTT SLANT: Bronco Nation’s assignment

Wednesday, December 4, 2019.

There seems to be good buzz for the Boise State-Hawaii Mountain West championship game, but we won’t know for sure until the turnstiles turn Saturday afternoon. The challenge, of course, is that the home team has to sell every seat in the stadium from scratch—there’s no season ticket base built in for the postseason. The result in the three previous title games on the blue turf has been crowds in the mid-20,000’s, averaging 24,759. To be sure, the fans who have attended were there for a reason and were uncommonly loud. A simple goal for Bronco Nation this time would be to top the biggest throng of the three games: 26,101 in 2014. Attendance has been good this year, with a Mountain West-best average of 33,488 per game. Hopefully that’s a good omen.

Weather is always a factor in December, and it was last year with the rain turning to snow and temperatures just above freezing. The first two championship games in Albertsons Stadium kicked off with temperatures over 40 and partly cloudy skies, more than acceptable. Saturday’s forecast ain’t bad at all—temps in the mid-40’s, albeit with a chance of showers. That might not sound so appetizing to Hawaii, but that’s the way it goes. When the Broncos and Rainbow Warriors played in mid-October, it was ideal football weather, 53 degrees and dry with no wind. And a record 36,902 fans showed up.


None of this matters should Boise State not beat Hawaii, but here we are in the first week of December and still deciphering the College Football Playoff rankings. And behind No. 17 Memphis are No. 19 Boise State and No. 20 Cincinnati on the new list released Tuesday night. If both the Broncos and Bearcats win Saturday, would the committee bump a two-loss Cincy ahead of a one-loss Boise State and create a firestorm? It’s very possible. The Bearcats’ only losses are to ranked teams, Ohio State and Memphis (although the one to the Buckeyes was 42-0), and they’d have a win over a ranked Tigers team in the American conference title game. Brace yourself.


Boise State has obviously dipped deep into its bullpen at quarterback this year, with great success. Hawaii has taken it a little more literally, with Cole McDonald and Chevan Cordeiro alternating the roles of starter and closer. McDonald began the season as the entrenched starter but was often relieved by Cordeiro, who finished the game at Boise State in October in a more traditional garbage time assignment. But in other games, UH coach Nick Rolovich hasn’t hesitated to use Cordeiro, and he’s the one who started last Saturday’s win over Army. McDonald entered the game in the second quarter with the score tied after Cordeiro suffered an apparent ankle injury. McDonald promptly threw a touchdown pass on his second snap. Cordeiro was on the sidelines with his ankle wrapped. His status this week isn’t clear.


Anyone who followed Chris Petersen while he was here could not have been surprised by his farewell press conference Tuesday at Washington. “My whole plan is to get rested, to get recharged, and get redirected,” Petersen said. In other words, he’s certainly not going to USC or the NFL. The only time he drifted into Boise talk was when he was asked if it was harder to coach in a big market when he took the UW job. “In a lot of ways it was easier,” said Petersen. “We loved Boise and being over there. But’s it’s a small place. Everywhere you go, everyone knows about Boise State football and the coach, and that’s really not my style. So when I came over here in this big city and walking around, and there’s about four million people who don’t know that football happens here,” he smiled. “And I loved it.”

After watching the presser, I could see Coach Pete hitting the speakers/webinar/workshop circuit (and doing very, very well). “I’ve been through so many things in this business, that I think I can help other people,” he said. Seriously, imagine the possibilities. “Built For Life,” the mantra that has allowed him to recruit his “OKG’s” (Our Kinda Guys) at Boise State and Washington. He can sell organizational skills, building a winning culture, balancing your life, the whole nine yards. And psssst: he could do it from Boise.


As much as Boise State has struggled from beyond the arc this season, here’s an ominous stat going into tonight’s abnormally-early Mountain West opener—the first one in school history before Christmas—at New Mexico. The Lobos, who are 7-2, are holding opponents to less than 29 percent shooting from three-point land. And get this: New Mexico leads the country in free throw attempts and free throws made. The good news is, the Broncos have generally been able to stay out of foul trouble so far this season, committing 47 fewer fouls than their foes. The Pit can make you crazy, though. Both teams shoot 71 percent from the free throw line (if it comes down to that).


What will the Boise State women take from their rugged non-conference schedule so far? The Broncos will try to apply the positives to their Mountain West opener versus New Mexico tonight in ExtraMile Arena. KTIK’s Chris Lewis, the team’s play-by-play man, had this Twitter take on the Broncos’ 4-4 record: “According to RealTimeRPI, Boise State has played the 30th-ranked Strength of Schedule to this point. The team has been competitive for chunks of the loses to some of the nation’s best. Perhaps BSU isn’t at the level of a top 25 team yet, but don’t let the record deceive you.” The Lobos, picked second behind the Broncos in the MW preseason poll, opened the season with six-straight wins before suffering their first loss last Friday, a 73-60 defeat to then-No. 23 West Virginia in Cancun, Mexico.


The Idaho Steelheads are in the middle of a 12-game homestand, and it continues tonight with the first of a three-game series against the Allen Americans in CenturyLink Arena. After a hot start in October, the Steelheads went 6-7-2 in November and ended it with a pair of frustrating losses to Kansas City last weekend. As hot as Will Merchant has been, forward Marc-Olivier Roy led the Steelies in scoring for November with 13 points (three goals and 10 assists). Roy is now second in the ECHL in assists for the season with 17. As for the Americans, they’re one point behind first-place Rapid City in the ECHL Mountain Division. Idaho is third, five points back.

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December 4, 2012: Paul Petrino is introduced as Idaho’s new head football coach, charged with turning around a Vandal program that had gone 3-21 in the previous two seasons and leading it through the uncertainty of independent status. The Vandals had played their final game in the WAC 10 days earlier and were without a conference home in 2013. They’d end up back in the Sun Belt in 2014 on a four-year trial run. Petrino had been an offensive coordinator at Arkansas and Louisville under both his brother Bobby and former Idaho coach John L. Smith. Petrino was on Smith’s Vandal staff from 1992-94.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)

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Despite History, MW Coach Of The Year A No-Brainer


If you’re a college football coach, there are different ways to approach championship week.

The Nick Rolovich way, with your name in headlines after being accused of assaulting a photographer, and an awkward regular season-ending game against Army.

Or the Bryan Harsin way, with your name in headlines after beating Colorado State on Friday to complete a magical November and a historic conference season.

Awards season starts this week, and the time is now for Harsin to claim Mountain West Coach of the Year. For the first time. Ever.

Rolovich is funnier than Harsin, more personable, and despite last week’s on-field incident for which he’s apologized, he seems to enjoy himself more in a business that’s hardcore serious. Rolovich is a breath of fresh air blowing in from the Pacific, and has done a nice job with a team that was supposed to have a nice season.

Mission accomplished: Nice job Hawaii.

Boise State has played better than nice, and now it has a shot at something big in December because of what Harsin, his staff and players have accomplished since beating Florida State in August.

Coach of the Year isn’t a popularity contest — OK, maybe it is — but the speculation that Rolovich deserves the award over Harsin is ridiculous.

Voting by league coaches and media is due Sunday.

The winner will be announced Wednesday.

On Saturday, the coaches will battle head-to-head for the second time in 57 days when Boise State (11-1) and Hawaii (8-4 heading into the late Army game Saturday) play in the Mountain West Championship game at Albertsons Stadium. Boise State won the regular season meeting in Boise, 59-37 on Oct. 12.

In theory, voting should be done after Saturday’s game, when a league champion is determined. That’s the best criteria, right?

In reality, since we’re playing by league rules, Harsin deserves COY honors now — and a $25,000 bonus — for work that started long before the season began.

The success started in January, when he hired defensive position coach Jeff Schmedding, who was promoted to coordinator in March after Andy Avalos suddenly and shockingly left for Oregon.

Avalos’ departure was a brutal blow for Boise State. He is a beloved former player, and his defense gave up an impressive 22.08 points a game last season.

This year, under Schmedding, the Broncos allow an even-better 21.5 points a game.

Credit Harsin, who made the hire from FCS Eastern Washington.

Harsin and his staff also rebuilt the special teams after last year’s disaster. There have been challenges this season, but the season-long improvement is impressive.

Credit Harsin, who in the offseason demanded that a reboot was a priority.

Boise State started the season with junior Robert Mahone as the starting running back. Today, that spot belongs to true freshman George Holani, who is 88 yards from a 1,000-yard season.

Credit Harsin and his staff for making the transition — benching a returning player for a program newcomer at a critical position.

Boise State started with Hank Bachmeier at quarterback — a gutsy move considering that only three other FBS programs opened with a true freshman behind center.

Bachmeier beat Florida State and is 7-0 as a starter — and injury-prone. Enter Chase Cord, who started two games, and third-stringer Jaylon Henderson, who started the final three games and won all three by a combined score of 129-54.

Credit Harsin and staff for keeping secrets. For teasing us with QB curiosities. And for one of the most impressive juggling jobs in all of college football.

Harsin is 11-1 and used three starting QBs — nobody else in America has done that.

Harsin’s team finished 5-0 in November, joining programs such as Notre Dame and Georgia to accomplish that this season. Since becoming head coach in 2014, Harsin is 20-4 in the most important month of the season, including nine straight wins, proving he can coach when stakes are high.

Boise State has seven come-from-behind wins this season.

Boise State has scored on its last 25 trips in the red zone, including 21 touchdowns.

Mountain West coaches Bob Davie (New Mexico) and Tony Sanchez (UNLV) have lost their jobs, and Mike Bobo (Colorado State) could be next. Washington State coach Mike Leach can’t beat Chris Petersen, then barked at a reporter’s question because he lost to Washington. Again.

So much coaching angst out there.

So much noise.

So many distractions.

And Harsin just quietly goes about his business, staying away from negative headlines, making his team better, winning games and preaching to his players.

He’s relentless in his message: Focus. Awareness. Pay attention.

And it works.

Harsin has his haters because he’s not Petersen, his quarterback isn’t Kellen Moore, and he lost bad home games to New Mexico and Air Force (2015) and Virginia (2017).

Since that Virginia loss, Boise State is 30-5.

Credit Harsin, who has won 22 of his past 24 league games, including all eight this season for the first time in the MW. Rolovich lost three league games this season alone, and gave up 156 points in the process.

For all its success, the Mountain West doesn’t always appreciate Boise State.

The expectations are for Boise State to win everything. And when the Broncos succeed, it’s normal, routine, and somebody else wins awards.

Coaches from Colorado State, San Diego State, Wyoming, Fresno State and Utah State have won COY since Harsin joined the league.

In 2014, Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson won Offensive Player of the Year over Boise State running back Jay Ajayi. Seriously.

It wouldn’t be shocking if Rolovich won the award Wednesday.

It would be shocking if Harsin lost the game Saturday.

The man deserves the award now because he’s been the smartest and best coach in the Mountain West for the entire calendar year.

By the way, here’s a question for Mr. Secret Smart Guy as Boise State prepares for Saturday’s final game on The Blue: Who’s going to start at quarterback?

Can’t wait to see Harsin’s next move.

Mike Prater is the Idaho Press sports columnist and co-hosts Idaho Sports Talk on KTIK 93.1 FM every Monday-Friday from 3-6 p.m. and Bronco Game Night after every Boise State football game on KTIK and KBOI 670 AM. He can be found on Twitter @MikeFPrater and can be reached at


SCOTT SLANT: Petersen was never going to do this forever

Tuesday, December 3, 2019.

I was not surprised, but still stunned. Does that make sense? Chris Petersen stepped down Monday as head coach at Washington at the end of a 7-5 regular season that was disappointing but not disastrous. But think about Petersen’s Boise State days. All the way through his tenure as offensive coordinator under Dan Hawkins, he would say he wasn’t sure if he ever wanted to be a head coach. When Hawkins left for Colorado, Pete professed to be ready to do it—and did he ever do it, going 92-12 with the Broncos. It looked like burnout finally got him in 2013, and at that time, it was the challenge of a new job in Seattle that refreshed him. Now it’s déjà vu on the burnout meter, and this time he’ll “recharge.”

Petersen will coach the Huskies in their bowl game—and then turn the reins over to his successor, Jimmy Lake, the UW defensive coordinator who was on Pete’s staff at Boise State in 2013-14. Petersen will then assume an advisory role for Huskies athletics. He was 54-26 in his six seasons in Seattle and is 146-38 between Washington and the Broncos. Pete was the fifth-fastest coach in major college football history to reach 100 career victories (it took him 117 games). Petersen led the Huskies to two Pac-12 Championships, three consecutive New Year’s Six bowls and a College Football Playoff appearance in 2016. That in addition to his two Fiesta Bowls, four top-10 finishes in the polls, three WAC championships and one Mountain West title at Boise State.


Only Petersen’s bombshell could overshadow Boise State’s depth chart lightning bolt. That list has been static since September, outside of season-ending injuries. But on Monday, the depth chart was updated, and Jaylon Henderson is the No. 1 quarterback going into the Mountain West championship game against Hawaii this Saturday on the blue turf. I do not subscribe to the theory that something fishy is going on with Hank Bachmeier and Chase Cord. At this point, with the Broncos 3-0 under Henderson, coach Bryan Harsin is simply going with the QB that gives them the best chance to win, and he and the staff are going to roll with Henderson. He has thrown for nine touchdowns against one interception in this stretch, and his teammates have really responded to him.

The title game against Hawaii is a fitting stage for Henderson. His first significant non-garbage time action of his career came in the 59-37 win over the Rainbow Warriors in October, when he threw his only other touchdown pass. It was then that we knew Henderson was not just a kneel-down quarterback, as he went 6-of-10 for 82 yards and the TD in the heat of the battle. That’s the night Bachmeier suffered his hip injury, and after the game there was never a thought that Cord wouldn’t be the replacement while Bachmeier was on the shelf. And that’s the way it went at BYU, the Broncos’ only loss of the season. But when both QBs were unavailable for the New Mexico game, the story of the 2019 season turned in a way no one could have predicted.


The aforementioned depth chart, interestingly enough, reads the same way as it did for the Florida State game at running back: Robert Mahone, Andrew Van Buren and George Holani, in that order. Seems like Boise State could have easily moved Holani to the top, as he is established now as the Broncos’ feature back. Holani had 18 carries at Colorado State, Van Buren two—including a key 15-yarder that set up a touchdown—and Mahone zero (although he did play).


There’s no championship or all-conference honors to play for, and there’s no realistic shot at a New Year’s Six bowl. But BYU has ESPN and will now pair up with the network for seven more years. Brett McMurphy of Stadium tweeted last night that the Cougars and ESPN have agreed on a deal thru 2026 season to televise BYU’s home football games. The deal also will guarantee the Cougars a contracted bowl game each year when bowl-eligible. The fact remains: the Cougars will have to be really, really good to appear in a bowl game that anyone watches. Pride rules, though. BYU will never return to the Mountain West.


Former Boise State star Brett Rypien, who was released by Denver Saturday when fellow rookie quarterback Drew Lock was activated, has cleared waivers and appears to be headed back to the Broncos’ practice squad. Mike Klis of KUSA-TV tweeted Monday afternoon that Rypien was “heading into Broncos headquarters to sign back with practice squad.” The undrafted free agent was promoted to the active roster a month ago and backed up Brandon Allen for three games in November but didn’t take a snap. Lock started his first game on Sunday and led Denver to a 23-20 win over the L.A. Chargers.


You can thank a massive contractor’s convention in Las Vegas next March for Boise State’s two absurdly-early Mountain West games this week. The resulting logjam in hotel rooms and jacked-up room rates in Vegas has forced the Mountain West Tournament to move up a week, hence this “week on an island.” Boise State is, ahem, fortunate enough to play its first conference game Wednesday night in The Pit at New Mexico. I guess we should check the Lobos’ record so far. They’re 7-2, with a 25-point loss to Auburn that they followed with a nine-point win over Wisconsin last week at the Legends Classic in New York. Last time out, UNM held off Montana 72-63 Sunday in Albuquerque.


Last time at The Pit? It was the second-to-last game of the regular season last March, and it was one of those legendary losses—the ninth of the season by one point or in overtime against one win as Boise State fell 73-72. It was a little different than the others, though. The Broncos had trailed New Mexico by 12 points at halftime before clawing their way back into it. They had two leads in the final 2½ minutes. Then, as happened so many times last season, Boise State couldn’t get the stop it needed. The Broncos allowed two offensive rebounds in the final 35 seconds. And because of miscommunication, they didn’t even get a shot off on the last possession of the game. This season, Boise State is already 2-0 in overtime games.

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December 3, 1994, 25 years ago today: In a driving rainstorm at Bronco Stadium, Boise State outlasts Appalachian State and future Dallas Cowboys linebacker Dexter Coakley, 17-14, in the second round of the Division I-AA playoffs. Two Tony Hilde-to-Ryan Ikebe touchdown passes and a Greg Erickson field goal got it done offensively, and the defense did the rest for the Broncos, who notched their 12th win of the season on their way to the Division I-AA national championship game.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)

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SCOTT SLANT: More important than 8-0

Monday, December 2, 2019.

Colorado State players billed their season finale Friday against Boise State as their Super Bowl, and the Rams played like it for the most part. For the Broncos, the 31-24 win was the latest edition of “Getting Everybody’s Best Shot,” and the latest example of surviving it. They did it despite being outgained 379 yards to 344 and in yards-per-play 6.3 to 4.7. But man were there some monster plays made. And there was a raucous celebration in the locker room as this team became Boise State’s first ever to go undefeated in Mountain West play. As sweet as that is to the Broncos, there’s that sour taste remaining from the 2018 Mountain West championship game loss to Fresno State. The 8-0 record is an accomplishment, but a ring is the grand prize. Hawaii is waiting on the other side.


Where would Boise State be without those two interceptions Friday at Colorado State? The Broncos weren’t exactly stopping the Rams offense cold, and those plays by Tyreque Jones and Curtis Weaver were as big as any. They turned into 10 points, no small factor in a seven-point game (do ya think?). There’s “interception irony” after the Broncos managed just five interceptions in the first 10 games this season, scoring 14 points off of them. In the last two games, there have been four picks, one for a touchdown, cashed in for 17 points in all. And there’s this: the Broncos finally have more interceptions than last year. (Not more points off of them, though—they tunred into 42 points last season).


You could argue that it was the most clutch performance of Khalil Shakir’s young career. Shakir had seven catches for 103 yards, and two of them in the fourth quarter stand out in particular. There was the incredible go-up-and-get-it grab in traffic, covering 35 yards and setting up Boise State’s final touchdown. And then there was the game-clincher with a minute and a half left, as Shakir cradled a nine-yard reception on a third-and-six, allowing the Broncos to run out the clock. And you can’t let that game go without mentioning another defensive jewel: David Moa made the long-awaited first sack of his senior season. It came with just over two minutes left, and it was Boise State’s only sack of the day, forcing CSU into an excruciating decision to punt.


Colorado State made up its mind to stop the run and make Jaylon Henderson beat them through the air. Henderson did just fine. It affected George Holani, though, as he had just 42 yards on 18 carries Friday. But he did break his first record as a Bronco. Holani now has 912 yards rushing this year, the most ever in a season for a true freshman. He eclipsed the standard of 877 yards set in 1977 by Cedric Minter, who ultimately became Boise State’s career rushing leader (and is to this day). For comparison’s sake, the best number by a Bronco true freshman in the 21st century had been 346 yards by D.J. Harper in 2007.


Bryan Harsin has posted 11 or more wins in three of his six seasons at Boise State, including this one. Might that be attractive to another program? But of course. Missouri fired coach Barry Odom Saturday, and Harsin is prominent in speculation on Odom’s successor. Harsin has at least been in the general SEC neighborhood before, coaching one season at Arkansas State and serving as offensive coordinator at Texas in the Big 12 for two seasons. Certainly the Tigers admire his recruiting acumen, but NCAA sanctions handed down earlier this year would be a hindrance out of the gate, including a five-percent decrease in scholarships and a seven-week ban on recruiting communication and all off-campus recruiting contacts, plus a 12.5 percent decrease in official visits. Would the money be worth it?


College of Idaho could taste the NAIA Playoffs semifinals, but the Coyotes got into a defensive slugfest with Grand View of Iowa Saturday and saw their season end with a 14-6 loss. The Yotes outgained the Vikings 319 yards to 256 for the game, but a short punt and an interception in the second quarter led to Grand View’s two touchdowns, and that was it. The loss put the capper on a Yotes season that will never be forgotten: 11-1, the best in school history, a 17-game winning streak that stretched over two seasons, a first Frontier Conference championship and an NAIA Playoffs victory. And there’s at least one player who will never be forgotten, quarterback Darius-James Peterson, who leaves with a bushel of school records.


Boise State men’s hoops, sobered by the losses to Oregon and UC Irvine, is getting its legs. The Broncos broke open a close game against UNC Wilmington Friday night in ExtraMile Arena and won going away 80-59 in Leon Rice’s 300th game as head coach. The Seahawks had pulled to within a point early in the second half before the Broncos went on a 28-9 run, with Derrick Alston scoring or assisting on 15 of the first 19 points during the explosion. Alston topped 20 again, putting up 24, while RJ Williams was a force inside, scoring 21 points on 9-for-11 shooting. Boise State is as prepped as it’s going to be for the two weird early-December Mountain West Games this week—Wednesday at New Mexico and Saturday against Colorado State.


The Boise State women have played a rugged early-season schedule, and they hope that will give them tough skin for Mountain West play. The Broncos visited TCU Sunday and came away with a 77-65 loss, falling by behind 22-11 at the end of the first quarter and never recovering. Boise State forced 20 Horned Frogs turnovers, but they committed 20 themselves. The Broncos had two players in double-figures, but only barely: Braydey Hodgins and Mallory McGwire scored 11 apiece. Boise State is now 4-4 and faces a tall task Wednesday night versus New Mexico in ExtraMile Arena.


The Idaho Steelheads dropped two of three on home ice against Rapid City over the long Thanksgiving weekend. The losses were particularly frustrating. The Steelheads had a 3-1 lead on the Rush in the third period Friday night and let it slip away, with RC’s Giovanni Fiore scoring the game-winner with one second left in the game. Then on Saturday, the Steelies fell behind 3-0 and lost 4-2 in CenturyLink Arena. The shots-on-goal were mind-boggling. Rapid City put up 13 shots and scored four times—Idaho peppered the Rush with 51 shots and scored twice.

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December 2, 2009, 10 years ago today: The New Jersey Nets fall 117-101 to the Dallas Mavericks and set an NBA record for futility. It was the Nets’ 18th straight loss to start the season. New Jersey, which earlier in the week had fired coach Lawrence Frank, passed the 1988 Miami Heat and 1999 Los Angeles Clippers, who both dropped their first 17 games. The Nets’ infamy had competition that day, though, as reports of Tiger Woods’ various extramarital affairs first hit the headlines.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)

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Which Is Best Regular Season MW Broncos’ Team?


Jeff Caves

The comparison between the 2019 Boise State football team and all the previous Mountain West Conference editions is almost complete. Boise State still has to beat Hawaii to win the MWC and then see where a bowl game will land them. Here is a comparison of great Broncos MWC teams for the conference regular season only. Here are the contenders in order of how I see it for Greatest MWC teams and their record in the conference:



2011 6-1

Coach Pete

BCS Rating before Bowl Game: #7

Conference Schedule: TCU was the toughest opponent and that game was at Bronco Stadium. They were not ranked at the time they beat Boise State 36-35 but won the MWC that season with a 7-0 record. Boise State destroyed most of the rest of the teams with 21 point wins or better. No teams were ranked in the Top 25 when they played Boise State. Air Force came the closest losing 37-26 and made it a 1 possession game late. 

Championship Game: None existed

Bowl Game: beat unranked Arizona State in Vegas Bowl 56-24

Key Players: Kellen Moore, Doug Martin, Shea McClellin, Tyrone Crawford, George IIoka, Billy Winn, Nate Potter, Jamar Taylor, Matt Miller, Charles Leno, Chase Baker, and Tyler Shoemaker.



2017 7-1


Cfp Rating before MWC Championship Game: Not rated

Conference Schedule: A win on the road vs #19 San Diego State was the biggest moment for Boise State. The Leighton Vander Esch led defense declared themselves dominant that night in a 31-14 victory in front of a rare San Deigo St crowd of 49,000. No other MWC team was ranked at the time they played Boise State. The season was marked by the decline and rise of Qb Brett Rypien and the clutch play of running Qb Montell Cozart.  Boise State lost to Fresno State in a meaningless game on the road 28-17 not wanting to show anything for the rematch for the MWC title. The Colorado State road comeback win in OT was a thriller. Boise State had a tight 28-14 home win over New Mexico and the 4th quarter come from behind win over Josh Allen and Wyoming 24-14. They blew out Utah State, Nevada, and Air Force.

Championship Game: Beat Fresno State at home coming back from a 14-10 4th quarter deficit to win 17-14. 

Bowl Game: Beat unranked Oregon 38-28 in Vegas Bowl. 

Key Players: Leighton Vander Esch, Brett Rypien, Ced Wilson, Curtis Weaver, Tyler Horton, Mason Hampton, David Moa, Alexander Mattison, Jake Roh



2019 8-0


Cfp Rating before MWC Championship Game😕 At least #19

Conference Schedule: Boise St. faced no ranked opponents this season. The biggest wins were a close 30-19 win at home vs Air Force and blow out wins vs Hawaii at home 59-37 and on the road vs Utah State 56-21. A 4th quarter comeback win on the road vs San Jose St, an OT win at home vs Wyoming and 31-24 road win over Colorado St were all back and forth testy. New Mexico was terrible and a 42-9 victory as was UNLV bad and another huge 25 point victory. 

Championship Game: vs unranked Hawaii at home

Bowl Game: Cotton, Vegas or?

Key Players: Curtis Weaver, Khalil Shakir, Jaylon Henderson, Hank Bachmeier, George Holani, David Moa, Ezra Cleveland, Sonatane Lui 



2014 7-1


Cfp Rating Before MWC Championship Game: #22

Conference Schedule: Air Force was the lone loss that season, 28-14, on the road. The Falcons lost 3x in the MWC that season. BAD LOSS. No teams in the MWC were ranked when they played Boise State.  Boise State had to come from behind in the 4th quarter to beat New Mexico on the road and San Diego State at home. They were tied going into the 4th with Fresno State and won a wild win-or-lose-the-conference game at Nevada 51-46. They blew out Utah State, Wyoming and pretty much Colorado State. 

Championship Game: Beat Fresno State at home holding onto a 28-7 4th quarter lead to win 28-14.  

Bowl Game: Beat #12 Arizona in Fiesta Bowl

Key Players: Jay Ajayi, Grant Hedrick, Thomas Sperbeck, Matt Miller, Marcus Henry, Kamalei Correa, Tanner Vallejo, and Darian Thompson. 



2012 7-1

Coach Pete

BCS Rating before MWC Championship Game:#19

Conference Schedule: Boise St faced no ranked opponents. They lost at home to San Diego St 21-19. They had a close win on the road 32-29 over New Mexico and at end of the season at Nevada 27-21. They dominated CSU, Wyo, Fresno, UNLV, and Hawaii by an average of 32 points. 

Championship Game: None existed

Bowl Game: Vegas Bowl beat unranked Washington 28-26

Key Players: Joe Southwick, Joe Kellog, JC Percy, DJ Harper, Demarcus Lawrence, Charles Leno, Matt Miller, Matt Paradis, Chris Potter, Jamar Taylor

There is no arguing that the 2019 team did what no MWC Boise State team did before them by going undefeated. The strength of the MWC has improved in my opinion since 2012 and the conference championship game has added something that the 2011-12 teams did not have to play.  The divisional format has increased the intensity of games as teams fight for divisional titles. The fact is though that only the 2017 team faced a ranked opponent. The 2011 and 2012 teams each had a loss but blew out the rest of the Mountain West teams for the most part. Harsin’s teams hammered 3 teams each season and lost or had tight games with the other 5. The 2011 team easily had the most impressive roster of key players and the highest BCS/Cfp ranking. I see Rypien/Cozart as a more effective tandem than the 3 headed monsters at QB that Boise State has developed in 2019 and more accomplished players. The 2017 loss to Fresno was half-hearted. Boise State should beat an unranked, freezing Hawaii to move their MWC record to a perfect 9-0. BUT, I think the 2011 and 2017 teams would beat them. Your turn. 


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BSU vs Colorado St



FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Boise State quarterback Jaylon Henderson won his third straight game by producing three touchdowns, and the 20th-ranked Broncos defeated Colorado State 31-24 on Friday afternoon to clinch the first 8-0 Mountain West season in program history.

The Broncos, who scored on their first four possessions, and won from behind for the seventh time this season, complete their regular season 11-1.

Henderson, the senior transfer who started the season third on the depth chart, tossed TD passes to CT Thomas (5 yards) and Garrett Collingham (3). Henderson added a 1-yard TD run in the fourth. He is 57-of-92 for 732 yards, with eight TDs, one interception and 103 rushing yards gained (one rushing TD) in wins over New Mexico, Utah State and Colorado State. The Broncos have outscored opponents 129-54 during that span.

Collingham also had a 2-yard scoring run, Curtis Weaver and Tyreque Jones had interceptions, and defensive tackle David Moa had a late sack to help seal the victory.

Colorado State outgained Boise State 379-344, but fell to 0-9 all-time against the Broncos.

NOTES: Boise State beat Hawaii 59-37 on Oct. 12 in Boise; Hawaii hosts Army on Saturday night before heading to Boise for the MW title game. … Boise State has posted 11 or more wins in two of the last three seasons, and three times under coach Bryan Harsin. The Broncos have won at least 11 games in eight of the last 12 years and 12 of the last 18. … The Broncos closed the regular season with two consecutive road victories for the first time since 1968. They won five games in November for the first time since 2008. …  Boise State committed zero turnover in back-to-back games for the first time this season. … The Broncos recorded multiple interceptions in a game for the first time this year. … Boise State scored a touchdown on each of its four trips into the red zone. The Broncos have scored on their last 25 red-zone opportunities (21 TD, 4 FG). … Freshman JL Skinner made his first career start at nickel/linebacker. … The Broncos scored a touchdown on their opening drive for the fourth straight week and eighth time this season. … With senior Eric Sachse’s 39-yard field goal with 18 seconds left in the first half, Boise State has scored in the final minute of 10 straight road games. … Sophomore wide receiver Khalil Shakir caught seven passes for 103 yards, his second 100-yard receiving game of the
season and his career.



SCOTT SLANT: Jaylon Henderson’s X-Factor

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019.

What is making the Boise State offense click with a third-team quarterback calling signals? Coach Bryan Harsin noted something about Jaylon Henderson at his Monday press conference that tells us a lot. “You see him out there—he’s got a really good vibe, and its contagious,” said Harsin. That’s the answer. His vibe. The Broncos are gravitating to it. It’s more than just leadership. Henderson has become a happening among his teammates. Not all is perfect, as Henderson has completed less than 56 percent of his throws. But Boise State is finishing drives. For the season, Henderson has seven touchdown passes against one interception, and his pass efficiency rating is 156.9. If he had played enough games, that would be tops in the Mountain West.


The chemistry on this Boise State squad has carried it through some trying times this season and has helped it rally from deficits in six of its 10 victories. It was on full display in the fourth quarter of the win at Utah State last Saturday when senior safety Evan Tyler, whose promising career has been turned inside out by ACL injuries, made his first career interception. Tyler was mobbed by teammates, and suddenly there was a mass of humanity parading down the field along the Broncos sideline. How they avoided a celebration penalty, I’ll never know. Harsin was kind of surprised, too. An official came over to him and gave him “the look.” Said Harsin, “I tried to talk him out of throwing a flag, and let (Tyler) enjoy the moment.”


Boise State faces the most feared receiver in the Mountain West on Friday. Colorado State’s Warren Jackson is 6-6, 215 pounds and leads the conference with 115 receiving yards per game. Jackson has 69 catches for 1,035 yards and seven touchdowns, and he can go up and get it. He’s the latest in a long line of star CSU receivers, as Michael Gallup is tearing it up for Dallas right now and Preston Williams was turning in a solid rookie season in Miami until a season-ending knee injury 3½ weeks ago. Rashard Higgins and Bisi Johnson are also in the NFL. So which Bronco gets to defend Jackson in Fort Collins? The natural choice would be Jalen Walker after the big game he had at Utah State. But consider true freshman Markel Reed, who got a lot of prime time snaps in Logan. Both players are 6-feet even.


Cincinnati and Boise State were mirror images for a while, squeezing out narrow conference victories. Things haven’t changed for the Bearcats, who nosed out Temple last Saturday 15-13. But the Broncos have moved into rout mode the past two weeks. Nevertheless, nothing changed in the Group of 5 race Tuesday night in the College Football Playoff rankings. Memphis is still No. 18, Cincinnati is still No. 19, and Boise State is still No. 20. Other Thanksgiving week housekeeping: the Broncos’ Curtis Weaver has been named a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, and to the final watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award. Weaver is currently third in the country in sacks with 13.5 and sixth in tackles-for-loss with 16.5.


It’s hard to gauge what College of Idaho will face when it takes on Grand View of Iowa Saturday in the quarterfinals of the NAIA Playoffs. The Vikings are coming off a 31-30 squeaker over Concordia of Michigan. You’d think weather would be a factor on Thanksgiving weekend in the Midwest, but the forecast for Des Moines Saturday says partly cloudy with a high of 53—a lot like it was at Simplot Stadium last Saturday. As for the Yotes, they’ll be bringing the school’s first-ever conference Offensive Player of the Year—any conference—as quarterback Darius-James Peterson nabbed the Frontier Conference honor Tuesday. Peterson will be the Frontier’s nominee for NAIA Player of the Year. Mike Moroski was also named Coach of the Year, the first such honor at C of I since Sam Vokes in 1953.


Former Rocky Mountain star Nick Romano was one of two first-team All-Big Sky players out of Idaho as the conference unveiled its postseason honors on Tuesday (the other was linebacker Christian Elliss). Romano, a true freshman, made it as a return specialist after finishing second in the Big Sky in kickoff return average at 27.0 yards per runback. Romano’s biggest moment came against Weber State, when he ran back the first kickoff return for a touchdown by a Vandal since 2012. And how about this? With his 154-yard performance last Saturday at Northern Arizona, Romano ended up leading the Vandals in rushing this season with 498 yards.


The malady that plagued Boise State against Oregon, UC Irvine and BYU saw some healing in last Saturday’s triple-overtime win at Pacific. Yes, the Broncos drained some three-pointers, going 11-for-23 from deep against the Tigers. Trend or aberration? Boise State will find out when it hosts UNC Wilmington Friday night in ExtraMile Arena. There’ll be no Northwest homecoming for former Washington State Cougar Carter Skaggs. He was a graduate transfer with UNCW and had played in all seven games this season, but Skaggs left the Seahawks program on Monday. UNC Wilmington is 5-3 after annihilating Division III Emory & Henry 122-66 Tuesday night.


It was a Riley Lupfer kind of night in ExtraMile Arena. Boise State’s senior star tied a career-high with seven three-pointers and netted 23 points in a 76-67 victory over Utah Valley Tuesday night. Just back from Sunday’s 98-82 loss at No. 8 Louisville, the Broncos struggled with the winless Wolverines early. But Lupfer nailed six of her seven treys in the second half, and her teammates busted off an 11-0 third-quarter run that gave Boise State the lead for good. Jayde Christopher threatened triple-double territory with eight points, eight rebounds and 10 assists. The Broncos visit TCU on Sunday.


The last time the Idaho Steelheads saw the Rapid City Rush, they were on the short end of a sweep in South Dakota. The Rush visit CenturyLink Arena for the first time this season tonight to open a three-game series, and the Steelheads hope they can milk some momentum from their own sweep of Kansas City in Boise last weekend. The Steelie in the spotlight right now is Will Merchant, who scored the winning goal in last Saturday night’s overtime thriller against K.C. The 25-year-old forward from Eagen, MN, is in his fourth season with Idaho and leads the team in goals with nine.

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November 27, 2004, 15 years ago today: With six inches of snow having been cleared off the field at Mackay Stadium, and Boise State fans literally outnumbering Nevada fans, the Broncos proceed to pummel the Wolf Pack 58-21 to complete their first undefeated regular season. Jared Zabransky threw for three touchdowns and Boise State scored three more on the ground to set a season rushing TD record with 46, as the Broncos notched their third straight WAC championship.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)

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SCOTT SLANT: The Broncos’ mindset for CSU

Tuesday, November 26, 2019.

There’s a tendency to think that Boise State is now all about the Mountain West championship game December 7 against Hawaii on the blue turf—and may be overlooking its Black Friday date at downtrodden Colorado State. Broncos coach Bryan Harsin would tell you there’s nothing further from the truth. “This team can do something that no team in Boise State history has ever done: they can go undefeated in conference play in the Mountain West for the first time,” Harsin reminded the media at his Monday press conference. “I guarantee that senior class, when they hear they can do something that’s never been done—they’re fired up.” The Broncos are 7-0 with one to go. Also, said Harsin, “We’re back on the road. We don’t underestimate that.”


Harsin also says the squad is acutely aware of the 2017 game in Fort Collins, when Boise State had to dig out of a 25-point hole to beat the Rams in overtime. The Broncos had a pretty good team two years ago. Heck, they went 11-3 and roughed up Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl. But on Veterans Day that season, they endured a punch-in-the-mouth drive and fell behind Colorado State 7-0. Then came a second one, and a third one, and a fourth one, and a fifth one. The Rams were having their way, racking up 335 first-half yards. Boise State clawed its way back into the game, but found itself trailing 52-38 with three minutes left. Then, two Brett Rypien touchdown passes sandwiched around a stunning onside kick recovery by Cedrick Wilson allowed for a 59-52 win in OT.


Harsin could not ladel enough props on the Boise State offensive line Monday after its performance in the rout of Utah State. “I did think they played the best they have the entire season,” said Harsin. “The tight ends were part of that in the run game.” Jake Stetz started in place of the injured Eric Quevedo at right guard and was solid. On George Holani’s second touchdown of the night, Stetz pancaked one Aggies defender and was looking for someone else to block as Holani crossed the goal line next to him. And there was Ezra Cleveland’s fly sweep that almost resulted in a touchdown. The O-line—and the Broncos in general—seemed intent on enjoying the pressure and the moment.


Harsin identified what he feels was the turning point of the game early in the first quarter. It was Jalen Walker’s pick-six. Utah State and Jordan Love decided to go after Walker, and what they got was three pass deflections off the bat, and a play that Harsin pointed out is hard for a quarterback to overcome. “That play changed a lot of things,” he said. The popular vote, though, probably goes to Kekaula Kaniho, who went viral with his chip block that took out three Aggies on Avery Williams’ 74-yard punt return for a touchdown. It was like a bowling ball clearing out pins for a spare.


UNLV’s Tony Sanchez and New Mexico’s Bob Davie are the first Mountain West coaching casualties of the 2019 season. Sanchez was fired by the Rebels on Monday—he will be able to coach the team Saturday in the Battle for the Fremont Cannon this Saturday at Nevada. Sanchez is completing his fifth year at UNLV—he’s currently 19-40 and has never had a winning season nor made it to a bowl game. Davie reportedly has reached an agreement with the Lobos to step down after Saturday’s finale against Utah State. Davie has gone 35-63 in eight seasons. New Mexico peaked at 9-4 in 2016 but is 8-27 since. Attendance in Albuquerque is down to 16,574 per game, and media reports said there may have actually been 5,000 at best in the stands for last week’s loss to Air Force.


What would Jerry Jones do with Kellen Moore if he fires head coach Jason Garrett? It depends if Jones meant to lump Moore into his scathing assessment of Dallas Cowboys football after Sunday’s 13-9 loss to New England. “This is very frustrating,” Jones said. “It’s frustrating just to be reminded that some of the fundamentals of football and coaching were what beat us out there today. With the makeup of this team, I shouldn’t be this frustrated.” The Cowboys had 321 yards of offense against the Patriots. Meanwhile, nothing new on the uncertainty of Leighton Vander Esch’s immediate future. It’s been five weeks now since the former Boise State great suffered a neck stinger against Philadelphia. The theory is that he aggravated a neck problem that dates back to his sophomore year with the Broncos.


The Ryan Finley experiment is over for now in Cincinnati, as the woeful 0-11 Bengals will go back to Andy Dalton at quarterback this week versus the New York Jets. Finley, the one-time Boise State QB, had started the last three games for the Bengals, completing only 47 percent of his throws for 474 yards and five total turnovers. Finley’s former Boise State teammate, Brett Rypien, may be headed back to Denver’s practice squad (if that’s where the Broncos want to put him). Second-round pick Drew Lock is ready to be activated, and Denver may go as far as starting him this week against the L.A. Chargers. Rypien, who has been the Broncos’ No. 2 quarterback the past three weeks, was kept on the bench Sunday even as Brandon Allen went just 10-of-25 for 82 yards at Buffalo.


All the way through the first five years of College of Idaho’s football revival, there was a lot of “first time since.” In 2019, there’s been a lot of “first time ever,” and it continues. First time to 11 wins, first time in the NAIA Playoffs, first home game in said playoffs and first win. First Frontier Conference championship, and the first C of I team to build a 17-game winning streak. In their first venture into the playoffs’ second round, the Coyotes travel to meet similarly undefeated Grand View University Saturday in Des Moines, IA. Up north, Idaho quarterback Mason Petrino has been named the STATS FCS National Offensive Player of the Week after amassing 556 yards of total offense in his last go-round as a Vandal, the 60-53 overtime win at Northern Arizona. It was the highest total offense output by an FCS player this season.


The Boise State women’s and men’s cross country teams both turned in top 25 seasons in 2019. The Broncos women were 17th and the men 21st at the NCAA Championships Saturday in Terre Haute, IN. Congratulations to the College of Idaho men’s and women’s cross country teams. With a second-place finish by the women and a fifth-place finish by the men, the Coyotes claimed the NAIA Cross Country combined national title last Friday at Fort Vancouver, WA. And the Northwest Nazarene women finished 16th Saturday at the NCAA Division II Championships in Sacramento. One more thing: the Boise State women’s basketball team is back home tonight against Utah Valley in ExtraMile Arena. The 3-3 Broncos should get back on track after two consecutive losses—the Wolverines are 0-4.

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November 26, 2016: Pittsburgh and Syracuse produce the highest-scoring game in major college football history as the Panthers win 76-61 at Heinz Field. The total of 147 points eclipsed the 74-62 win by Navy over North Texas in 2007. Pitt and the Orange combined for 20 touchdowns in the donnybrook. For the Panthers, the 76 points were more than they had scored in any of their three men’s basketball games against Syracuse the previous season. The highest-scoring overtime game in FBS history remains Boise State’s 69-67 quadruple-OT triumph over Nevada in 2007.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)

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SCOTT SLANT: The complete game materializes

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Monday, November 25, 2019.

You figured something was up the first play of the game, when George Holani scampered 35 yards into Utah State territory. On a night that it needed to put everything together, Boise State did, looking like the team everybody knew it could be in its 56-21 rout of Utah State in Logan. It didn’t matter who did or didn’t start at quarterback—Jaylon Henderson was solid once again. And the offensive line turned in unquestionably it’s best game of the year. It did matter that Curtis Weaver started on defense, and that unit was big-time inspired. Before pulling their starters near the end of the third quarter, the Broncos had held Jordan Love to 180 yards passing and the Aggies to 222 yards overall. There was never a doubt about the location of the Mountain West championship game once the ball was kicked off.


No way Boise State was going to have an 11th straight season with a 1,000-yard rusher, right? Well don’t look now, but Holani is in position to extend the nation’s longest such streak. With his 178 yards at Utah State (on just 16 carries), Holani now has 870 yards for the season, just 130 short of the magic number. He now has three games to do it—and needs to average 44 yards a game. Holani has taken over the feature running back spot the last five games, rushing for 501 yards, 6.1 per carry, and six touchdowns. As a team, the Broncos rushed for 297 yards at USU. Ironically, they were at 301 before losing four yards on two kneel-downs at the end of the game.


There is one streak we know is continuing. Boise State improved to 10-1 with its romp at Utah State. This is the fourth straight 10-win season for the newly-crowned Mountain Division champions. Let’s put it in perspective. The Broncos are in their 52nd year as a four-year program, and they’ve had winning seasons in 46 of them. And there have been 10-win seasons in 25 of them. Almost half. Boise State has recorded 17 10-win seasons in the last 21 years. There have been eight in each of the last two decades.


There was a little nugget that has long been hidden in information for the 2019 Mountain West championship game, and now that we know it’s going to be in Albertsons Stadium a week from Saturday, it becomes relevant. It’s an afternoon game! Yes, the matchup against Hawaii kicks off at 2 p.m. on ESPN. That should be good for a couple thousand ticket sales. The Rainbow Warriors, who lost to Boise State 59-37 last month, got their same-season return trip to the blue turf by outlasting San Diego State Saturday night 14-11. It’s the Broncos’ fourth title game berth in six years—all three of the previous ones have been in Boise, and the opponent all three times was Fresno State. Incidentally, the defending champion Bulldogs won’t so much as go to a bowl game this year after falling to Nevada 35-28 Saturday night.


After seeing the same Frontier Conference teams exclusively this year, College of Idaho had a lot of fun playing somebody else Saturday. In their first NAIA Playoff game in history, the Coyotes blew out Ottawa University of Arizona 70-23 at Simplot Stadium, their 17th win in a row and 11th this season. Where do we begin with the superlatives? The Yotes scored their most points in 94 years by putting up 42 unanswered after the Spirit had pulled within 28-23 in the second quarter. Darius-James Peterson threw four first-half touchdown passes and rushed for 138 yards en route to becoming C of I’s career rushing leader. Now the Yotes, ranked sixth in the NAIA, go on the road this Saturday to take on the nation’s fourth-ranked team, Grand View of Iowa, which is 12-0.


The occasionally-maligned Mason Petrino had one last chance to make an impression on Idaho fans. And did he ever Saturday at Northern Arizona. Petrino put up pinball numbers in the Vandals’ exhausting 60-53 overtime victory in Flagstaff. He was 35-of-42 for 491 yards and tied a school record with six touchdown passes in the victory. What can you say? James Cotton also tied a school record, a 50-year-old standard, by making 17 catches covering 223 yards with two TDs. And Nick Romano, the true freshman running back out of Rocky Mountain High, rushed for 154 yards and two scores and had four receptions for 98 yards and two more TDs. As a team, Idaho racked up 738 yards of offense. An amazing way to end the season.


You look at the box score, and you wonder how Boise State was even in the game at Pacific Saturday. Derrick Alston went 2-for-12 from the field and scored six points. R.J. Williams went 3-for-9 and scored eight. But Senior Night came a little bit early for the Broncos, as Justinian Jessup, Marcus Dickinson and Alex Hobbs, all fourth-year guys, bailed them out in an 82-76 triple-overtime victory in Stockton. All three were instrumental in extending the game, and Jessup’s three free throws and Dickinson’s monster three-pointer plus two freebies made the difference in the third OT. It was only the third time ever a Boise State game has gone to three overtimes, and it came just three days after the OT win over BYU.


The Boise State women shot 61 percent from the field Sunday against the No. 8 team in the country. Problem is, that Louisville team shot 71 percent in the first half and ran away from the Broncos 98-82. Twenty turnovers didn’t help. The Cardinals led 58-34 at the half. The highlight player for Boise State was senior guard Jayde Christopher, who tied a school record with 14 assists. Braydey Hodgins and Rachel Bowers each scored 16 points for the Broncos.


The Idaho Steelheads needed something good to happen on home ice. Enter the Kansas City Mavericks. The Steelheads swept K.C. over the weekend, dominating the Mavs 4-2 Friday and slipping by them 3-2 in overtime Saturday. Seven different Steelies scored in the two games, with the hero goal coming from Will Merchant 1½ minutes into the OT in the second one. And Troy Merritt left some money on the course Sunday at the RSM Classic in Sea Island, GA. The former Boise State star zoomed up the leaderboard Saturday with a four-under 66 before settling for a tie for 30th with a final round 71. Merritt still earned $43,230.

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November 25, 2016: Air Force becomes the first team in 18 years to beat Boise State in three consecutive seasons when the Falcons hold off the Broncos 27-20. The loss took away Boise State’s shot at the Mountain West championship game. The Broncos led 7-0 when Jeremy McNichols gained 60 yards and a touchdowns on the first two plays from scrimmage. But the star tailback picked up just 22 yards the rest of the way while quarterback Brett Rypien was going 9-for-26. Boise State had a first-and-goal at the Air Force five-yard line in the final minute but could not score the tying touchdown.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)

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Cut Loose And Have FUN


Jeff Caves


Have you ever been told to just go out there and have fun? You know, cut loose and don’t worry about failing. Just focus on how good it feels playing a game. Don’t sweat losing the Mountain West championship, throwing away a New Years Day 6 Bowl and facing a sure fire NFL Qb in Jordan Love. Just tune those twittiots out who think you are the worst 9-1 team that ever played at Boise State. 


Smile. Celebrate. Play recklessly. 


Got it? 


Boise State got it alright. They ran the Statue of Liberty from the Utah State 5 yard line for a TD in the first quarter up 14-7.  Then, Harsin thought it would be fun to put OT Ezra Cleveland at TE and run a reverse with HIM as a running back. The comedic timing was perfect because Boise State was on the Utah State 4 yard line with a 21-7 lead. They scored eventually. 


Just a barrel of laughs these guys I am telling you. 


It was smiles and giggles for CB Jalen Walker too. He jumped a Jordan Love out route and got a pick 6 in the first quarter. Avery Williams zigged and zagged across the field en route to a wild 74 yard punt return for a TD. But, nobody celebrated like DB Evan Tyler did when he picked off a Columbi pass on the Boise State 6 yard line. Tyler intercepted the pass, got tackled after about a 4 yard run and then took off on a Soul Train dance that lasted 90 yards. He wasn’t even flagged for unsportsmanlike behavior or delay of game. Even the refs enjoyed the act. It was that kind of night. 


Maybe that was the secret sauce Boise State lacked. Taking risks and going for it is what put them up 42-7 at the half. The Broncos defense was cutting a rug as well. In the first 2 quarters, they pressured Love, sacked him 2x and got the Walker interception. Love only hit 50% of his passes. The Aggies only gained 46 yards running the ball and punted 4x. They were dominated by a group of smiling happy guys. This new outlook on life will be required when the snow is flying in Fort Collins next Friday. It will be a short week, thanksgiving break will be all the talk and the weather for the 1:30pm game is calling for snow. This team is so much FUN! 

BSU vs Utah St (2)



LOGAN, Utah – The 20th-ranked Boise State football team turned in its most complete performance of the season Saturday night, scoring TDs on seven consecutive times it touched the ball en route to a 56-21 victory at Utah State.

Boise State (10-1, 7-0 Mountain West) clinches the Mountain Division title and will host West Division champion Hawaii (8-4, 5-3) in the MW title game Dec. 7 at Albertsons Stadium (2 p.m., ESPN).

The Broncos, going to the MW title game for the third straight year, close out the regular season at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Colorado State (4-7, 3-4).


Quarterback Jaylon Henderson, making his second straight start, threw for 187 yards and TD passes to John Hightower (30 yards), Khalil Shakir (14) and CT Thomas (15).

Running back George Holani had a career-high 178 yards and two touchdowns, including a 5-yard Statue of Liberty play from Henderson. The true freshman needs 130 yards in the final three games to reach 1,000 for the season (would be the 11th straight year for the Broncos). Robert Mahone had a 1-yard TD run in the second quarter.

The defense held Utah State star quarterback Jordan Love to 229 yards and a TD. Jalen Walker had a Pick-6 (15 yards) and Curtis Weaver added a sack for the Broncos (34th of his career).

Avery Williams had a 74-yard punt return for a TD, his second this season and the fourth of his career.

NOTES: Hawaii clinched the West Division title Saturday night by beating San Diego State 14-11; the Rainbow Warriors host Army on Nov. 30 before traveling to Boise for the MW title game. Boise State will host the title game for the fourth time in its seven-year existence. … The Broncos have won 10+ games in each of the last four seasons, five times in Bryan Harsin’s six seasons, and 17 times in the last 21 years. … Holani rushed for 35 yards on the game’s first play. … Redshirt senior safety Evan Tyler’s interception in the fourth quarter was the first of his career. … Boise State scored a touchdown on each of its five trips into the red zone.. The Broncos have scored on their last 21 red zone opportunities (17 TD, 4 FG).



SCOTT SLANT: Feel badly for Aggies fans?

Friday, November 22, 2019.

This may not go the direction you think. Boise State fans should feel sorry for their Utah State counterparts Saturday night. Why? Because Bronco Nation can relate. It’s USU’s turn to kick it off not at 8:15 p.m. (8:26, wink-wink), but at 8:30 p.m. On November 23. It’s a colder climate than Boise, and the kicker is that the game is on CBS Sports Network. It’s one thing to sacrifice any kind of fan comfort for ESPN and ESPN2 like Boise State did the past two weeks. There is value in that national exposure. But CBS Sports Network’s distribution is miniscule compared to the Worldwide Leader, and the actual viewership pales in comparison. Mountain West football is just programming on a grid, and it’s the go-to source for the late Saturday night window in the East.


It’s likely that Jaylon Henderson will start at quarterback again for Boise State Saturday night, although we don’t know for sure. But we have had a chance to get to know Henderson. If Utah State star QB Jordan Love is unable to start against the Broncos, inquiring minds want to know: Who is Henry Colombi? He’s a 6-2, 205-pound sophomore from Hollywood, FL, who came in when Love exited the Wyoming game last week and went 3-of-6 for 35 yards. Colombi played more last year due to USU blowouts, going 33-of 40 for 239 yards and rushing for 108 yards and a touchdown. This season he’s thrown for 143 yards and two TDs. Colombi hasn’t run much, but he appears to be capable of it.


Everyone knows it’s been an awful year at New Mexico. But there’s no reason to believe Lobos coach Bob Davie wasn’t being earnest in his assessment of Henderson last Saturday. “They played with their third quarterback, but it really didn’t make much difference,” said Davie. “I mean, the first play of the game they come out throwing, he makes a couple throws there in the first half, I mean you didn’t notice much difference, which is a compliment to them. They just kind of keep rolling.” Will the Broncos roll in Logan? Utah State’s defense is good, but not lights-out this year. The Aggies are giving up 251 yards per game through the air and 180 on the ground—not terrible. But put them together, and it’s 431 yards allowed per game defensively, ninth in the Mountain West.


Which Bronco is due for a breakout Saturday night? It’s junior wide receiver CT Thomas, who has cooled considerably. Thomas started the season a house afire, with 103 yards receiving at Florida State. He had another 100-yard night versus Air Force. Over his first five games of the year (he missed the Marshall game), Thomas made 20 catches for 355 yards and three touchdowns. In the past four games, he has just seven catches for 55 yards. The Broncos could use his third and fourth-down magic in Logan.


This is what College of Idaho dreamed of when it revived the Coyotes football program in 2014 after a 37-year hiatus: a home game in the NAIA Playoffs. It happens Saturday at noon when the Yotes host Ottawa University of Arizona at Simplot Stadium. C of I is in its sixth season since football’s revival, and making the playoffs is impressive. But Ottawa is in just its second season of intercollegiate football. That’s somethin’ else. The Yotes, who jumped to No. 5 in the final NAIA Coaches Poll this week, have won 16 games in a row and set a school record for single-season victories with their 10-0 record. This is the first postseason game for the Frontier Conference champions since the 1953 Refrigerator Bowl.


Today we’ll bypass the usual Boise State-related storylines with the Dallas Cowboys. In last week’s 35-27 win over Detroit, Boise State alums were second, third and fourth in tackles for the Cowboys behind Jaylon Smith. Second, ahead of Leighton Vander Esch and DeMarcus Lawrence, was safety Darian Thompson with eight stops. Thompson signed to a one-year $720,000 contract last March, and—after working mainly on Dallas special teams last season—he has worked his way into the defensive rotation. Thompson has 22 tackles this year, second only to the 61 he logged as a New York Giant in 2016. He also has one fumble recovery. All Thompson needs now is an interception. Sunday against Tom Brady and the Patriots, anyone? He had 19 in his Broncos career, the most in the program’s FBS era.


Boise State men’s basketball has to let the euphoria of Wednesday’s overtime win over BYU subside—and focus on Pacific. The Broncos play the Tigers in Stockton, CA, Saturday afternoon, and face a tricky opponent. UOP is 5-2 and is allowing just 57.7 points per game, tops in the West Coast Conference. The Tigers are also top 15 nationally in rebound margin at plus-12.4. Speaking of “nationally,” Boise State’s Derrick Alston is not only sixth in scoring at 25.3 points per game, he leads the country in made free throws with 34. Elsewhere, the Bronco women would like to regain momentum after Wednesday’s loss to Washington State, but this is a heckuva way to do it. Boise State is on the road at No. 7 Louisville on Sunday. The Broncos have lost to the Cardinals each of the past two seasons.


After being shut out by Orlando Wednesday, the Idaho Steelheads hit the reset button tonight in CenturyLink Arena as they open a two-game series against the Kansas City Mavericks. It’ll be Tomas Sholl in goal, as fellow netminder Colton Point has been assigned to the Texas Stars of the AHL. Point had middling results in seven appearances for the Steelies, going 2-3-1 with a 2.52 goals-against average. On the PGA Tour, Meridian’s Troy Merritt opened the RSM Classic with a two-under 68 Thursday at Sea Island, GA. The former Boise State star is tied for 43rd going into the second round.


We lost a community treasure Wednesday. The first lady of Idaho tennis, Barbara Chandler, passed away in Boise at the age of 96. Nobody personified positive, meaningful contributions to youth sports in the state more than Barbara. She worked tirelessly with schools, and—though she’d never take credit for it—was largely responsible for the building of more than 30 tennis courts we enjoy in the city today. Barb burst on the national tennis scene as a Californian in the 1940’s and was later a three-time quarterfinalist at the US Open. She and her husband, Bill, moved to Idaho in 1952, and we thank our lucky stars. She dedicated her life to growing the sport of tennis and building character among young players. Barbara Chandler will be dearly missed.

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November 22, 2003: Utah ends BYU’s NCAA-record streak of 361 consecutive games without being shut out when the Utes, under first-year coach Urban Meyer, edge the Cougars 3-0 in Provo. Blustery winds and bouts of snow limited both offenses as a 41-yard Bryan Borreson field goal was enough for Utah to clinch the Mountain West title, its first outright conference championship since 1957. The Cougars, who had scored in every game dating back to October, 1975, ended with their first back-to-back losing seasons in 32 years.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)

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