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Bring on Utah State

By

Jeff Caves

The 42-9 win over New Mexico was just what the doctor ordered. A dominating win where Boise State could take out their starters after 3 quarters and a 42-3 lead. It’s too bad some of them didn’t make it that long before they were removed for the game. Hank Bachmeier and Chase Cord didn’t play. OG John Molchon played 1 series. OG Eric Quevedo left with a leg injury late in the 3rd quarter. RB Robert Mahone left in the 2nd quarter. LB/DE Curtis Weaver left in the 2nd quarter and came back with a boot. I believe some of the starters were held out to heal for Utah State and should play. 

 

It is what we have been waiting for all season.

 

Pre-season, Boise State vs Utah State game was the most anticipated conference game of the year. The storylines were clear. Utah State’s top draft prospect QB Jordan Love would be the best Qb Boise State faced all year and the Aggies had proven they could ruin Boise State. The 52-26 shellacking in 2015 still stings to many fans. Utah State had added an offensive coordinator as well in Mike Sanford, who is a former Boise State player and offensive coordinator under Bryan Harsin. Harsin tried to hire him at Arkansas State and got the job done when he was named Head Coach in 2013. Harsin said Sanford had a great understanding of what Boise State is trying to do because he played Qb here. Now, he feeds that information to Utah State. That rarely has happened in the 39 years I have followed Boise State. Art Valero, Mark Criner, and Julius Brown are the only coaches I remember who crossed over to the opponent. Ironically 3 of the 4 coached at Utah State vs Boise State. The pre-season hype was strong as Love won Offensive Player of the Year and the Aggies had 3 1st team defensive players make the team and a return specialist. 

 

They were talented. 

 

Now, the game feels different. Love may not even play and, if he does, he could be at less than 100% in a year when he leads the MWC in yards AND interceptions and a run threat.  The Aggies top tackler, LB David Woodward, is out injured for the season. On top of that, Boise State has a mash list as well. 

 

Now what? 

 

The New Mexico win proved Boise State has some capable backups. The offensive line blocked the run game well, scored 35 points but still struggled handling pass rush in the middle of the line and on the right side.  LB/DE Demetri Washington had a sack replacing Curtis Weaver and could be an emerging star at his position for the 2020 season. It may be a little early for him to dominate a game like Weaver could if healthy. Jaylon Henderson could beat Utah State but he must have a reliable ground game and pass protection to do that. Utah State has allowed 120 yards per game on the ground to teams that are in the MWC and balanced like Boise State. It will be tough sledding. The Aggies also average 2 sacks per MWC game and feature a game-changing player in DE Tipa Galeai who can be a monster on the edge and twisting- both weaknesses for Boise State to handle at times. Bring on Utah State.

BSU vs New Mexico (2)

BOISE STATE POUNDS NEW MEXICO, HEADS TO UTAH STATE

BY KITK STAFF AND BOISE STATE MEDIA SERVICES

BOISE – Seniors Sonatane Lui and Jaylon Henderson provided early sparks on Senior Night, and No. 19 Boise State closed out its regular season at home with a 42-9 victory over New Mexico on Saturday night at Albertsons Stadium.

Lui, a nose tackle, returned a fumble 24 yards for a touchdown on the Lobos’ first offensive play. He picked up a second fumble recovery later in the game, which attracted 31,492 fans.

Henderson, the Broncos’ third-string quarterback and a graduate transfer making his first Boise State start, completed 15-of-28 passes for 292 yards and three TDs. Henderson’s opening drive covered 97 yards in eight plays, ending with a 17-yard run from wide receiver Octavius Evans. Henderson was intercepted once and sacked twice. Hank Bachmeier and Chase Cord did not play because of injuries.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE BRONCO GAME NIGHT POST-GAME SHOW

Boise State scored 28 points in the first quarter – its most since a 2010 victory over the Idaho Vandals. The Broncos outgained the Lobos (2-8, 0-6) 509-292.

Boise State also got touchdowns from Khalil Shakir (18-yard pass from Henderson), John Hightower (51-yard pass from Henderson), Andrew Van Buren (8-yard pass from Henderson) and Garrett Collingham (2-yard pass from Shakir).

George Holani led Boise State in rushing with 73 yards on seven carries, all in the first half.

Boise State finished the game without junior STUD Curtis Weaver, the Mountain West’s all-time sack leader and projected NFL Draft pick. He was helped off the field late in the second quarter and returned to the sideline in the second half with a walking boot on his right foot.

NOTES: Senior defensive end Chase Hatada forced the Lobos’ fumble that turned into the Lui touchdown. It was Hatada’s third career forced fumble and his second this season (Air Force). It was the first career TD for Lui, and the Broncos’ first defensive TD this season. Hatada also had four tackles for loss. … Boise State has started three QBs in a season for the first time since 1993 (Danny Langsdorf, Lee Schrack and Tony Hilde). … Evans is the fourth wide receiver to score on the ground this season. … Holani, a true freshman, ripped off a 50-yard run in the first quarter, the longest of his season/career. … Hightower caught four passes for 124 yards, all in the first half. …  Van Buren’s TD catch in the third quarter was the first receiving score of his career. … The 33-point margin of victory is the largest at home against a Mountain West Mountain Division opponent in the coach Bryan Harsin era. … Boise State won its 13th straight game against a MW Mountain Division opponent, and its home winning streak against division foes now stands at 10. … The Broncos won their 118th consecutive game at home when leading after three quarters, the longest active streak in the country. … The attendance was 31,492, and Boise State finishes the home schedule with a season average of 33,488 (sixth highest in Boise State history).

CLICK HERE FOR MORE COVERAGE FROM BOISE STATE

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SCOTT SLANT: The last 2 Coach Pete recruits

Presented by GREENWOOD’S SKI HAUS.
Friday, November 15, 2019.

Almost six years after Chris Petersen left Boise State for Washington, there are two of his recruits still active for the Broncos, and they’ll get as loud a welcome as anyone on Senior Night before the New Mexico game Saturday. David Moa committed November 21, 2013. Then when the 2014 recruiting class blew up upon Coach Pete’s departure, Moa stayed the course with Bryan Harsin’s program. And what a ride it’s been since. Moa redshirted in 2014 and was a backup as a redshirt freshman. Then came the breakout season in 2016, when he led the Mountain West with 8.5 sacks. The following year saw a downtown arrest and a dropoff in production, and last season was all but wiped out by injury. But he’s proud to say he has “grown up,” and his teammates responded by naming him a captain as a senior.

Kekoa Nawahine committed to Boise State nine days before Moa while he was starring as a senior for Rocky Mountain High in Meridian. Nawahine’s plan was to go on an LDS mission before starting school, and that he did. He returned for the 2016 season, technically as a true freshman, and worked his way into the rotation at safety. Nawahine’s sophomore year was his breakout, as he amassed 108 tackles (second only to Leighton Vander Esch), recovered a fumble and made three interceptions. He cooled off somewhat as a junior but was often out of his natural position the last two months as he compensated for the loss of DeAndre Pierce. Nawahine is the only Bronco this year with more than one pick.

WEAVER’S NON-SENIOR NIGHT

If it seems like Senior Night is early this year (third-to-last game of the regular season), well, it is. It’s the earliest one in 17 years. There’s a lot of football still to be played for Moa, Nawahine, and their 15 fellow seniors. They are, by the way, Khafari Buffalo, Akilian Butler, Garrett Collingham, Emmanuel Fesili, Chase Hatada, Jaylon Henderson, John Hightower, Garrett Larson, Matt Locher, Sonatane Lui, John Molchon, Matt Pistone, Nicholai Pitman, Eric Quevedo and Eric Sachse. Curtis Weaver is not slated to be introduced with the group, since he’s a junior. But, of course, it’s all but certain that this will be his final regular season game on the blue turf. Weaver goes into the New Mexico game with 12.5 sacks for the season, one behind suspended Ohio State star Chase Young.

THE BRONCOS ALWAYS MISS THIS GUY

On Monday, Boise State coach Bryan Harsin had no season-ending injuries to report. But as the week went on, it became apparent that DeAndre Pierce’s injury was worse that previously thought. Pierce crawled off the field in the Wyoming game with a “high ankle sprain,” according to Harsin, and later it was discovered that there was “a little bit of a fracture up there.” Harsin says there’s an outside chance Pierce can make it back for the Broncos’ bowl game. The coach also said the problem is in the same area as Pierce’s injury at Florida State on Labor Day weekend, but not necessarily related. It’s the story of his career. Pierce has played in just 35 of a possible 49 games the past four seasons.

THIS ONE WILL BE ENLIGHTENING

Want a measuring stick for the Boise State-Utah State showdown next week? The Aggies host Wyoming Saturday in Logan (it’s a day game, wouldn’t you know it). Just in the nick of time, the 2018 version of Jordan Love appears to have resurfaced for USU. In the midst of a fairly frustrating season, Love was 30-of-39 yards for 388 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in last week’s win at Fresno State. The key for the Cowboys will be disrupting Utah State’s offensive line the way they did last week on the blue turf. USU will have to return the favor without star linebacker David Woodward, who’s out for the year with an undisclosed injury. Elsewhere, the batte for the driver’s seat in the east Division of the Mountain West is tonight at the stadium formerly known as Qualcomm: Fresno State at San Diego State.

FINISHING THE DEAL

It’s hard to fathom College of Idaho not completing an undefeated regular season Saturday in Caldwell against Montana State-Northern. The Northern Lights have lost 36 straight Frontier Conference games. So there you go. Headlining Senior Day for the Coyotes will be Darius-James Peterson, who’s playing his final regular-season game at Simplot Stadium. The electric dual-threat quarterback is 415 yards away from becoming the first Yote to hit the 10,000-yard mark in career total offense. Peterson could get it Saturday (if he’s in the game long enough). Up north, star wide receiver James Cotton sure would help Idaho’s chances of upsetting Sacramento State Saturday in the Kibbie Dome. But Cotton left the loss at Montana last week with an injury, and coach Paul Petrino called Cotton a not-very-encouraging “day-to-day.”

NCAA SLAMS DOOR ON AKOT

Tonight in ExtraMile Arena, Boise State hosts UC Irvine, a 31-win team last season that returns four of five starters. The Broncos will be without Arizona transfer Emmanuel Akot, tonight and every night thereafter for the rest of this season. The NCAA on Thursday denied Akot’s appeal for immediate eligibility from the NCAA Committee for Legislative Relief. Akot will have two years of eligibility remaining beginning next fall. Sources told B.J. Rains of the Idaho Press that Akot’s situation was different than another former Wildcat’s waiver attempt. Alex Barcello’s request was considered family-related and was approved (he’s now at BYU). Akot’s was based on Arizona’s troubles surrounding the Adidas scandal and was denied.

SO ABOUT THAT DEFENSE

How concerned should the Broncos be about their defense after the 106-75 walloping they absorbed at Oregon last Saturday? The speedy Ducks magically appeared with open looks all night as they knocked down 13 of 19 three-pointers. Boise State is also looking for answers down low, as Oregon scored 18 points in the paint in the first half—then poured in 34 in the second. Between layups and dunks, the Ducks made 21 field goals directly under the basket on 26 attempts. R.J. Williams, undersized in the post, scored 11 points with eight rebounds, and Robin Jorch had just two points and two rebounds in 15 minutes.

WNIT, NCAA’S FOR BRONCO WOMEN

Boise State wraps up play in the Preseason WNIT tonight, visiting UAB for a consolation game. UAB also split its first two tournament games, defeating South Alabama 77-61 before falling at Oklahoma 82-75. The Broncos then head into a week of big games, beginning next Wednesday at ExtraMile Arena against Washington State. Also tonight, it’s Boise State’s much-anticipated NCAA Tournament appearance in women’s soccer, as the Broncos visit undefeated BYU. Boise State star Raimee Sherle is tied for 10th in the country with 16 goals this season. But the Cougars have an even more prolific scorer, Elise Flake, who has netted 18 goals and is tied for fourth in the country.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by BBSI BOISE…we’re payroll, we’re risk, we’re HR, we’re business!

November 15, 2014, five years ago today: A day after a freak storm finishes dumping a November-record 7.6 inches of snow on Boise, Boise State and San Diego State play the coldest game in Albertsons Stadium history. The temperature at kickoff was 9 degrees, but the warm-weather Aztecs were unfazed, bursting out to a 20-0 lead midway through the second quarter. It was then the Broncos staged one of the biggest rallies ever, overcoming the deficit to win 38-29. Boise State’s Jay Ajayi had 108 of his 134 rushing yards and all three of his touchdowns in the second half. Attendance was 27,478, the Broncos’ smallest crowd in 11 years. But the hardy, frozen fans compensated for the no-shows with their vocal cords.

(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: ‘Perception-itis’ as it pertains to the Lobos

Presented by ADVANCED VISION THERAPY CENTER.
Thursday, November 14, 2019.

The term Boise State coach Bryan Harsin coined last week when recapping San Jose State was “perception-itis.” Many didn’t want to give the Spartans credit for the massive strides they’ve made this year. That problem has popped up in the past with New Mexico. What’s your perception of a 31-point underdog? That’s what the Lobos were when they came to the blue turf in 2015, and they left with a bizarre 31-24 upset. Brett Rypien threw 75 passes that night, Thomas Sperbeck caught 20 of them, the Broncos ran off 114 plays, and they still lost. And that was only a partial aberration. Two years ago, Boise State got by 28-14. This year’s Lobos have lost six games in a row, but all of them by 14 points or less. They’re 28-point underdogs against Boise State. What do you think?

New Mexico coach Bob Davie says his team is squared away despite the death of teammate Nahje Flowers and has focused in on Boise State. “If you need any confirmation as a team that we can go win this football game, look at (last) Saturday night,” said Davie. He used Nevada as an example. The Lobos were in their game in Reno two weeks ago before falling 21-10, and the Wolf Pack just upset No. 25 San Diego State. And there’s good ol’ Wyoming. UNM lost in Laramie 23-10, and Davie stresses there wasn’t that big a gap between the two teams. You see the number “10” there twice, though, and that’s Davie’s problem. New Mexico has struggled to get into the end zone this year and is ranked 103rd in the nation scoring at 23.4 points per game.

ABOUT THROWING TO THE BIG GUYS

Could tight ends help bail out Boise State’s stalled drives? The Broncos’ first two completions of the Wyoming game went to tight ends, as Chase Cord hit Garrett Collingham for eight yards and John Bates for nine. That was part of a 92-yard touchdown drive on the Broncos’ first possession that saw Cord go 6-of-6 for 66 yards, completing throws to six different receivers. Boise State netted a total of 31 yards and no points on its next four drives. The tight ends didn’t have another catch the entire game (although Collingham had one he dropped). Three-quarters of the way through the regular season, the group has 26 receptions for 324 yards and two touchdowns, comparable to last year’s 13-game total of 33 grabs for 306 yards and three TDs.

PICKS AT A PECULIAR PREMIUM

It’s a confounding thing, this lack of interceptions by Boise State this season. We know that Riley Whimpey made a huge play on Wyoming’s first snap of overtime last Saturday, breaking up a pass in the end zone. Thing is, Whimpey had it in his hands, just as he did on a throw the week before near the goal line at San Jose State. That’s been happening a lot. The Broncos have only five picks all season. And just 12 since the beginning of the 2018 campaign. But believe it or not, there are 22 FBS teams with fewer interceptions this year than Boise State. One of them is New Mexico, with only two picks all year.

DOUBLE-D WITH ANOTHER NFL SHOT

One of Boise State’s most popular players of the decade, Donte Deayon, has been resilient as he has toiled on the L.A. Rams practice squad. And Wednesday, Deayon was rewarded, as he was signed to the Rams’ 53-man roster ahead of Sunday night’s game against the Chicago Bears. He hasn’t played since Week 5 last year with the New York Giants. In eight career NFL games, Deayon has 16 tackles and three pass deflections. He’s fifth on Boise State’s all-time list with 17 interceptions from 2012-15.

NAME THE SCORE IN PROVO?

Since Idaho State’s an FCS team, you have to search a little harder to find the odds on the Bengals’ game at BYU Saturday. It would be easy to say, “You don’t want to know,” since ISU has been in a tailspin since being routed at Idaho. The Cougars are favored by anywhere from 13 to 30 points. Sure seems like it should be on the upper end of that (at the very least). Zach Wilson, who injured his throwing hand seven weeks ago, may return at quarterback for BYU this week, although it shouldn’t make any difference. Baylor Romney is capable of engineering a sizeable victory, as long as the Cougars are paying attention. The Bengals have lost four in a row, and in that stretch quarterback Matt Struck has thrown nine interceptions against five touchdowns.

LOOKING INTO THE HOOPS FUTURE

Three previously-revealed commitments all came through for Boise State men’s basketball on the first day of the fall early signing period Wednesday. The Broncos inked Kasean Pryor, a 6-9 guard from Ann Arbor, MI, who’s spending a post-graduate season at Link Year Prep Academy in Branson, MO. Also aboard is Burke Smith, a 6-11 center from Glen Ellen, VA (Boise State could use him right now). The third signee is an Idahoan, 6-1 guard Jace Whiting from Burley High, who was a USA Today All-Idaho second-teamer last season. Whiting is planning a two-year LDS mission before joining the Broncos.

NEXT STEP FOR DELAET

The north-of-the-border guy goes South of the Border this week, the fourth stop in his return to the PGA Tour. Graham DeLaet, hoping to put his debilitating back problems behind him, tees off at the Mayakoba Classic in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The former Boise State star, Eagle resident and Saskatchewan icon has made one of three cuts since resuming play following a two-year layoff (he tied for 70th last month at the Houston Open).

NEW FOE, BUT NOT AN UNFAMILIAR ONE

Boise State women’s soccer is a day away from its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 10 years, facing BYU in Provo tomorrow night. This may be the Broncos’ first-ever meeting with the Cougars on the pitch, but it doesn’t feel that way to coach Jim Thomas. “It’s local, we don’t have to go to far, or change time zones or anything weird like that,” said Thomas. “It’s a group that we know, a lot of our players grew up playing their players so there are a lot of common ties there.” Boise State and BYU had two common opponents in the regular season. The Broncos lost to Utah 1-0 in double-overtime while the Cougars beat the Utes 2-0. Both teams routed Southern Utah, with Boise State winning 4-0 and BYU 7-0.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by GREENWOOD’S SKI HAUS…plenty of reasons to shop locally!

November 14, 1997: Pro basketball comes to the Treasure Valley, as the Idaho Stampede make their debut at the Idaho Center. The Stampede were led by former Boise State coach Bobby Dye and defeated the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the opener, 102-92. The first points in franchise history came on a three-pointer from guard Rusty LaRue, who at the end of the night was called up by the Chicago Bulls. The Stampede moved to Salt Lake City after the 2015-16 season. This must be a bittersweet day for former Stampede managing investor Bill Ilett and his ownership team.

(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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Harsin, Bachmeier, Cord At BSU Through 2021?

BY MIKE PRATER
THE IDAHO PRESS

Here’s an outrageous thought that defies everything about college football in 2019 and beyond: What if Bryan Harsin, Hank Bachmeier and Chase Cord all stick around for the next two-plus seasons?

What if Harsin coaches Boise State through at least 2021, and his quarterback depth chart reads Bachmeier/Cord, or Cord/Bachmeier?

“I hope all those things happen, that’s what we’re building,’’ Harsin said this week.

In reality, even a coach oozing in optimism knows there’s a Hail Mary of a chance.

There’s no room in college football for unicorns, lollipops and rainbows.

Or is there?

Something special is brewing at Boise State, and it’s not coffee before morning practices, or a potential trip to the Cotton Bowl.

I’ve always believed that Harsin could spend a long time at Boise State.

And now the top two quarterbacks on his roster are acting like BFFs, besties, loving on each other, thinking the other is “awesome,’’ and bragging about a brotherhood.

We witnessed the lovefest as Bachmeier, a true freshman with a big personality, held his first Boise State press conference, and Cord, a redshirt sophomore with a stoic demeanor, spoke to the media for the first time since losing the QB battle in August.

Questions focused on their friendship — and their futures.

Harsin, the zen master who doesn’t have a QB commit in his 2020 recruiting class, said their relationship is as strong as they make it sound.

“I think it is, unless they’re foolin’ everybody else,’’ he said.

That’s the hard part, trying to figure out what student-athletes of today really think.

The NCAA transfer portal is a favorite new play toy for dream-weavers, towel-wavers and third-stringers. Too many players have lost their patience, and their work ethic, and are bolting for new schools in alarming numbers.

Bachmeier, presumably, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

But why would Cord stick around when he has options to play college football through the 2022 season?

Harsin says he’s different. Cord says he’s happy to be here.

For now, we have to believe them both. It’s not a stretch, and here’s why, according to the people who matter most.

“We talk about (players transferring). We’re very aware of those types of things that happen all over the place, but not with him,’’ Harsin said.

“He’s got a very disciplined, tough mindset. … He’s just got these really special qualities about him that fits this football team. He’s a leader on this team. … I think he’s different and I think he’s a special, special person and it shows up in how he affects our football team.’’

The first question Cord was asked referenced losing the starting job, and the option of moving on. He handled it in typical Cord fashion — businesslike. The same way he approached nearly a year of rehab after blowing out the ACL in his right knee last season.

“It was tough to hear just because I’ve been working so hard to get back, and I did, but there was never that moment of doubt because I knew I just had to get right back to work,’’ said Cord, who would seemingly not be on pace to graduate until after the 2020 season.

“It’s not about me and I think the guys saw that once I didn’t get the nod week one, but every day I’m competing. We talk about starring in your role, understanding it and starring in it, and that’s been my mindset.’’

Two additional factors could keep Cord at Boise State, when most everyone thinks he’s leaving.

Bachmeier loves to throw his body around, and Cord knows he’ll get opportunities to start, as he did last month at BYU.

And the ghost of Bush Hamdan.

Harsin has little desire to change the way Bachmeier plays, and said so after the San Jose State victory last week. That means more running. Very little sliding. The potential for reckless injuries.

“(Hank is) a competitor and if he feels like he’s got to get the first down, he’s going to do what he’s got to do. That will never be something we try to take away from him, just that competitiveness,’’ Harsin said.

“That’s part of both those guys’ games that you don’t want to take away. I don’t like when guys get banged up or have to come out, and things like that, and you certainly wish in hindsight, when you go back and look at it, but you can’t really talk about those things or change how they play.’’

And now for the Hamdan theory.

Hamdan played QB at Boise State from 2005-08, and left as one of the more popular backups in program history.

He was a third-stringer behind Jared Zabransky and Taylor Tharp in 2005-06. He lost the starting battle to Tharp in 2007, and to Kellen Moore in 2008.

In four seasons, Hamdan attempted 36 passes. His only start came on Senior Day.

Today, after playing for Chris Petersen and going through Boise State’s well-respected offensive program, Hamdan is working for Petersen as his coordinator at Washington. Hamdan is making $750,000 this season.

Could coaching be in Cord’s future? He’s mature, cerebral, and certainly acts like a coach, according to his coach. It’s not difficult to visualize Cord taking the Hamdan route at Boise State — and in life.

So Harsin, Bachmeier and Cord all together at Boise State for the next few seasons?

An outrageous thought?

Round up the unicorns.

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 mikefprater@gmail.com.

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SCOTT SLANT: Don’t give up on the run

Presented by BBSI BOISE.
Wednesday, November 13, 2019.

I started putting this together for Sunday Sports Extra expecting to find something not so pretty, comparing rushing from Boise State’s wide receivers to that of the running backs since the beginning of October. Over the last five games, the wideouts have been strong, averaging 10.6 yards per carry and scoring four touchdowns. But the running backs have been serviceable, even including last Saturday night’s struggles and offensive line problems, averaging 4.9 yards per carry with eight TDs. The wide receivers didn’t skew the numbers as much as I thought they would. The Broncos’ traditional running game can still be viable.

George Holani is good. He’s a true freshman, and an off-night in a physical game like the one against Wyoming is going to happen. Holani rushed for just 30 yards on 11 carries and lost one of his two fumbles after a missed block up front (and it was costly). Andrew Van Buren can be good if he can string together two solid games in a row. And even though it seems like Robert Mahone peaked in the opener with his 142 rushing yards at Florida State, the potential remains. He can contribute once he’s healthy again. The Broncos are not going to let one bummer game stop them from being true to their fabric. There’s still time for the O-line to live up to its potential.

SEPARATION IN THE CFP

Boise State’s road is a little steeper now in the New Year’s Six race. The Broncos moved up one spot in the new College Football Playoff rankings to No. 21 Tuesday night, but Texas and Iowa, at Nos. 19 and 20, are wedged between the Broncos and Cincinnati and Memphis, who are at Nos. 17 and 18. Those teams could meet in the American Athletic Conference championship game, but they play each other in the regular season finale first. To have a chance, Boise State has to win its remaining three games, plus the Mountain West championship game (of course), and hope a two-loss team gets into the AAC title game and wins it. Navy out of the AAC is No. 23, but SMU dropped off the list, replaced by No. 25 Appalachian State.

PRACTICING THROUGH THE PAIN

New Mexico has been preparing for Boise State this week with heavy hearts following last week’s death of defensive lineman Nahje Flowers. Coach Bob Davie said Tuesday there was “no chance” his team could have played a game in the aftermath, and the Lobos’ game against Air Force last Saturday was postponed as a result, with UNM players finally returning to practice on Sunday night. “Football is so much a part of our lives you get to a point where you need it,” said D-lineman and captain Trent Sellers. “When something like that happens, to take time away and reflect is good but to get back into the routine a little bit makes you feel a little normal in a situation that no one could imagine. There’s no right way or wrong way. It gives you some type of normal feeling when you come out here and practice.”

RYPIEN WAITS, FINLEY STARTS

Former Boise State star Brett Rypien was in town for the Wyoming game last weekend, serving as an honorary captain with Rees Odhiambo. Rypien is now back in Denver following the bye week, preparing to back up Brandon Allen again this Sunday at Minnesota. Rypien didn’t play in Denver’s win over Cleveland 10 days ago. Drew Lock, the Broncos’ second round draft pick who injured his thumb in the preseason, finally returned to practice on Tuesday. Rypien’s one-time teammate in the Boise State quarterback room, Ryan Finley, is headed for his second start with Cincinnati this Sunday at Oakland. Finley threw for 167 yards and a touchdown last Sunday against Baltimore, but he also tossed a pick-six and suffered a strip-sack that went for a TD. Nevertheless, Bengals teammates said they were “encouraged.”

WHAT TWO IDAHO WINS WOULD MEAN

A winning season is out the window now for Idaho, who is 4-6 with two games remaining. To get to .500, the Vandals will have to sweep Sacramento State this Saturday in the Kibbie Dome and Northern Arizona in Flagstaff next week. The odds are long. Sac State is in the midst of a winning season itself, currently 7-3 and one game behind Weber State in the Big Sky race with a 5-1 record. The Hornets are second in the conference in total offense and third in total defense. If the Vandals were able to get to 6-6, it would be only the fourth time in the past 20 years they’ve won that many games. And Idaho would avoid an 18th losing season this century.

LIVIN’ OUT OF A SUITCASE

We’ll see the Idaho Steelheads again a week from tonight in Century Link Arena. Until then, the Steelheads have to wind up a wild stretch of travel that sees them playing 13 of their first 16 games this season on the road. This weekend will be grueling—the Steelies travel to Wichita, KS, Tulsa, OK, and Allen, TX, in consecutive nights. After being swept last week at Rapid City, Idaho has fallen to 7-7-3 and has slipped to third in the ECHL Mountain Division (not that it’s significant at this point).

NO BREAK FOR THE BRONCO MEN

The Boise State team that scored 126 points and allowed 49 in its season opener versus Life Pacific now has to recover from a 106-75 knock up ‘side the head at Oregon last Saturday. How the Broncos do against UC Irvine Friday night in ExtraMile Arena will tell us a lot. How do they deal with allowing the most points in 45 years? Boise State will have to shore things up quickly to stay with the Anteaters, who went 31-6 last season and beat Kansas State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. UCI opened with a road win at San Diego before falling at Pepperdine last Saturday. And who did Irvine play last night? Life Pacific. Anteaters 98, Warriors 52.

CANYON COUNTY CRUISE

Northwest Nazarene clamped down on College of Idaho last night to win the first leg of the United Heritage Mayors Cup Series 66-57. The Nighthawks held the Coyotes to 32 percent shooting from the field and 19 percent from three-point land. Jaylon Fox led NNU with 15 points, and Sam Roth added 14. Talon Pinckney was the only Yote in double-figures with 13. The rematch is next Tuesday in Caldwell. Attention on the C of I campus now morphs to the football field, where the Coyotes take on Montana State-Northern on Saturday. There’ll be a huge Senior Day ceremony before the game, as 24 senior Yotes are honored. One is all-everything quarterback Darius-James Peterson, the face of this incredible Coyotes run.

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November 13, 1993: No. 1 against No. 2—Florida State and Notre Dame in South Bend. The Fighting Irish won 31-24 after fighting off a Seminole desperation drive led by eventual Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward, who the year before had played for the FSU basketball team in the NCAA Tournament at the BSU Pavilion. But the Irish would lose the following week to Boston College, opening the door for Florida State’s run to the national championship. We’re about 10 months away from FSU’s long-awaited visit to the blue turf. (Who’s going to be the coach?)

(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: Guys who aren’t ‘Twittiots’

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019.

Boise State coach Bryan Harsin probably should have left well enough alone Monday. But since he didn’t, addressing the griping on Twitter and coining the now-viral term “Twittiots,” here we go. I think the best perspective comes from former Broncos, especially those from a 50-3 stretch that will never be repeated anywhere in the Group of 5. This from Hunter White, who played for a certain Chris Petersen and is no Twittiot: “I would never wish ill on my Broncos but sometimes I wish you ‘fans’ would experience a 6-6 season. So you can calm TF down. Harsin is 60-16, I’m sorry Pete ruined it by going 92-12 w/ 4x the NFL players. Winningest program of this century and we at 8-1! You guys are exhausting!” At this point of White’s senior year in 2011, Boise State was 8-1.

AT LEAST FOUR STARTERS UP IN THE AIR

Harsin opened his Monday press conference with this: “No updates for you injury-wise. That may change by the end of the week. No season-ending injuries.” That means quarterback Hank Bachmeier’s status for this Saturday’s game against New Mexico is to be determined. And the status of running back Robert Mahone and defensive end Chase Hatada, for that matter. But there’s another player who was added to the list in the Wyoming game. Safety DeAndre Pierce was injured at the end of the third quarter and crawled off the field. That’s a big one. The past two seasons have been an ordeal for the junior from Long Beach, CA. Pierce missed the last two-plus months of last season with a lacerated spleen—then a leg injury in the opener at Florida State this year saw Pierce miss the next four games.

‘PIG SOOIE’ NEWS

Bruce Feldman of The Athletic takes a look at Arkansas’s options for a new coach after the axing of Chad Morris. After the Razorbacks were pummeled in Fayetteville 45-19 by Western Kentucky on Saturday, they fired Morris, who was 4-18 in his second season and 0-14 in the SEC. Feldman brings up this name: “Boise State’s Bryan Harsin has some experience in the state from his one season coaching Arkansas State. He also spent two seasons on Mack Brown’s staff at Texas. Harsin is considerably more established than Morris was and has a sterling 60-16 record. He’s been pretty selective about what he’d consider. Would he want in at Arkansas and the SEC West? We’ll see.” Probably not, with the shape that program’s in.

Interestingly enough, veteran college football insider Brett McMurphy of Stadium lays 3-to-1 odds that former Bronco offensive coordinator and current Appalachian State coach Eli Drinkwitz gets the job. He went to school at Arkansas Tech and was Harsin’s co-offensive coordinator at Arkansas State before coming to Boise State with him. Drinkwitz is from the Gus Malzahn coaching tree, going all the way back to the high school ranks in Arkansas. Oh by the way, his App State Mountaineers won 20-15 at South Carolina on Saturday.

THE WILD, WEIRD MW WEST

The Mountain West’s four games over the weekend were decided by a total of 11 points, and the West Division race was affected in a big way. San Diego State’s shocking 17-13 loss to Nevada meant that Fresno State was able to afford its 37-35 last-second defeat at the hands of Utah State. And Hawaii stayed in the race with a 42-40 victory over San Jose State. The West Division champion this year will have two conference losses. At least. The Aztecs are the only team left with just two. “Misery enjoys company, I guess,” said coach Rocky Long Saturday night after finding out Fresno State also lost. “I don’t know what that saying is. So they are pretty miserable and we are pretty miserable and we get to play each other next week. One of us will feel much better and one of us will feel just as bad or worse.”

THE PLAY-CALLER AND THE DEFENSIVE STOPPERS

When the Dallas Cowboys win, Kellen Moore is the kid genius offensive coordinator. When they lose, he’s in over his head. Mac Engel in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes that Moore and coach Jason Garrett “undercut their quarterback” Sunday night by not letting Dak Prescott win the game in the Cowboys’ 28-24 loss to Minnesota. Okay. Meanwhile, the Boise State products on the Dallas defense were highly visible, as Leighton Vander Esch went sideline-to-sideline with 13 tackles, DeMarcus Lawrence added eight with two for loss (no sacks, though), and Darian Thompson made five stops. On the other side, Alexander Mattison had eight carries for 52 yards for the Vikings, including a 16-yarder that was originally a 17-yard touchdown before it was overturned on a video review.

HUTCH FINALLY ACTIVE AGAIN

After being hamstrung by a hamstring problem for a month and a half, things are looking up for Chandler Hutchison. The former Boise State star has played in the last three Chicago Bulls games and started for the first time in Saturday’s 117-94 loss to Houston. Hutchison scored 13 points in 23 minutes and is now averaging 9.0 points per game. He’s also shooting just under 56 percent from the field. “Hutch is a big wing; Hutch is what the league is,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen told the Chicago Tribune late last month. ”You know, a 6-7 guy that can guard multiple positions, he can handle the ball, he can get out and run. Our multiple-ballhandling system was put in with him in mind, him involved in it.”

CANYON COUNTY CLASH, PART I

Tonight it’s Game 1 of the home-and-home United Heritage Mayors Cup series between College of Idaho and Northwest Nazarene, hosted by NNU in Nampa. The Coyotes are now 4-0 after winning their 33rd annual Taco Bell Shoot-Out over the weekend. The finale Saturday night was a thriller—a 76-74 win over Montana Tech. This is the Nighthawks’ season opener after a couple of exhibition games. NNU routed California Miramar 98-58 last Friday, but the eye-opener was a narrow 62-56 loss at Wyoming a couple weeks ago. By C of I’s count, this is the 207th renewal of the Battle of Canyon County, the oldest hoops rivalry in the state of Idaho, dating back to 1933. The teams split their two matchups last year.

POSTSEASON – NOW AND NEAR-FUTURE

There’s a lot of intercollegiate competition these days between Boise State and BYU. The next one will be a first—and it’s a big one, as the Broncos women’s soccer team has drawn the 18-0-1 Cougars Friday night in Provo in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. BYU is ranked No. 4 and is the only unbeaten team left in the country. And in American football, College of Idaho is No. 6 for the third straight week in the NAIA Coaches Poll. The 9-0 Yotes also nabbed two Frontier Conference Player of the Week honors on Monday, linebacker Forrest Rivers on defense and kicker Kyle Mitchell on special teams. There’s one game remaining in the regular season—key word “regular,” as C of I is in line to host a first-round game in the NAIA Playoffs.

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November 12, 2011: The nation’s longest home winning streak ends at 35 games when TCU holds off Boise State in Bronco Stadium, 36-35. The Broncos and Horned Frogs had become rivals through three meetings in bowl games and fought to the final play, a missed 39-yard field goal by Boise State’s Dan Goodale. Frogs sophomore quarterback Casey Pachall stunned the Broncos with a 473-yard passing day and threw for the winning two-point conversion with 1:05 remaining. It was the only conference game between the two schools, as TCU would depart the Mountain West for the Big 12 the following year. The loss also ended Boise State’s 65-game regular season home streak, and its 47-game home streak in league play.

(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: Giant exhale on the Blue

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Monday, November 11, 2019.

It could be considered a “fantastic finish” in the Albertsons Stadium history book—a missed field goal in overtime by Wyoming to send Boise State storming onto the field with a crucial 20-17 victory. But it was so unnecessary that it got that far. These Broncos have warts, and many of them showed Saturday night. A Cowboys team that was allowing 289 yards a game through the air yielded only 194 on the blue turf. Sure, Chase Cord was at quarterback instead of Hank Bachmeier. But Cord was being knocked into next week all night because of Boise State’s inability to deal with the Wyoming blitz. The Broncos wanted to counter on the ground, but their running backs were held to 40 yards on 14 carries, including a lost fumble that was nearly disastrous. The “complete game” remains as elusive as ever.

WHERE’S HANKO?

The tweets began as soon as Boise State took the field for pregame warmups. There is no Bachmeier in the Broncos’ quarterbacks group. And so it was official, Cord would start for Boise State against Wyoming. It was a surprise, considering Bachmeier had returned to the game the week before against San Jose State after being injured and then finished the game. And he talked to the media for the first time last week. Did it have to do with Bachmeier’s throwing shoulder? Well, after coming back in versus the Spartans, he was 3-for-3 for 46 yards. He threw his last pass of the game with just under 10 minutes left before the Broncos went exclusively to the run.

WHIMPEY’S LATE-GAME WALLOP

It was about this time last year that Riley Whimpey’s season ended with a torn ACL. This year, Whimpey is hitting full stride. Consider the three defensive plays that led to Boise State’s victory Saturday night. Whimpey was the guy who stuffed Xazavian Valladay for a one-yard loss on fourth-and-one at the Broncos’ 39 with 31 seconds left. On the first play of Wyoming’s overtime possession, Whimpey stayed with his assignment on a flea-flicker and broke up a pass in the end zone. And on third-and-four, he stoned Valladay again for a two-yard loss, forcing a field goal that was just a little bit too far out. Whimpey led Boise State with 12 tackles, two for loss, and two pass breakups. He’s now the Broncos’ leading tackler on the season with 49.

THE TASK AT HAND

The AP and Coaches Polls go from highly scrutinized to largely ignored once the first College Football Playoff rankings are released. So the largely ignored fact is, despite a mighty struggle to get there, Boise State is 8-1 and is up to No. 19 in both major polls. All five of the Group of 5 teams in the rankings are right in a row, from Nos. 17 to 21. But the one that counts comes from the CFP committee, and that will be tomorrow night. It’s time to forget about all of that, though. A Mountain West championship needs to be the sole focus for this team. The game was on the ESPN mothership Saturday night, and it did not look impressive—285 yards of offense and only 15 first downs. But in the Broncos’ defense, the other four contenders in the New Year’s Six race all have their deficiencies.

‘WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS’

Strike up Queen. The Yotes have done it. And they did it the way champions so often do, rallying from a 20-7 deficit to beat Montana Western 38-27 Saturday at Simplot Stadium. College of Idaho corralled three turnovers in the third quarter and turned them all into touchdowns. The result is a solo Frontier Conference championship, the first outright league title for C of I since it won the Northwest Conference in 1953, as well as a school-record 15-game winning streak. The Yotes are in excellent position for not only their first-ever appearance in the NAIA Playoffs, but a first-round home game in the tournament on Saturday, November 23.

QUICK START, DOWNER OF A FINISH

When Idaho fed off a forced fumble and an interception by Tyrese Dedmon to burst out to a 10-0 second-quarter lead at Montana Saturday, it was “upset alert” time. But the Grizzlies were alerted, and they ended up rolling to a 42-17 victory over the Vandals, outscoring UI 28-7 in the second half. Mason Petrino threw for 242 yards and rushed for 39, but was just 21-of-41 on the day, and Idaho’s tumble was exacerbated by two interceptions and two lost fumbles from the senior quarterback. Idaho’s Aundre Carter, who had romped for 179 yards the previous week versus Cal Poly, was held to 44 yards on 14 carries. The Little Brown Stein stays in Missoula.

DUCKS COULD NOT HAVE BEEN HOTTER

Boise State’s 106-75 men’s hoops loss at Oregon Saturday night looks really bad. And it is—the most points given up by the Broncos in regulation in almost 45 years and one of less than two dozen 100-point games the team has allowed in its history (and the first in almost nine years). It was a very sobering night. But nobody could have figured the Ducks would shoot an unconscious 70 percent from the floor and 68 percent from three-point range. Former New Mexico foe Anthony Mathis poured in 30 points for Oregon and went 9-for-12 from beyond the arc. Really? Boise State’s Derrick Alston did nothing to diminish his rising value in front of NBA scouts in Eugene, though, scoring 28 points and going 4-for-9 from deep.

A TEST THAT WILL PAY DIVIDENDS

The value of the Preseason WNIT to Boise State women’s basketball is in the chance to be battle-tested for the long haul. Mission accomplished Sunday, as the Broncos and Missouri State went to the wire in ExtraMile Arena. The Lady Bears, the defending Missouri Valley champions coming off a Sweet 16 run, eked out a 72-69 win over the Broncos. Mallory McGwire was a menace for Boise State, scoring 19 points with 17 rebounds. The Broncos opened the Preseason WNIT with an 82-57 thumping of defending Big Sky Tournament champion Portland State Friday night. Fans saw some vintage Riley Lupfer, as she scored 20 points and drained six three-pointers.

SHERLE’S STORYBOOK SENIOR YEAR

It came down to one winner-take-all game for the Mountain West women’s soccer championship Sunday before a full house at the Boas Complex. And who would nail Boise State’s first goal? Raimee Sherle, of course. The MW’s all-time scoring leader tallied in the 17th minute, and the Broncos went on to beat San Diego State 2-0 to win their first Mountain West title. Sherle now has 16 goals for this season and 61 for her career. And it ain’t over yet. Boise State has earned its first NCAA Tournament bid in 10 years (and only the second ever) and will find out its destination and first-round opponent this afternoon.

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November 11, 1967: With former Borah Lion Steve Preece at quarterback, the Oregon State Beavers continue their dizzying ride through the upper echelons of college football, upsetting top-ranked USC, 3-0, on a second quarter field goal. The OSU defense scrambled to keep O.J. Simpson out of the end zone despite a 188-yard day from the Trojans’ Heisman Trophy tailback. Earlier in the season the Beavers had beaten Purdue and UCLA, each ranked no. 2 at the time. This would be USC’s only loss on the way to a Rose Bowl crown and a national 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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Harsin

Hanky Hank And The Funky Bunch

I usually spend some time during Boise State offensive series watching Bryan Harsin. Its nothing you cant do from the stands with a set of binoculars. He is pretty stone face though and most times you don’t get much.  He usually stands behind the offense and likes to see the view from there. You can’t get the QB out of the coach.  Against Wyoming though, I noticed Harsin spending a lot of time looking down at his play call sheet. Over and over. He was searching and scanning. I didn’t notice him saying much but I didn’t pay much attention. I can only imagine what offensive coordinator Zak Hill was doing. From listening to Harsin post game, it sounds like the Boise State offense had more problems with Wyoming than just the players that the Cowboys rolled out vs. Boise State.

They had issues before they even set foot on the field.

That play call sheet must have been filled with jokes that fell flat for the occasion. Boise State prepared for a certain type of Wyoming defense and another one showed up. Harsin was upset at any offensive coach associated with the game plan and calling plays.

Including him.

If I had to narrow it down I would say that the traditional run game with Holani wasn’t getting it done and the unconventional run game with Hightower, Shakir and even Cord was. Without having a more dominant perimeter blocking ability, the offense needs to use misdirection and uncovential sets. The killer is the between the tackles run game. By this time in the season, defenses know Boise States tendencies and hit gaps with extra hitters.

It works.

Cord and Holani took way too many shots from an untouched Wyoming slanting d lineman or blitzing linebacker. Wyoming outnumbered Boise State at the point of attack and the o line and, at times Rb’s, made the wrong or late read and things got blown up.

Now what?

This offense will either turn into Hank and The Funky Bunch or die. I don’t see the power run game miraculously sustaining this team with a 4-quarter effort. I think we will see a lot more Shakir, Hightower and hopefully CT Thomas. Fly sweeps, reverses, wildcat, new stuff, and unbalanced lines, etc etc.

Boise State needs some GOOD VIBRATIONS…

 

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BOISE STATE 20, WYOMING 17 (OT)

BY KTIK STAFF AND BSU MEDIA SERVICES

BOISE – Boise State scored the only TD of the fourth quarter, Eric Sachse nailed a 28-yard field in goal in overtime, and Wyoming missed its 37-yard attempt, giving the No. 22-ranked Broncos a 20-17 victory over Wyoming on Saturday night at Albertsons Stadium.

Boise State, playing without starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier and starting running back Robert Mahone, won despite 285 yards of total offense. Ninety-two of those yards came on the opening drive when backup quarterback Chase Cord led the Broncos to a quick 7-0 lead. 

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Cord, a redshirt sophomore making his first career start at home, was 19-of-30 for 190 yards and a TD, wide receiver John Hightower led Boise State in rushing with 38 yards on two carries, and Khalil Shakir caught seven passes for 70 yards.

Boise State’s defense held Wyoming to 283 yards and seven second-half points, but failed to produce a takeaway.

Wyoming (6-3, 3-2) is 0-7 against the Broncos in Boise. Backup QB Tyler Vander Waal, who started Saturday, finished 15-of-23 for 160 yards and a 3-yard TD run.

Sachse had a 40-yard field goal in the third quarter, and Shakir scored on a 5-yard run in the fourth to force overtime.

NOTES: Attendance was 33,018. … In his second career start, and first at home, redshirt sophomore quarterback Chase Cord was 6-for-6 for 66 yards with a 5-yard TD pass to senior Akilian Butler on the game’s opening drive. The drive covered a season-best 92 yards and 7:10 of game clock. … Boise State has scored TDs on its opening drive against Portland State, UNLV, Hawaii, BYU and Wyoming. … Redshirt junior STUD Curtis Weaver recorded sacks on back-to-back plays in the second quarter to raise his career total to 33, second all-time at Boise State (Erik Helgeson, 54.5 from 1987-90). Weaver’s 12.5 sacks in 2019 rank fifth in Broncos’ single-season history. … The OT game was Boise State’s first regular-season overtime game at home since a 69-67 win in four extra periods against Nevada on Oct, 14, 2007. … Boise State has won three games this season when behind entering the fourth quarter (first time since three-such wins in 1990. … The Broncos won for the fifth time this season when tied or trailing at halftime (most since five in 1989). … Beginning with the fourth quarter at BYU, Boise State has scored on its last 12 trips to the red zone (8 TD, 4 FG). … The Broncos were 4-for-4 Saturday (2 TD, 2 FG), including the game-winning 28-yard field goal in overtime by redshirt senior Eric Sachse.

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SCOTT SLANT: The 2019 attendance phenomenon

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Friday, November 8, 2019.

What is happening in the stands at Albertsons Stadium this season? Boise State is averaging 34,105 fans per game in a year when the home schedule was missing marquee opponents. The Broncos will be home for the first time in four weeks when they host Wyoming Saturday night. It won’t be at capacity, even though it’ll be clear and about 50 degrees at kickoff—you can’t ask much more out of the second weekend of November. The last time out, Boise State drew 36,902 for Hawaii with an 8:15 p.m. kickoff in October. How did that happen? Well, the Broncos combined homecoming and parents’ weekend for the first time, and people liked it. It seems there were lots of first-time fans in the stands, too. Maybe the hoards of newcomers in the valley are finally sampling the product.

This bucks the trend, as schools across the country struggle with attendance (especially in the Mountain West). The first-timers took awhile to get into the swing of things at the Hawaii game. It wasn’t quite as loud as it was for Air Force, but the noise grew as newcomers came to understand the drill on defensive downs. It was interesting. And we have to mention this: it doesn’t feel like Boise State is in a bandwagon situation. UCF might be, however. If you watched any of the Golden Knights’ home win over Houston last Saturday, well, attendance was announced as 41,361. What? You saw a massive swath of empty seats all the way around the stadium. It was shocking.

HATADA OR NO HATADA?

Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said Monday that the injured players who missed last week’s game are expected back for Wyoming. But Harsin didn’t mention the guy who was hurt during the San Jose State game. Defensive end Chase Hatada had his bell rung midway through the first quarter against the Spartans and didn’t return. Stopping the Cowboys’ formidable run—and getting a pass rush on quarterback Tyler Vander Waal—will be affected Saturday night if Hatada is out. He had one of the Broncos’ five sacks of Vander Waal in Laramie last year. Matt Locher and Jabari Watson share the No. 2 spot behind Hatada (according to the depth chart, anyway). Maybe the Broncos will move around some of their defensive line chess pieces.

A WEEK OF DEFENSIVE MORPHING

We’ve talked about how Boise State will probably flip the script to a more pass-heavy offense Saturday night. There’ll be script-flipping on defense, too. San Jose State has the worst running attack in the Mountain West, averaging only 82 yards per game, and the Broncos held the Spartans to 59 on the ground last week. Wyoming is second in the conference behind Air Force, rushing for 241 yards per game. Stop the run, eh? Boise State yielded 438 yards through the air to Josh Love and the Spartans last week, but the Cowboys are 11th in the league in passing at just 125 yards per game. With Tyler Vander Waal stepping in tonight, the Pokes should do better than that on the blue turf, though.

VANDALS NEED TO RUN – OR BE RUN

Idaho quarterback Mason Petrino will probably be under duress Saturday when the Vandals take on Montana in Missoula for the Little Brown Stein. And as far as anyone can tell, Petrino won’t have the injured Colton Richardson to back him up. So if Petrino’s going to be able to operate in one of the toughest stadiums in the FCS to operate, well, the running game will have to operate. The good news is, it did last week in the win over Cal Poly. After missing two games, Aundre Carter returned to the lineup and promptly burst for a career-high 179 rushing yards. Carter leads the Vandals in rushing this season with 557 yards and seven touchdowns.

THE ‘D’ AS WELL AS THE ‘O’ AT C OF I

At College of Idaho, the conversation always starts with the Coyotes’ offensive stars, Darius-James Peterson, Nick Calzaretta and company. But the Yotes defense—Forrest Rivers, Taeson Hardin and company—will be in the spotlight tomorrow against Montana Western at Simplot Stadium. C of I allows just 287 yards per game and will be up against the best passing attack in the Frontier Conference, averaging 267 yards per game. Bulldogs quarterback Jon Jund has thrown 25 touchdown passes this season against just three interceptions. Jund has also rushed for six scores. The undefeated Yotes are going for a school-record 15th consecutive victory.

EARLY MOMENT OF TRUTH

Was it real, or was it a mirage? Probably somewhere in the middle. But the closer Boise State can get to the 126-point performance it produced against Life Pacific Tuesday night, the better the chance it’ll have of hangin’ with Oregon. The Broncos now have to get it done against an opponent with size and speed Saturday night in Eugene. There were seven Boise State players in double-figures versus Life Pacific: Derrick Alston, Justinian Jessup, RJ Williams, Alex Hobbs, RayJ Dennis, Max Rice and Marcus Dickinson. Each of those guys is capable of reprising a night like that, but not all at the same time. Who will stay hot—and who will not—against the Ducks?

CAMPUS THINGS

It sure looks like Boise State women’s soccer is intent on winning the Mountain West championship, doesn’t it? The Broncos hung a stunning 6-0 shutout on New Mexico Thursday in the semifinals of the conference tournament at the Boas Complex. Raimee Sherle (who else?) led the way with a hat trick. Gabby Gillespie added two goals for Boise State, who now faces San Diego State Saturday for the title—and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Indoors, the Bronco women’s basketball team, like the men, take a significant step up in competition tonight when it hosts defending Big Sky Tournament champion Portland State in the first round of the preseason WNIT in ExtraMile Arena. Should the Broncos win, they’ll host the winner of the first-round Missouri State-Texas A&M Corpus Christi matchup on Sunday.

STEELIES SEEK TO REEL IN THE RUSH

The 2019-20 Idaho Steelheads have a very new experience to deal with: coming back from a blowout loss. The Steelheads have played in one-goal games during seven of their first 11 contests this season, the most of any team in the ECHL. Wednesday night was not one of them. For all his accolades, goalie Tomas Sholl was lifted following two periods at Rapid City after allowing all five Rush goals in the 5-1 defeat. The game was strange from there. Rapid City put up just two shots on goal in the third period, and backup netminder Colton Point stopped them both.

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November 8, 1970: One of the all-time NFL highlight clips. The disbelieving Detroit Lions watch New Orleans kicker Tom Dempsey, born without toes on the foot he uses for kicking, come in to attempt a 63-yard field goal. The boot sailed through the uprights as time expired, giving the Saints a 19-17 win. It was an NFL record—tied by Denver’s Jason Elam in 1998 and broken by the Broncos’ Matt Prater with a 64-yarder in 2013. Four other NFL kickers have connected from 63 yards, including Brett Maher of the Dallas Cowboys this season.

(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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