Idaho Sports Talk with Bob Behler


SCOTT SLANT: No. 9 is ready to be No. 2

Wednesday, October 16, 2019.

My first thought upon Boise State quarterback Jaylon Henderson entering the Hawaii game when he did last Saturday night—on the second possession of the third quarter in the heat of the battle—was that the Broncos were immediately prepping him to be the No. 2 quarterback for the rest of October. Hank Bachmeier had departed in the second quarter, and Chase Cord had already thrown his first two touchdown passes. For those who have forgotten what a great locker room guy Henderson has been the past year, he emerged last spring as a leader and had as good a Blue & Orange Game as any Bronco. Henderson was 9-for-13 for 187 yards and threw the day’s lone TD pass. Now, after the first extended playing time of his career versus Hawaii, the coaching staff has no hesitation in putting him out there.


“Reeling BYU, No. 14 Boise State both dealing with injury questions at QB as rivalry game approaches.” That was a headline in the Deseret News. It talks, of course, about the Broncos going without Hank Bachmeier Saturday and the Cougars forging ahead with Zach Wilson—and now probably Jaren Hall—absent. But go back to that headline. In Provo, this is considered a rivalry game. When this 22-games-in-23-years series began, that kind of talk would have been ludicrous. But with Boise State winning five of the first seven games in the current series, and BYU in its ninth year of independence and lacking the juice of conference clashes, it’s feeling like a rivalry. The Broncos don’t have Nevada or Fresno State on an annual basis anymore (nor Idaho, for that matter). Both teams will have an extra gear this week.


As for that BYU quarterback situation, the Cougars are “hopeful” Hall can pass the concussion protocol but are prepared to go with redshirt freshman Baylor Romney Saturday night in LaVell Edwards Stadium. Romney, a distant relative of Utah Senator Mitt Romney, went 6-for-10 for 73 yards in relief of Hall at South Florida last week. The other option for BYU is sophomore Joe Critchlow, who surprisingly burned his redshirt year versus Boise State two years ago before sitting out last season. Critchlow was bypassed at USF when Hall was injured and still has not played yet this year. “I think (Romney) is more suited for what we had established in the game plan against South Florida,” said coach Kalani Sitake. On a personal note, Critchlow’s married to Mitt Romney’s daughter. So there.


The Athletic has unveiled its midseason All-America squads, and Boise State’s Curtis Weaver is a first-teamer. Weaver, listed as a defensive end, is one of only two Group of 5 players on the first team. The other is Nevada true freshman kicker Brandon Talton. Also from The Athletic, a list of “five draft-eligible NFL prospects who aren’t being talked about right now as first-round players, but that could change over the second half of the season and into the NFL Draft process.” One is Boise State wide receiver John Hightower. “Projecting players forward is about identifying key traits (like game-changing speed) that translate well to the next level,” writes Dane Brugler. “Hightower has that type of speed and that is why he has at least an outside shot of working his way into the top-50 mix and maybe the first round.”


The Mountain West’s current hoops elite, Utah State, San Diego State, New Mexico and Nevada, were picked to finish at the top of the conference (in that order) in the preseason media poll Tuesday. The Broncos have four starters back and could easily overachieve this prediction. USU has just about everybody back, too, including Preseason Player of the Year Sam Merrill, but the Aggies received all 17 first-place votes in the poll. Boise State’s Derrick Alston was an honorable mention All-MW selection last March, but the junior guard is first-team all-league in the preseason poll. Alston’s 12.8-points-per-game scoring increase from his freshman to sophomore years was the second-best leap in NCAA Division I last season.


It’s like old times for Idaho Steelheads netminder Tomas Sholl. For the fourth time in his career, Sholl has been named ECHL Goaltender of the Week after a solid opening weekend. Sholl won both games at Utah, posting a 1.50 goals-against average and a save percentage of .958. Here are some cool numbers on Sholl: in 60 career ECHL games with Idaho and Adirondack, he has an overall record of 42-12-4 with seven shutouts, a 2.00 goals-against average and a save percentage of .935. He and his fellow Steelies make their season home debut Friday night in CenturyLink Arena against the Wichita Thunder.


Back to football—it’s difficult to think Idaho State isn’t getting Idaho at a good time Saturday in the Kibbie Dome. The Bengals have topped 50 points in two of their past three games, and the Vandals are coming off their first shutout in six years, the 24-0 loss at Portland State last week. And then there was last year’s Battle of the Domes at Holt Arena, a 62-28 Idaho State romp. ISU rolled up a staggering 754 yards on the Vandals as Tanner Gueller threw eight touchdown passes and the Bengals gained 10.9 yards per snap on the day. Idaho totaled 514 yards of its own but could not keep up. Another track meet Saturday would not favor the Vandals.


College of Idaho plays three home-and-home series this season as part of the Frontier Conference schedule, and the first of them wraps up Saturday when the No. 8 Coyotes host Montana Tech at Simplot Stadium. The two teams first met in Butte in Week 2, with the Yotes dropping the Orediggers 28-14. Montana Tech is stout defensively, allowing only 249 yards per game. But C of I tailback Nick Calzaretta had 247 yards rushing by himself against Tech in September. The Yotes ran for 347 yards as a team that day amassed 510 overall. Watch the red zone Saturday—C of I is a perfect 24-for-24 inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, notching 19 touchdowns and five field goals.


Former Boise State star Tyrone Crawford hasn’t had much to show for the 2019 season, and now it’s over. The Dallas defensive lineman is going on injured reserve and will undergo surgery for an ailment that’s been described as “hip bursitis.” Crawford was held out of training camp because of the problem and has played in four games this season, with only three tackles and one sack. There’s still no word on any kind of punishment for Crawford over his bar altercation last spring in Florida. The probe remains open in the NFL front office. Crawford is in his seventh NFL season and has 180 career tackles and 23 sacks.

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October 16, 1969, 50 years ago today: They went into the season as 100-to-1 shots to win the World Series, but the New York Mets shock the world by beating Baltimore 5-3 to take the championship four games-to-one. Symbolizing the “Miracle Mets” moniker, the team earned that season, the Mets rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win the decisive Game 5. The surge began when the Mets’ Cleon Jones was awarded first base after shoe polish on the ball proved he was hit by a pitch. Jones then scored on a two-run homer by Donn Clendenon.

(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: Reviewing Group of 5 resumes

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019.

Halfway through the 2019 season, let’s update some Group of 5 portfolios, understanding that the CFP committee could seriously shuffle the deck on November 5. Boise State is 6-0, of course, and leading the Group of 5 in the major polls (No. 14 in AP and No. 13 in the Coaches Poll). The Broncos’ season-opening win at Florida State is lukewarm considering the Seminoles’ struggles (FSU is 3-3 after its 45-14 loss at Clemson Saturday). Marshall has been a disappointment, also sitting at 3-3. No telling how much a win at BYU this week would help Boise State. A loss, of course, would be devastating in the New Year’s Six bowl discussion.

Two teams chasing Boise State, one from the American conference and one from the Sun Belt, are also still undefeated. SMU has a three-point win over TCU, and Appalachian State, coached by former Bronco offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz, has a three-point victory over North Carolina. Neither triumph is enough to trump the Broncos at this point. The Mountaineers do have a game at South Carolina on November 9, and a win there would be significant. Among the one-loss G-5 teams, Cincinnati has that upset of UCF but lost 42-0 at Ohio State. And Temple has defeated Maryland and Georgia Tech but has a 16-point loss at Buffalo. The mantra inside the Bleymaier Football Center has to be, “Just win baby.”


The information coming from Boise State coach Bryan Harsin hasn’t changed since his postgame press conference following the win over Hawaii. Hank Bachmeier’s apparent hip injury in the second quarter Saturday night is “not season-ending.” Harsin didn’t talk about who would start for the Broncos this week in Provo. But the consensus, at least among media hacks, is that Chase Cord will get the call at BYU and Bachmeier will have to sit out. Boise State has a bye next week—perhaps Bachmeier could return for the game at San Jose State on November 2. Harsin praised Cord Monday (as he often does), this time for staying so mentally focused after he tore his ACL one year ago. “For me, that’s one thing I always admire,” said Harsin.


Some national notice for Boise State wide receiver John Hightower (and there’ll likely be more). Hightower was named Monday to the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll for Week 7 after his big game against Hawaii. Hightower had seven receptions for 141 yards, including touchdown catches of 26 and 42 yards. The latter marked the 10th scoring play of 40 or more yards in Hightower’s Bronco career. Cord judged Hightower’s elite speed perfectly on that one, and he simply ran the ball down far behind the Rainbow Warriors defender. Hightower also rushed for eight yards and had a 34-yard kickoff return. He leads Boise State with 444 receiving yards and five TD catches.


BYU linebacker Chaz Ah You talked Monday about the matchup with Boise State this week being a rivalry game. Ah You also talked about why it’s personal for him. “Ever since I was a little kid, when they beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl on those little trick plays,” he said. “My uncle, C.J. Ah You, was playing for Oklahoma, so ever since then, I’ve had hard feelings for Boise State.” But it’s more about getting the Cougars out of the doldrums. They’re beset by injuries, and they’re 2-4. “We know we’re better than that, and so it hurts,” running back Lopini Katoa said. “We couldn’t ask for a better game than to get Boise State at home and play in front of our fans.”


Getting up to No. 8 in the nation is like getting close to the end zone: there’s not a lot of room to move. Undefeated College of Idaho remains eighth in the new NAIA Coaches Poll after its 47-14 takedown of Carroll College Saturday in Helena. Montana Tech is ranked 19th, and it’s the Orediggers who come to Simplot Stadium to face the Coyotes this Saturday. Meanwhile, Yotes quarterback Darius-James Peterson has been named Frontier Conference Offensive Player of the Week for the sixth time in his career. Peterson had 400 yards of total offense at Carroll, the fifth time in his career he has recorded 400 or more yards in a game.


While gripes over coordinator Kellen Moore’s offense grip Dallas, another former Boise State star is finally getting his chance to shine. Amari Cooper left the Cowboys’ loss to the New York Jets in the first quarter Sunday, and fellow wide receiver Randall Cobb was out with a bad back. That opened the door for Cedrick Wilson to make the first five catches of his NFL career, covering 46 yards. Wilson accomplished that on six targets (he was called for a phantom offensive pass interference penalty). Injuries could produce another opportunity for Wilson this Sunday against Philadelphia. He may have already earned it on merit.


There are only two former Boise Hawks left in the MLB Playoffs, Gleyber Torres of the New York Yankees and Robinson Chirinos of the Houston Astros. Both are in the American League Championship Series, and both are Venezuelans, but that’s where the similarities end. Torres, the Yanks’ star 22-year-old second baseman, is having a stellar postseason. He’s batting .409 with two home runs and nine RBI. Torres was a Hawk for about a week and a half five years ago. Chirinos spent the 2002 season in Boise and is 35 now. He signed with the Astros this season after six years with the Texas Rangers. Chirinos’ postseason has not been so stellar—he is 2-for-16. The ALCS is tied at a game apiece, with Game 3 set for this afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

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October 15, 1994, 25 years ago today: Idaho State rallies in the final seconds to upset Boise State, 32-31, at Holt Arena in Pocatello. The Bengals overcame a big night by BSU tailback K.C. Adams, who became just the second Bronco ever to record 100 yards both rushing and receiving in the same game. Boise State had gone into the game 6-0, and it would be the only blemish on the Broncos’ magical 1994 season until they fell to Youngstown State two months later in 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: Well, it happened

Monday, October 14, 2019.

We found out a lot about the quarterback position in Boise State’s 59-37 win over Hawaii Saturday night. One, that it is as fragile as we thought it was. And, that the Broncos have a capable combo moving forward, whether Hank Bachmeier can play or not. in order of appearance, Bachmeier was just 3-of-9 before leaving the game in the second quarter with what coach Bryan Harsin said might be a hip pointer, but he did cover 58 yards and had a beautiful TD strike to John Hightower. Chase Cord threw his own dime into Hightower’s hands, one of three touchdown passes he threw as he went 12-of-18 for 175 yards. And Jaylon Henderson looked solid, going 6-of-10 for 82 yards and his first career TD. Hank or no Hank at BYU this week, the team’s in good hands.


One thing that struck me Saturday night was Boise State opening the floodgates on offense. As in, the Broncos gave Hawaii an awful lot to chew on. Five different players took snaps from center in the first quarter alone (wildcatters Khalil Shakir and John Hightower in addition to the three quarterbacks). There was a wildcat option featuring Hightower and Akilian Butler (called back on a forward lateral) and a wide receiver pass with Hightower on which he tucked and ran. George Holani threw a personal kitchen sink at the Rainbow Warriors, scoring the first three touchdowns of his college career, two as a receiver and one as a rusher. Holani’s the first Broncos running back to snag two TD passes in a game since the late Dan Paul against Nevada in 2009. How fitting it was, considering the emotional pregame ceremony.


The throng of 36,902 Saturday night, the biggest in Albertsons Stadium history and the first sellout since Coach Pete’s return with Washington in 2015, deserves a lot of credit in this one. Stephen Tsai of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser blogged five minutes into the game, “This is the loudest crowd of UH’s three road games.” And that includes one in front 67,000 fans at Husky Stadium. Boise State thus moves into the lead in Mountain West attendance this season at 34,105 per game. Fresno State is second at 32,912 per game. The Broncos’ average last year was 33,068, and that was with home games against BYU, San Diego State and the Bulldogs. There are two home dates left in November against Wyoming and New Mexico.


Did somebody mention that Boise State’s Kekaula Kaniho is just a playmaker? The junior nickel didn’t surprised anyone Saturday night who played high school football against him on the Islands. After all, he finished his senior year at Kahuku with five pick-sixes. And there Kaniho was on the blue turf, ripping the ball away from Hawaii wide receiver Cedric Bird II and recovering the fumble in the first quarter. It was just an ordinary play—until Kaniho arrived. That was one of three Broncos fumble recoveries that led to 21 points, no small factor in a 22-point win. Add in Khafari Buffalo’s interception on the game’s final play, and Boise State now finds itself plus-two in turnover margin for the season.


Other games of note from the weekend. BYU was already hurting with quarterback Zach Wilson out. So the Cougars started the first black QB in school history, Jalen Hall, at South Florida Saturday. But Hall was lifted in the fourth quarter due to concussion symptoms. And all the while, BYU blew a 23-14 third quarter lead and lost to the Bulls 27-23. The Cougars are now 2-4, and are likely to start redshirt freshman Baylor Romney this week versus Boise State. In the Mountain West, the two most eye-opening results were Fresno State’s 43-24 loss at Air Force, where the Bulldogs were outscored 21-3 in the second half, and UNLV’s 34-10 stunner at Vanderbilt, the conference’s ninth win over a Power 5 team this season.


All is well at College of Idaho, which has now won 11 games in a row dating back to last season. The Coyotes showed Carroll College that there is indeed a new sheriff in town, as they rolled over the Fighting Saints 47-14 Saturday in Helena. The Yotes amassed a season-high 575 yards of total offense, including 356 passing from Darius-James Peterson, who tied a school record with four touchdown passes. Wide receiver Connor Richardson had a monster day, with nine catches for 147 yards and two TDs. It was C of I’s third straight 40-point game, the first time the program has accomplished that since 1953. Even with football’s 37-year hiatus on the Caldwell campus, that’s impressive.


All is not well at the University of Idaho, which is now 2-5 after suffering its first shutout in six years, 24-0 Saturday at Portland State. The game was scoreless at halftime, but the Vikings inevitably heated up. The Vandals tried both Mason Petrino and Colton Richardson at quarterback, and they combined to go just 13-of-29 for 156 yards and four interceptions. Idaho mustered only 236 yards of total offense. The defeat is the Vandals’ third straight since their seemingly energizing upset of Eastern Washington. Now they have to face Idaho State this week in the Kibbie Dome. The Bengals dismantled North Dakota 55-20 Saturday in Pocatello.


The Everett Sheen era got out to a rousing start for the Idaho Steelheads over the weekend. The Steelheads, putting up two first period goals each night, swept the Utah Grizzlies in West Valley City, winning 3-2 Friday and 3-1 Saturday. Sheen went with Tomas Sholl between the pipes in both games. Sholl stopped 69 of 72 Utah shots on the weekend. And Brett Supinski scored a goal each night for the Steelies; those were the first two tallies of his pro career.


It’s baby steps for Graham DeLaet as he works his way back into a rhythm on the PGA Tour. In his second tournament back, he collected his first paycheck in two years with a tie for 70th at the Houston Open. DeLaet made the cut with a one-under 71 on Friday before ballooning to a 77 Saturday. But he turned in a two-under 70 on Sunday that included just one bogey. And the Boise State women’s soccer team has moved into sole possession of first place in the Mountain West after sweeping San Diego State and New Mexico over the weekend at the Boas Complex. Goalie Sidney Smith recorded a shutout on Sunday—she has nine clean sheets in 15 games this season and has now tied a school record with 13 victories.

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October 14, 2003: It wasn’t a record-setting inning per se, but it was historic in baseball lore. The Chicago Cubs, leading 3-0 and cruising toward their first World Series in 58 years, were five outs away in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series against Florida. Minutes later, Wrigley Field fan Steve Bartman had knocked a foul ball away from being out number two, a big error had been added at shortstop, and the Marlins had scored eight runs to stun the Cubs. They couldn’t recover in Game 7, and their legions of followers didn’t get over it until the magic of 2016.

(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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How Many QBs Is Enough?

Boise State has been known as a creative offensive team. Most opponents tell their defensive personnel every week they will see a few things they have never seen before from the Broncos.

Add rotating Qb’s to the list.

Who else can take the snap from the center? Wr’s John Hightower and Khalil Shakir have run the wildcat formation. Chase Cord has been inserted into almost every game to run a certain run/pass play or series. Now, Jaylon Henderson is getting his chance. Late in the 1st quarter, Boise St had the ball around midfield and Hank handed it off to Holani 3 straight times for a first down. So, of course, on 1st and 10 out trots not Chase Cord but Henderson to throw a pass. It is overthrown to Hightower and Hank comes back into the game for a 15 yard run to the Hawaii 24. Hank throws an incomplete and then Hightower takes over at Qb and runs a great option play towards the Broncos sideline but illegally heaves the ball forward for a penalty after an 8 yard gain. UGH. Hank throws one more incompletion to Thomas and they settle for a field goal.   That’s a lotta risk for a 3 point reward. 4 different players taking snaps as QB in the first quarter almost alone.

Makes a guy feel like he’s not enough.

Creating an unpredictable force is what the Boise State offense has represented too many since the first Fiesta Bowl win.  Coaches though would rather line ‘em up and run ‘em over. When the traditional RB run game can control a defense, you don’t necessarily need to rotate 3 QB’s, put Wr’s at Qb and involve your Wr’s in the run game. Why take the risk?

That’s not Boise State’s strength.

At half time, Mahone and Holani had 15 rushes for 57 yards and 1 TD. The other 28 plays gained 172 yards and produced 3 TDs. The window dressing is important to this offense as is deception and misdirection. Against Florida State, they ran over people. That hasn’t been the case since. I don’t think this will change as the year moves on. You could see this style develop when Rypien was struggling last year and Cozart took a ton of snaps as did Shakir as a wildcatter.

I guess it takes a village now at QB to win. Another Boise State innovation.

BSU vs Hawaii Score card (2)



The Boise State football team played in front of a record crowd, lost starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier to injury, and beat Hawaii 59-37 to become bowl eligible Saturday night at Albertsons Stadium.

The crowd of 36,902 set a school record as the Broncos raised their record to 6-0 overall, 3-0 in Mountain West play at the halfway point of the regular season. It was the first sellout since Washington 2015.


Bachmeier (3-of-9, 58 yards, TD) suffered his injury during a 4-yard run early in the second quarter and did not return. “It’s not going to be season ending. Hip pointer or something along those lines,” coach Bryan Harsin said.

Backups Chase Cord (12-18, 175 yards, 3 TDs) and Jaylon Henderson (6-10, 82 yards, first career TD pass at Boise State) finished the game.

Running back George Holani scored three TDs (25-yard pass from Henderson, 8-yard pass from Cord, 40 run), wide receiver Khalil Shakir scored twice (5 run, 33-yard pass from Cord), and wide receiver John Hightower caught TD passes from Bachmeier (26 yards) and Cord (42). Robert Mahone added a 13-yard TD run, and led all rushers with 74 yards.

Boise State outgained Hawaii 518-438.

POST-GAME NOTES: Boise State is 7-0 at home against Hawaii, and has outscored the Rainbow Warriors 156-44 in the last three games on The Blue. … Hightower has 10 career scoring plays of 40-plus yards. … Five different players took snaps at quarterback in the first half, including the three QBs, Shakir and Hightower. … Three different QBs threw touchdowns in a game for the first time since Utah State in 2008. … Boise State’s three decisive drives in the third quarter covered 75, 66 and 75 yards. … Holani had no TDs at Boise State until Saturday night when the true freshman had three. He became the first Boise State running back with two receiving touchdowns in a game since Dan Paul had three Nov. 27, 2009 vs. Nevada. Paul passed away in his sleep this past summer, and his family was honored on the field before the game. … Boise State had 11 penalties for 95 yards, and now has 21 penalties in the past two games. … Safety Khafari Buffalo’s interception on the final play was his first at Boise State. … Boise State forced a season-high four turnovers, including three fumbles. … Cord (175) and Henderson (82) each set career highs for passing yards. … Boise State has won at least six straight games in a season for the fourth straight year and fifth time in six campaigns under Harsin. … The Broncos won for the 117th consecutive time at home when leading after three quarters, the longest active streak in the country (LSU is second with 73).



SCOTT SLANT: Classic Hawaii scheme resurfaces

Friday, October 11, 2019.

There’ll be shades of June Jones Saturday night when Hawaii hits the blue turf to face Boise State. Jones was the curator of the run-and-shoot offense with the Rainbow Warriors from 1999-2007, and current UH coach Nick Rolovich was one of his quarterbacks. Rolovich has brought that attack back, and it’s primarily responsible for the Warriors’ 4-1 start this season. One of the key facets of that offense is receivers flooding an area and then improvising—and Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald knows what to look for, and where. Rolovich would like to put the “run” in run-and-shoot, but the Rainbow Warriors are 11th in the Mountain West in rushing at 124 yards per game and have the fewest rushing attempts. So most of the Broncos’ focus will be on McDonald—and ways to get to him.


George Holani is Boise State’s new leading rusher. Whether that’s significant remains to be seen. The true freshman has a lead of just one yard over junior Robert Mahone. Has Mahone retained his starting spot in practice this week after his second quarter fumble at UNLV last Saturday? Holani was the No. 1 guy in the second half in Las Vegas. “George hung onto the ball,” said Broncos coach Bryan Harsin. “Ball security’s very important around here. I don’t think that’s a secret.” Prediction: the committee approach continues, with Andrew Van Buren poised to see more touches. “They know what’s at stake,” Harsin said. “I love all our tailbacks.”


Junior nickel Kekaula Kaniho is perhaps the most fired-up Boise State Bronco as Hawaii comes to town. Kaniho hails from Kahuku, HI, and knows a good chunk of the Rainbow Warriors. But let’s look at Kaniho from a football perspective. No matter who the Broncos are playing, he’s one of their most valuable assets. Kaniho has been a playmaker from the beginning two years ago. This year he has seven tackles for loss, second in the Mountain West behind teammate and sackmaster Curtis Weaver. Boise State has only three interceptions this season, and Kaniho has one of them. He’s also the team leader in pass breakups with three. Fittingly, Kaniho has been named the Broncos’ fourth gameday captain for the Hawaii game.


With KTIK’s John Patrick putting “60 Ways They Hit Our QB” to music this week, let’s get an update on the purest form of that: sacks. The alarms were sounding after Boise State allowed six sacks in the Florida State game and 11 over the first three games. But the Broncos have yielded just one sack apiece in the past two wins over Air Force and UNLV. Hey, it’s down to about 2½ per game for the season now. Hank Bachmeier’s not taking as many shots. Not only is the pass protection better, but so is Bachmeier’s peripheral vision.


Not only do the top two teams in Mountain West power rankings meet Saturday night on the blue turf, virtually every other team playing this week faces a similar moment of truth. Tonight we’ll see which team is headed south the fastest, Colorado State or New Mexico. On Saturday, San Jose State can establish itself as legit and send Nevada into a tailspin with a win in Reno, the mysterious Fresno State will find out a lot about itself at Air Force, Wyoming and San Diego State will try to break out of the middle of the pack, and UNLV seeks an upset at Vanderbilt in the MW’s last regular-season game against the Power 5. By the way, Kenyon Oblad will start at quarterback for the Rebels for the second straight week in place of injured Armani Rogers.


Idaho’s most impressive defensive effort of the 2018 season came in a 20-7 win over Portland State in the Kibbie Dome. On Saturday the Vandals get the Vikings in PSU’s makeshift home at Hillsboro Stadium. Portland State quarterback Davis Alexander is a lot better this year (Boise State saw last month how slippery he can be). The Vikings can be a bit inconsistent—they absorbed a 51-24 loss at Idaho State two weeks ago before routing Southern Utah 52-31 last Saturday. In the Frontier Conference, the leader will try to stay there as undefeated College of Idaho visits Carroll College Saturday in Helena. It’s going to be a crisp, sunny day, tailor-made for the Coyotes running game led by Nick Calzaretta. The junior already has 598 yards rushing this season and is on pace to smash the 1,000-yard barrier.


With all the talk surrounding Kellen Moore and the Dallas offense, there’s been less out there about the Cowboys defense (unless you live in the Metroplex). The consensus: it’s underperforming so far this season, and DeMarcus Lawrence doesn’t offer any excuses. In a story by Clarence E. Hill Jr. in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Lawrence was asked if his nagging injuries were a factor in the Cowboys’ struggles defending the run. “Who cares?” Lawrence said. “You care? Be honest. Do you really care?” Lawrence said the defense needs to get its swagger back Sunday against the New York Jets. What’s been missing? “Basic fundamentals,” he said. Lawrence has just eight tackles and 2.5 sacks so far this season.


Among the 14 Idaho Steelheads returning from last season are the team’s second and fourth-leading scorers as the 2019-20 season opens tonight at Utah. A.J. White, the Steeheads captain, scored 16 goals with 35 assists last season, while Kyle Schempp also tallied 16 goals and added 25 helpers. White scored once in the 5-1 exhibition win over the Grizzlies last Saturday night. Like last season, Idaho and Utah meet 15 times during the upcoming campaign. On the PGA Tour, it’s obviously going to take some time for Graham DeLaet to get his groove back. The former Boise State standout shot a one-over 73 Thursday in the first round of the Houston Open. He’ll need a stellar day today to make the cut.


Boise State women’s soccer hosts San Diego State today and New Mexico on Sunday. This is a pivotal weekend for all three teams—the Broncos and Aztecs are tied for second place in the Mountain West behind the Lobos. Boise State men’s basketball hosts its annual preseason open scrimmage tomorrow evening after the Homecoming parade, beginning with a dunk contest. That’ll get folks into old Bronco Gym. Speaking of the parade, the Bronco women’s hoopsters, the two-time defending Mountain West champions, are in it. Their coach, Gordy Presnell, is the Grand Marshall.

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October 11, 2014, five years ago today: Mississippi State beats Auburn, 38-23, the Bulldogs’ third straight win over a Top 10 team, to improve to 6-0. The following day, MSU would vault to No. 1 in both the AP and Coaches Polls, marking the fastest rise to the top ever in college football. The Bulldogs were the first team in the AP Poll’s 78-year history to go from unranked to No. 1 in five weeks. The previous mark was six weeks by Ohio State in 1954. Mississippi State’s rival, Ole Miss, was also 6-0 and was No. 3 on both lists. The Rebels had opened the season with a 35-13 win over Boise State at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff in Atlanta.

(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: All-MW QB—a two-horse race?

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Thursday, October 10, 2019.

Are these guys now the two best quarterbacks in the Mountain West? Hawaii’s Cole McDonald and Boise State’s Hank Bachmeier will face off on the blue turf Saturday night, and the player who performs the best will emerge as the favorite for first-team All-Mountain West at the end of the season. McDonald leads the conference in pass efficiency rating at 161.0, and Bachmeier is second at 150.6 (a number that continues to rise). There’s a big drop from there, as Josh (not Jordan) Love of San Jose State is next at 139.3. McDonald has thrown 17 touchdown passes in five games to Bachmeier’s eight. But McDonald has also tossed nine interceptions to Bachmeier’s three. The duo by itself will be worth the price of admission at Albertsons Stadium.


It’s who McDonald throws to that has been causing the midnight oil to be burned at the Bleymaier Football Center. Boise State coach Bryan Harsin singled out Cedric Byrd II when talking about Hawaii’s wide receivers group on Monday. Byrd leads the Mountain West in receiving with 40 catches, 498 yards and nine touchdowns. But the Rainbow Warriors have Nos. 2 and 3 as well, Jared Smart and JoJo Ward. Combine those three, and you get a whopping 97 grabs, 1,268 yards and 16 TDs in five games. This is the week that Harsin says will mark the return of safety and secondary leader DeAndre Pierce, who hasn’t played since being injured in the first half at Florida State. The Broncos will be glad to have him.


There are only two players left from Boise State’s active roster in 2015, Akilian Butler and David Moa. Butler redshirted in 2017 after tearing his ACL at Washington State, so like Moa, he’s played against Hawaii twice. It’s ironic that Butler scored a rushing touchdown at UNLV last week, because that kind of bookends his career. His first TD as a Bronco was against the Rainbow Warriors in 2015, and it came on the ground as well (on a 10-yard reverse). He has two receiving touchdowns and two rushing TDs in his career. As soon as DK Blaylock left the team in August to pursue basketball, Butler claimed Blaylock’s No. 7 jersey and embarked on what so far has been a productive senior year. He has 15 receptions for 197 yards this season. Can a TD catch be far behind?


I like to look at the weather in games like this. And why not? Hawaii’s making a little trip over from the tropics. The record-setting cold will moderate by the time Saturday night gets here. It’s expected to be clear and calm at kickoff, with a temperature of about 50. That must sound frigid to the Rainbow Warriors, but Hawaii promises to power through it. When UH played in Reno two weeks ago, it was rainy and breezy and 39 degrees. Fairly miserable. But the Warriors proceeded to thrash Nevada 54-3. Boise will be the banana belt to those guys.


There are watch lists here, there and everywhere in July and August. Then the candidates are whittled during the season, and we never hear much about those awards again. But Boise State’s Curtis Weaver appears to be a legit contender for the Lott IMPACT Trophy after being named one of 16 quarterfinalists for the honor on Wednesday. The award recognizes the player who makes the biggest “IMPACT” on his team both on and off the field (IMPACT stands for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity). Weaver, the current national leader with nine sacks, checks all the boxes for the Broncos.


After a humbling 59-20 loss at Montana in a game it once led 17-0, Idaho State picks up the pieces back home in Holt Arena Saturday versus North Dakota. The Bengals had scored on a pair of explosive 71-yard plays, a touchdown catch by Michael Dean and a run by Ty Flanagan, before the wheels fell off against the Grizzlies. Despite some struggles in Missoula, quarterback Matt Struck still boasts an excellent pass efficiency rating of 161.7, throwing for 962 yards with 10 touchdown passes against just one interception. UND comes into the game 3-2; the Fighting Hawks are 4-0 all-time in Pocatello.


While we wonder which newcomers will impact the Boise State men’s basketball team the most this winter—and there will be some significant ones—a veteran junior will be key to the Broncos’ fortunes. Derrick Alston returns after a season that saw a remarkable leap from his redshirt freshman campaign. He averaged 0.6 points per game and hit a total of one three-pointer in 2017-18. Last season Alston scored 13.4 points per game, logging nine 20-point games and two 30-point outings. It was the largest points-per-game jump in Boise State history. The lanky but athletic Alston had put on only three pounds over last season, weighing in at 188 pounds. But he’s listed as an inch taller now, standing 6-9. The Broncos play their annual open scrimmage Saturday in Bronco Gym following the Homecoming parade.


College of Idaho cruised to a 31-6 record in Cody Blaine’s first season as men’s basketball coach, and the Cascade Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll says the Coyotes should maintain. The Yotes, who made a second straight trip to the NAIA Division II national semifinals last March, are picked to finish second behind Oregon Tech. C of I won the Cascade tournament title in 2018-19, but the Owls advanced all the way to the championship game at the national tournament. They return all five starters from a 28-8 squad. The Yotes are led by a couple of former Treasure Valley standouts: NAIA first-team All-American Talon Pinckney from Centennial and All-CCC pick Nate Bruneel from Rocky Mountain.


Troy Merritt is taking the week off from the PGA Tour, but fellow former Bronco and Eagle resident Graham DeLaet is entered in the Houston Open today, ready to test his healing back for the second consecutive week. DeLaet returned to the tour for the first time in almost two years in Las Vegas last week and missed the cut. DeLaet carded a 75 and 72 at TPC at Sunderlin, but in each round he got hot and strung together three birdies. “The back held up pretty well,” DeLaet told “Obviously I’m not happy with the score but I’m happy to be back. It’s been so long. You can play all the little money games with your buddies at home but it’s a little different on this stage.”

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October 10, 1969: The birthday of one of the NFL’s most popular quarterbacks. Brett Favre came out of Southern Mississippi and was drafted by Atlanta in 1991. Green Bay traded a first-round draft pick for Favre in 1992, and he spent the next 16 seasons as a Packers icon. He led the Pack to two Super Bowls, winning it after the 1997 season. Favre retired from and returned to the NFL twice, finishing his career with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings. He holds the NFL record for most consecutive regular-season starts with 253, spanning his time with all three teams. Brett Favre, believe it or not, is 50 years old today.

(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: Game ball candidates—in the stands

Wednesday, October 9, 2019.

There’s one group in Boise State’s world that hasn’t received enough credit this year. It’s the crowd. At a time when college football attendance is eroding, this was supposed to be the season of comeuppance for the Broncos, with an unattractive home schedule, three straight home games in September (two on Fridays), and no Brett Rypien nor Alexander Mattison. Instead, crowds have topped 31,000 in each of the first three home games, including for an 8:15 p.m. start against FCS Portland State. Then the Air Force game approached a sellout, drawing 36,498 on a Friday night.

So hopes are high for the Hawaii game this Saturday—35,000, anyone? And Bronco Nation creates quite an environment. Tradition still reigns on the blue turf. Going back to the beginning of the 21st century, noise on every defensive down (not just third) has been a thing. And Boise State points out that since the beginning of the 2018 season, Broncos opponents have committed 36 false starts at Albertsons Stadium, the most by a visiting team at any FBS stadium in the country.


Here’s hoping the aforementioned fans take their seats early Saturday night. Boise State is doing something really cool, renaming the “Hammer” the “Dan Paul Hammer” in honor of the popular Bronco fullback who passed away this summer. Paul will be remembered “for both the way he played the game and the way he lived his life.” Members of Paul’s family will serve as honorary captains for the coin toss. The big picture: Paul’s teammates on the 2009 Boise State team that went 14-0, won the Fiesta Bowl and finished No. 4 in the nation will also be honored at the Hawaii game. The school reports that more than 40 former Broncos from that squad are returning.


The band is back together, but the script has flipped since the last day of August. Boise State’s offensive line at UNLV was (finally) the same one that opened the season at Florida State. Against the Seminoles, the run game was humming, with Robert Mahone rushing for 142 yards and George Holani adding 70. Conversely, quarterback Hank Bachmeier was sacked five times and was hit on countless other throws. In Las Vegas, Bachmeier was kept mostly upright, as he was sacked only once. But outside of Holani’s 46-yard fourth quarter dash, he and Mahone combined for just 47 yards on 17 carries. October’s dawn was kind of a throwback to the past couple of Septembers. We know the O-line is better than that.


The strange story circulating Tuesday was that the New Orleans Saints defense had studied Boise State tape from Kellen Moore’s years as the Broncos’ legendary quarterback to help them decipher the Dallas offense 10 days ago. According to Steve Wyche of NFL Network, the Saints found that Moore was employing some of the same hand signals he had used on the field at Boise State. That helped New Orleans bottle up the Cowboys. Moore, in only his second year as a coach and first as the Dallas offensive coordinator, is finding out how resourceful (and sneaky) NFL opponents can be, and he will adjust. But it’s just one more thing to set off the fickle Dallas fan base.

Consider this, though. The Dallas offense was slicing its way down the field with ease on its opening possession against Green Bay on Sunday—until Amari Cooper had a Dak Prescott pass go right through his hands for an interception. Let’s just say it wasn’t Moore’s fault. Nor were Prescott’s other interceptions. But Moore is a target for blame nevertheless. Forget that Prescott threw for 463 yards, the second-most in franchise history, and that Dallas rung up 563 yards on the Packers, the fifth-most ever by the Cowboys, and notched 32 first downs, tied for the second-most. Ah, life in the NFL.


If big plays are “it” in college football, then Nick Romano is quickly developing the “it” factor at Idaho. The true freshman out of Rocky Mountain High has made big splashes in each of the last two weeks for the Vandals, contributing runs of 40 and 27 yards at Northern Colorado and a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown versus Weber State. Romano had his first 100-yard rushing game in Greeley (132 yards on just 15 carries). He leads Idaho in yards per carry at 6.7 and is second in rushing yards with 261. Romano and the Vandals will try to snap their two-game skid in sleepy Hillsboro Stadium Saturday against the Portland State Vikings.


The Idaho Steelheads regular season is upon us. The core of any hockey team is its goalies, and the Steelheads are fortunate enough to have two experienced returning goaltenders on the roster, Tomas Sholl and Colton Points. Sholl is going into his third season with Idaho, and he showed what might lie ahead by stopping 25 of 26 shots in the Steelies’ exhibition win over Utah last Saturday night. Sholl was a shutout sorcerer in his first go-round with the Steelheads late in the 2017-18 season, blanking opponents four times in just 14 games. The 25-year-old Hermosa Beach, CA, native posted three more shutouts in 39 appearances for Idaho last season. The Steelheads open Friday night against the Grizzlies in West Valley City.

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October 9, 1989, 30 years ago today: The San Francisco Giants win their first pennant in 27 years, ending Chicago’s latest World Series dream. The Giants beat the Cubs 3-2 at Candlestick Park to take the National League Championship Series, four games to one. Will Clark hit .650 in the NLCS to win MVP honors, leading the Giants into a Bay Bridge Series against the Oakland A’s—one that would be interrupted for 10 days by the Loma Prieta earthquake.

(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: A confident, motivated foe on the Blue

Tuesday, October 8, 2019.

I saved a couple snippets from a Ferd Lewis column in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser 10 days ago, because I was still in disbelief over Hawaii’s 54-3 demolition of Nevada in Reno. With a bye week ahead, you can imagine what the Rainbow Warriors were like after the game. This from Lewis: “’On to Boise!’ was a popular—and telling—refrain as the team triumphantly made its way out of frigid Mackay Stadium. ‘Hopefully, the mind-set for Boise is like (Nevada),’ coach Nick Rolovich said watching his players celebrate. Running back Fred Holly III said, ‘I don’t want to speak too early. But, I feel like we love rising to the occasion of challenges. We love going somewhere when we’re against all the odds, the weather, the (elevation), just like this place (Nevada).” The Mainland isn’t so intimidating to UH these days.


KTVB Sports Director (and renowned stathead) Jay Tust had three interesting tweets Monday regarding Boise State’s Curtis Weaver, the national leader in sacks and now the Mountain West’s career leader in that category after recording three at UNLV. 1) “Weaver is the only player in the FBS with multiple 3+ sack performances this season, including an FBS-best 4.0 in a single game.” 2) “He’s also the only player in the FBS with 9.0+ sacks in each of the last three seasons.” 3) “Weaver, the Mountain Defensive Preseason Player of the Year, has NEVER been named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week. Not even once.”


Consider the much-maligned Joel Velazquez a rejuvenated man. The Boise State punter and kickoff specialist began the UNLV game with punts of 34 and 33 yards. But by the end of the night, Velazquez had a 42.9-yard average with a long of 56, and three boots placed inside the Rebels 20-yard line. He’s also the Broncos’ long-range placekicker, and he came on to nail a 52-yard field goal as time ran out in the first half. It was Boise State’s longest field goal in nine years, and—considering how the Broncos defense was playing—it was a dagger in this game. Velazquez gave Boise State a 17-0 halftime lead. And that was enough at Sam Boyd Stadium.


Catching up on Boise State’s Nick Booker-Brown commitment. Booker-Brown’s brother, Josh, is already a Bronco linebacker, but he’s academically ineligible this season. Josh went through a lot to get to Boise, and Nick must figure it’s worth it. But maybe that’s why he waited so long to announce it—he apparently committed to the Broncos six weeks ago. Booker-Brown is a 6-4, 250-pound defensive end from Houston and is listed as a three-star recruit by He held 19 scholarship offers, including four from Power 5 schools, according to Rivals.


Fans have become numb to this—in Boise and in Provo. That doesn’t mean they like it. It was announced Monday that the kickoff for the Boise State-BYU game at LaVell Edwards Stadium a week from Saturday will be at 8:15 p.m. The Broncos and Hawaii have the same thing going this week on the blue turf, of course. A near-capacity crowd is expected for Homecoming, though. Hey, fans were unfazed 3½ weeks ago for the late start against FCS Portland State. It surprised the heck out of me. As for BYU this week, Cougars quarterback Jaren Hall will be making his first career start in place of injured Zach Wilson at South Florida (a very winnable game). Hall becomes the first black QB ever to start for BYU.


Nevada took a chance on quarterback Malik Henry this year, giving him a preferred walk-on spot. Now the Wolf Pack’s really taking a chance on Henry, naming him the starting QB in this Saturday’s game versus San Jose State after its offense was embarrassed in the 54-3 loss to Hawaii 10 days ago. Henry, a one-time five-star recruit, signed with Florida State in 2016 but eventually found himself at Independence Community College, the setting for the Netflix series “Last Chance U” last season. The show didn’t cast Henry in a favorable light. Now Nevada is Henry’s Last Chance U. He’s the Pack’s third different starter this season. We’ll see if Henry can seize the opportunity.


When College of Idaho revived its football program in 2014, Carroll College was the standard the Coyotes were trying to reach. The Fighting Saints have won six NAIA national championships in the 21st century and have won 26 Frontier Conference titles all-time. But it’ll be the Yotes, ranked No. 8 in the NAIA, who are favored this Saturday when the teams meet in Helena, MT. You can see it in C of I’s numbers. The 4-0 Yotes are averaging almost 40 points per game and giving up an average of just 16. They rush for 315 yards per game, the third-best mark in the country. But the College of Idaho defense has made the biggest strides this season. It’s allowing an average of just 289 yards over the first four games of 2019.


Speaking of C of I, the “Meet The Yotes” event is slated for tonight at J.A. Albertson Activities Center. There’ll be men’s and women’s scrimmages and fan contests. The NAIA season always starts earlier (earlier every year, in fact). The men open on Friday, October 25, at Montana Western. The Boise State men enter their third week of preseason practice today, with the Broncos’ earliest exhibition date ever coming up on Halloween versus West Coast Baptist College.

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

October 8, 1956: One of the defining moments in World Series history, as Yankee pitcher Don Larsen pitches a perfect game in a 2-0 win over the Brooklyn Dodgers. Larsen would end up Series MVP as the Yanks won another world championship. Nothing else in Larsen’s major league career came close to what happened that day—he was 81-91 with nine different teams over 14 years. According to Wikipedia, Larsen and his wife of more than 60 years, Corrine, still live in Hayden Lake, Idaho.

(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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It’s Time To Pay Student-Athletes For What They Already Own


The new college sports legislation you heard about this week is complicated, so let’s boil it down to something simple, something familiar to Boise State football fans.

All the fuss is about beanies, scarves and a grown man’s right to crochet.

We all remember Ian Johnson, the highly popular, highly eccentric running back from the original Fiesta Bowl days. He crocheted beanies and scarves by the hundreds, a hobby he started in high school and continued upon his arrival at Boise State.

In 2006, the NCAA told Johnson he couldn’t use his name, image or likeness for any type of financial gain.

He couldn’t promote the product.

He couldn’t collect $15 for a blue-and-orange fashion statement.

He couldn’t even give the beanies to charity.

Boise State officials shook their heads.

Boise State fans pounded their fists.

And the NCAA went about its greedy business — but 13 years later, that old, warped business is being forced to change, for the better.

The Ian Johnsons of the college athletic world are about to get paid, even if it takes a few years to wade through red tape, legal battles and the stubbornness of longtime college administrators who are afraid to lose control.

How can someone else control your name, image and likeness in the first place?

Find another billion-dollar business where suits who earn six- and seven-figure salaries and bonuses stash all the cash … and the teen-aged talent is told it can’t sell a $15 beanie.

It doesn’t exist.

And it shouldn’t exist in college athletics — a $14 billion industry, according to the New York Times.

That’s why California passed the Fair Pay to Play Act — a legitimate, game-changing bill with teeth that will forever alter college athletics, starting Jan. 1, 2023. And it’s why a dozen or so other states (and U.S. lawmakers in at least two states) have initiated their own debates with the hope that the NCAA joins the 21st Century.

Kellen Moore, as the winningest quarterback in college football history, should have the right to make a $1,000 a month doing car commercials.

Allie Ostrander, as a national champion runner, should be able to promote shoes and pocket cash.

Basketball star Derrick Alston should be able to sell his autograph for fair market value.

Soccer standout Raimee Sherle should be able to work a summer camp, or coach a youth team, and grab some summer spending money.

And if EA Sports wants to crank up its old “NCAA Football’’ video game, and give all represented athletes $1,000 and a free copy, it would be un-American to think that’s a poor idea.

Boise State athletic director Curt Apsey is opposed to the California act, which as of now, would only apply in California. In reality, depending on final details, a new law could actually help the local athletic department.

Right now, let’s say a local business gives Boise State athletics $250,000 a year.

In the future, an additional $2,500 could go to a student-athlete.

The Treasure Valley is a thriving business market, and the market could help Boise State maintain its status as a Group of Five power.

Would future Hank Bachmeiers want to sit deep on USC’s depth chart — and not make an extra dime — or would they want to come to Boise and become paid stars?

More Hank Bachmeiers in Boise, please.

By the way, none of this future money would come from the school, but from outside employers who want to attach their businesses to elite names, and compensate them through sponsorships, endorsements or employment.

Yes, there will be unintended consequences, agents-gone-bad, abuses of power, and it’s critical these details be worked out as best as possible, but who cares about the Alabamas of the world. They already do what they want. No impact on Boise State.

Yes, as Apsey correctly states, student-athletes are pampered more than ever before — and receive more money and side benefits than ever before. If done right, they leave college with a degree — and debt free.

But paying student-athletes for their name, image and likeness is the final hurdle to make all things right.

The NCAA, obviously, is fighting this because it wants a “fair and level playing field’’ — but that’s a joke. That doesn’t exist now, not even close.

Big boosters already impact college football.

Sneaker companies already run big-time college basketball.

Nike isn’t going to make every student-athlete on the Oregon campus a millionaire. That would be a bad business practice.

Let’s put the cashgrab out in public, for the student-athlete to profit, for the world to see, for universities to audit, and for the government to tax. It’s a win-win.

The Olympics used to be pure amateur, and when paychecks became involved, most of us cried foul. Professionalism would ruin the spirit of the Games, most of us said, but that never happened.

The same will happen with college athletics moving forward.

Let’s be honest: This is a nasty quagmire and nobody really knows what’s going to happen. By 2023, there could be one set of rules. Or 51.

At best, let’s hope smart people reach a reasonable compromise.

If nothing else, the new California law has stimulated important conversation. It has pressured the slow-moving NCAA to take on a sense of urgency. The organization must act, and act now.

And one day soon, student-athletes will collect the biggest wins of their lives: The right to own and operate their name, image and likeness.

If the big man on campus wants to crochet beanies and sell them for $15, so be it.

College athletics will survive.

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: An imperfect perfect record

Monday, October 7, 2019.

A lot is being made of Boise State being in the “driver’s seat” for the Group of 5 berth for the New Year’s Six bowl’s this season. The only thing people generally have to go on are the traditional polls, and the Broncos are up to No. 14 in both AP and the Coaches Poll this week. But keep in mind that we’re still four weeks away from the release of the first College Football Playoff rankings of the year, and that is the poll that counts. The CFP committee doesn’t care what the AP and Coaches Polls say and isn’t bound by them. There are now three American conference teams chasing the Broncos in the AP Poll: SMU, Memphis and Cincinnati. All three have pedigrees this season that might be attractive to the CFP committee. Boise State is undefeated, but it’s unpolished right now and livin’ on the edge.


One of the many priorities going into the UNLV trip was getting the running game untracked. Didn’t happen Saturday night—unless you consider the wide receivers’ role in Boise State’s 38-13 win at Sam Boyd Stadium. Through the first three quarters, Broncos wide receivers had three carries for 74 yards and a touchdown, while the running backs carried 15 times for just 34 yards, an average of 2.3 yards per carry. This against a Rebels team that gave up 374 yards rushing to Wyoming the week before. George Holani’s 46-yard run in the fourth evened it out a bit, but it’s critical that Boise State gets the ground game squared away this week.

It’s tough to nitpick a team that just won a road game by 25 points (hey, they covered the spread). Boise State had its true freshman quarterback, Hank Bachmeier, who threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns without a turnover, and wide receivers Khalil Shakir and John Hightower, who both had 100-yard nights. But there were two major areas of concern (in addition to running game basics): the Broncos’ most penalty yards in 22 years, 10 flags for 130 yards, and a 2-for-13 performance on third down. Thing is, these could be seen as aberrations. For example, Boise State’s penalty numbers the previous week versus Air Force: two for 10 yards. And I talked Friday about how good Bachmeier has been at moving the chains.


On the positive side, it was another dynamic defensive night for the Broncos. That’s been the key to this 5-0 start. The starters were pulled with 5½ minutes left in the game, and the backups were pretty busy after that. But to that point, Boise State had allowed only 198 yards, an average of three yards per play, and they had logged five sacks. Did somebody mention that Curtis Weaver had three of them? Weaver, of course, is now the Mountain West career sacks leader with 29.5. At any rate, the Rebels gained 133 yards in the final 5½ minutes, averaging 6.3 yards per play—the final count of 331 yards of total offense for UNLV was a little deceiving.


There were hopes that Utah State would strike a chord Saturday for the Mountain West, which has won eight games against the Power 5 this year. But the Aggies couldn’t stay with No. 5 LSU in a 42-6 rout in Death Valley. The potent USU offense was held to only 159 yards, and preseason MW Player of the Year Jordan Love was just 15-for-30 for 130 yards with three interceptions. And Air Force was favored over Navy in the first leg of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy series Saturday. The Falcons were in position to win after roaring back from a 21-9 fourth-quarter deficit to take the lead with three minutes remaining. But the Midshipmen took it back with 23 seconds left, then scored on a fumble return on the game’s final play to win 34-25.


The way Idaho played Weber State Saturday makes you think the loss at Northern Colorado was an aberration—and that the Vandals are close to being a really good football team. The Wildcats won 41-35, allowing more points by Idaho than by Mountain West foes San Diego State and Nevada combined. We’re talking the fourth-ranked team in the FCS. Two things did the Vandals in: a fake field goal that resulted in a 30-yard Weber touchdown, and three lost fumbles by quarterback Mason Petrino. The bottom line is that Idaho is in an 0-2 hole in Big Sky standings.


The top NFL highlight Sunday involving former Boise State standouts came from Philadelphia’s Orlando Scandrick, who scored on a 44-yard fumble return in a 31-6 win over the New York Jets. It was better than a scoop-and-score—Scandrick ripped the ball out of quarterback Luke Falk’s hands and raced to the end zone, showing the savvy of an 11-year NFL veteran. Elsewhere, after gaining only five yards on two carries the previous week, Alexander Mattison was productive again Sunday for Minnesota. He rushed for 52 yards on seven totes in the Vikings’ 28-10 victory over the New York Giants. Mattison would be seeing a lot more time if Dalvin Cook wasn’t so good. Cook had 132 yards on 21 attempts in the win.


The new Boise State baseball team needed to play somebody else for the first time, and they split their exhibition games over the weekend, beating Northwest Nazarene 11-9 and falling to Montana State-Billings 26-8 (not a misprint). “It’s good to get a little dose of humble pie,” said Broncos coach Gary Van Tol of the second game. Boise State now has 4½ months to get things squared away. And the Bronco women’s soccer team had its seven-game winning streak snapped in a 2-1 loss at Fresno State Sunday. Boise State defeated San Jose State 1-0 Friday on a Raimee Sherle goal in the 76th minute. It was the 10th goal of the season for Sherle, one of the nation’s top 10 scorers.


After three stellar rounds at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, Troy Merritt sure took it on the chin Sunday. The former Boise State star soared to a five-over 75 thanks to three double-bogeys and three more bogeys, and he tied for 63rd. Graham DeLaet missed the cut Friday in Vegas, but it must feel good to complete two rounds on the PGA Tour after a two-year layoff due to debilitating back problems. And the Idaho Steelheads and Utah Grizzlies took turns dominating each other in their exhibition games. The Grizzlies won 5-2 on Friday in West Valley City, and the Steelheads won 5-1 Saturday at CenturyLink Arena. The Steelies’ season opens for real this Friday, back in the Maverik Center against Utah.

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October 7, 1984: The late Walter Payton becomes the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. Payton rushed for 154 yards in the Chicago Bears’ 20-7 win over New Orleans to surpass Jim Brown’s career mark. “Sweetness” ended up with 16,726 yards in 13 seasons; Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith eventually broke Payton’s record. It wasn’t all roses for Chicago that day, though, as the San Diego Padres beat the Cubs in the final game of the National League Championship Series to extend the Cubbies’ World Series-less streak to 39 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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Winning Ugly


Jeff Caves

There is no such thing as a bad win. But, this Boise State team is getting close to proving that theory wrong. After the win over Marshall, all the talk was about the defense saving the game and how the offense couldn’t run the ball but it was early and the Broncos had o line injuries, a freshman QB, etc etc. 


Now what? 


The offensive line was all back together, the Qb is getting hit less and less and he is 5 games older. The defense is still stellar even without 2 of its best players ( Noa and Pierce ) and Tyson Maeva should really still be out there as well. The offense can still strike quick as they did vs UNLV but poor execution and an ineffective run game haunt this offense. We can all see a loss or two coming. The right team hasn’t come along in the right situation is all. Can’t you feel it?


Bryan Harsin sees all that. I was expecting an angry Harsin post UNLV but that’s not what we got. I watched him happy as hell go meet his team, help them celebrate and then work the media. He pointed out how much he liked the fast start, special teams improvement and overall attitude of his team. He admitted execution needs to improve but he must like what he sees. Harsin thinks long and hard before he speaks to his team or the media. I think he had decided to focus on the positive and work towards improving the negative. Winning ugly 38-13 is a nice place to improve from. He knows well and good that this version of Boise State isn’t a New Years 6 winning group. Not yet. He is just worried about improving enough to beat Hawaii, then BYU, and the rest of the schedule. 


Maybe that’s why he is optimistic. 


When you are behind the scenes like Harsin you know what goes into getting the result. He sees a lack of execution and penalties as a temporary issue. He has to have the faith and lay out the self help plan. I have a feeling it may all come together vs Hawaii. The crowd is expected to be a near sell out. The weather is expected to be sunny , unless you are from Hawaii, and this offense has its back against the wall. Just like they did vs Florida State and then dominated. Winning ugly , on the road, against inferior teams, in sleepy ⅓ empty stadiums is no easy task. But, so far so good. Or, ugly. 


Reckless Fall Predictions From BSU’s Spring Game

By Chris Lewis

Now that the spring game is done, we’re without Boise State football until fall camp begins. With this season’s depth chart as mysterious as ever, here are my reckless predictions on how it’ll shake out on offense.


On Saturday, August 31, when Boise State takes its first offense snap in Jacksonville against Florida State, Hank Bachmeier will be the starting quarterback. That goes against what I saw in the spring game, where he was third on the list on who stood out to me. However, the more I envision the season, the more I realize that this is the most realistic and logical outcome.

First of all, I can’t count on Chase Cord being healthy. It’s the second time tearing his ACL, which is concerning for a QB that relies on mobility and usually means a more careful rehab. It happened in early October, which would mean week 1 is less than 11 months since the injury. Plus, even at the NFL level, quarterbacks who rush back from injury usually struggle early in their return.

That leaves Jaylon Henderson, Kaiden Bennett and Bachmeier as the main contenders. Henderson is the only one of that group with college experience, but nothing about his profile says bonafide starting QB. Boise State is his third collegiate stop, and his numbers weren’t impressive at his previous two stops. Also, he wasn’t a high-pedigree HS QB entering college. Henderson playing mop-up duty last year in a few games didn’t showcase much either. While he has the experience edge (which showed in the spring game), he doesn’t seem like the highly-talented QB that Boise State would ideally like to trot out there.

Bachmeier does meet the high-pedigree and talent criteria. He’s a four-star recruit that had offers to big programs. Plus, his game is more “pro-style” than the other true freshman option Bennett, who is also significantly smaller. Boise State has shown that they aren’t afraid to start a true freshman QB if that quarterback is mature enough to handle it. If the coaches determine that Bachmeier won’t be scarred by the situation in Jacksonville, he’ll be the guy.


This group is harder to project than the quarterbacks. Coach Bryan Harsin’s history as a head coach tells us that he likes to ride one running back. The way he’s used Ajayi, McNichols, and Mattison makes it clear he loves a workhorse. The part I’m most confident in predicting is that Robert Mahone will be the No. 2 back. It’s a role he’s had before, and it’s a role he’s handled well. However, the fact that he never really had the opportunity to be a lead back, even when Mattison was banged up last season, tells me that the coaches don’t see him as a No. 1.

The question is, who will be the No. 1 if it isn’t Mahone? Andrew Van Buren is my pick to be the lead guy over true freshmen George Holani and Keegan Duncan. Holani and Duncan not being with the team in the spring is a slight disadvantage. Boise State RBs need to be able to pass protect, and those guys missed out on reps doing that in the spring. Plus, it’s hard for me to imagine that someone a few months removed from high school can physically handle the workload that Harsin wants to give his main back.

The previous Boise State workhorses all had at least a season on-campus to build their body up before they became a feature back. Van Buren has had that luxury. One of either Holani or Duncan will get reps as a No. 3 back, and my reckless guess would be Holani. That means, I think Duncan redshirts.


The wide receivers were the standouts of the spring game. Even though AJ Richardson and Sean Modster are gone, no one seems to think this group will miss a beat. Khalil Shakir was the standout of the spring game. He found ways to get open, and make people miss once he caught the ball. It got me to rethinking where he’ll be in the receiver rotation. Before the game, I thought John Hightower and CT Thomas were poised to be the top two options. I’ve put Shakir in that tier moving forward. He’ll finish second on the team in catches and yards. Thomas will be the dependable third down option and team catch leader. Hightower will be the big play threat, and yardage leader. Shakir seems to give a little of both, with also the ability to run. The wildcard of the position didn’t play in the spring game. Octavious Evans had a season ruined by injury last year. At this point a year ago, he seemed to be a threat to be the top WR. At this point, I’ll put him fourth on the list of impactful 2019 receivers. It’s a strong group, and may have to carry the offense early.

Chris Lewis, the play-by-play voice of Boise State women’s basketball and Olympic Sports, co-hosts Idaho Sports Talk with Bob & Chris weekdays from 1-3 p.m. on KTIK 93.1 FM The Ticket. He can be found @ChrisLewisTweet (Twitter).