SCOTT SLANT: A mulligan for Kellen?

Presented by BBSI BOISE.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020.

There doesn’t seem to be as much vitriol out there about Dallas offensive coordinator Kellen Moore as there was during the Cowboys’ low points in 2019. Maybe there’s a realization that the 20-17 loss to the Rams on Sunday Night Football marked the first time Moore and new coach Mike McCarthy had worked a game together. Reid Hanson of the fan site SportsDFW.com notes that the Cowboys offense embraced the moniker “Team 40 Burger” this summer, a nod to the team’s potential to put up points. He called it “Team 17 Burger” after the performance at SoFi Stadium.

Hanson bemoaned the fact that Dallas ran the ball 14 times on first down and passed it just six. The decision to go for it on fourth-and-three over a game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter was on McCarthy. But at his Monday press conference, Moore said he was all aboard with the call—and that it “won’t be the last time.” He just tipped his cap to L.A. rookie safety Jordan Fuller for making a great play in stopping CeeDee Lamb short of the sticks.

HOPEFULLY BY HALLOWEEN

Leighton Vander Esch update: the former Boise State standout will be out six to eight weeks with the fractured clavicle he suffered in the first quarter against the L.A. Rams. Vander Esch will have surgery today. ESPN reports that his collarbone will be repaired with a plate and screws, “similar to the surgery former quarterback Tony Romo had on his broken left collarbone in 2015.” Since 2014, Vander Esch has played just two injury-free seasons: 2017, his final year at Boise State and 2018, his rookie year in Dallas. It’s been a tough pill.

AROUND THE HORN IN THE NFL

Notes on Boise State’s NFL notables (outside of the Dallas Cowboys) in Week 1: John Hightower made his NFL debut with one catch for a loss of two yards in Philadelphia’s 27-17 loss to the Washington Football Team. Expect Hightower to move the ball in the other direction in coming weeks. Alexander Mattison was solid in Minnesota’s 43-34 loss to Green Bay, picking up 50 yards on just six carries. Vikings starter Dalvin Cook gained 50 yards on 12 attempts, albeit with two touchdowns. Tanner Vallejo notched a pair of tackles in Arizona’s 24-20 upset of San Francisco.

Finally, on Monday Night Football Part II, the newly-activated Jeremy McNichols didn’t make the box score in Tennessee’s 16-14 win in Denver, but that’s only because a penalty wiped out his four-yard catch from Ryan Tannehill. McNichols had his helmet ripped off during the run, drawing a facemask penalty that was key to an 82-yard touchdown drive. Former Boise State teammate Kamalei Correa notched two tackles for the Titans.

PROSPECTS WERE GOOD FOR A ‘W’

This was going to be such a big week for Boise State, with a buzz that could have been comparable to the Oregon game in 2009 or the Washington matchup in 2015. But Florida State is not coming to the blue turf. What would the Seminoles have been like? Well, its safe to say the Broncos would have been favored after FSU lost its opener to Georgia Tech 16-13 on Saturday. There were similarities to Florida State’s 36-31 loss to Boise State in Tallahassee in last year’s opener. The Noles led 10-0 at halftime and couldn’t hold on. They were playing against a true freshman quarterback, this time the Yellowjackets’ Jeff Sims, who threw for 277 yards and rushed for 66. And FSU quarterback James Blackman disappeared in the second half, throwing for 89 yards. Very, very familiar.

BYU IN A STATE OF FLUX

BYU was supposed to play at Army this Saturday, but that game has been postponed due to what the school says is “a small number of COVID-19 test results and the resulting tracing exposures within the BYU football program.” Army did not seem to be pleased. With no makeup date announced, the Cougars’ schedule was down to seven games. So athletic director Tom Holmoe went out and got another one, adding Louisiana Tech on Friday, October 2, in Provo. BYU’s next game is now its home opener a week from this Saturday against Troy.

AIR FORCE GETS THE GO-AHEAD

There will be a Commander-In-Chief’s trophy this fall. Air Force has received permission to play both Navy and Army over the next two months, beginning with the Midshipmen in Colorado Springs on October 3. The Falcons will visit West Point on November 7. And that’s it. Two games into which Air Force can put it all its marbles. Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo blasted the Pentagon Monday for allowing it. “I’m sure I’ll get reprimanded,” Niumatalolo said at his weekly media session. “I’m just the head football coach, but that’s how I honestly feel. It’s not right.” The Mountain West postponed its 2020 season more than five weeks ago, but the Falcons have been practicing since August 24 nevertheless.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by MAZ-TECH AUTOMOTIVE…helping Boise vehicles thrive since 1985!

September 15, 2017: The Cleveland Indians’ 22-game winning streak, the longest in American League history, comes to an end in a 4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals. Cleveland fell just four games short of the major league record of 26 straight set by the New York Giants in 1916. The previous AL mark had been held by the Oakland A’s, who won 20 in a row in 2002 during their “Moneyball” days. During the incredible run, the Indians outscored their opponents by 105 runs and logged seven shutouts. They hit .329 as a team and actually hit more home runs than the overall runs they allowed, 41 to 37.

(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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