SCOTT SLANT: Surveying the scene October 24

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Monday, October 12, 2020.

With the coronavirus situation worsening in Idaho, it is certainly no surprise that fans will not be allowed in Albertsons Stadium a week from this Saturday when Boise State hosts Utah State. The hope here is that—even with this now in place—everything still goes off according to plan. And with that comes the cardboard cutouts, which fans can purchase for $50. I have no problem with it. Baseball stadiums that went with cutouts this season looked a lot better than ones that didn’t, and the same is the case with NFL stadiums that don’t allow fans. Boise State should take a page out of the Denver Broncos playbook. At Mile High, there have been cutouts of South Park characters in the stands. In Boise, you can’t go wrong with a Spuddy Buddy, or Napoleon Dynamite and Pedro, or several versions of Aaron Paul.

There’s a movement online asking that at least the parents of Boise State players be allowed to attend the games, led by by a Change.org petition started by linebacker Riley Whimpey’s mom, Barb. Her summary: “As families of the Boise State Football Program we have a desire to attend games in person. This provides us the opportunity to emotionally and physically support our sons, spouses, and other family members that help this program function. The athletes, coaches and support staff would also like their families present at the games.” The petition addresses Gov. Brad Little, athletic director Curt Apsey and university president Marlene Tromp. Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of support for it.

BRONCOS QB DEPTH CHART THINNING?

In his media session Saturday, Boise State coach Bryan Harsin handed out props to numerous Broncos after the team’s scrimmage. We’ll have to take Harsin’s word for it as we try to get a beat on this team. The one piece of actual news that came out of it is the possibility of quarterback Chase Cord sitting out the season. Harsin said Cord is “working through things.” They’re apparently health-related. “Always an option,” Harsin said of Cord not playing this fall. “He’s been through a lot.” The good news is, Cord wouldn’t lose a year of eligibility by doing that this season. He lost half of his redshirt freshman season with a torn ACL,and the stretch run of last season was hijacked by shoulder, leg and ankle injuries. If Cord skips the fall, USC transfer Jack Sears will occupy the No. 2 spot.

BACK NEAR THE RECRUITING TOP

In June, Boise State was at the bottom of 247 Sports’ Mountain West recruiting rankings with just one commit. After the verbal Friday from three-star defensive back Seyi Oladipo of Aurora, CO, the Broncos are up to No. 2. They have 15 commits now, but its quality over quantity—and all of them so far are three-stars. Oladipo told 247 Sports he intends to sign early and then enroll at Boise State in January.High school football in the state of Colorado finally kicked off Friday night, and Oladipo celebrated his commitment to Boise State with two 95-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns in Eaglecrest’s 62-50 win over Cherokee Trail. “Today was in the works for a while,” Oladipo said in the Denver Post. “What’s a better day than today? I’m like I’m gonna make it the best day possible.”

CEDRICK THE THROWER, KELLEN THE CALLER

Who’d have thought the fourth former Boise State Bronco (including Ryan Finley) ever to throw a touchdown pass in the NFL would be Cedrick Wilson? Dallas offensive coordinator Kellen Moore dipped into his old college playbook in the second quarter Sunday against the New York Giants and called a double-reverse wide receiver pass. Wilson, wearing No. 11 don’t you know, completed it to quarterback Dak Prescott for an 11-yard TD. The sideline shots of Prescott and Moore hugging were cool. It was in the third quarter that Prescott suffered a gruesome dislocation and compound fracture of his ankle.

At that point, Andy Dalton entered the game for the Cowboys, and we would find out how he and Moore, former college rivals, would work together. Pretty well, it turned out. Dalton went 9-of-11 for 111 yards, leading Dallas on the 72-yard drive in the final 52 seconds that resulted in Greg Zuerlein’s game-winning field goal as time ran out. Dalton and Moore had two epic battles in the postseason 10-plus years ago. Dalton’s TCU Horned Frogs beat Boise State 17-16 in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl, and Moore’s Broncos defeated the Frogs 17-10 in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl.

TWO MORE FIRSTS FOR EX-BRONCOS

On Sunday Night Football, Minnesota star running back Dalvin Cook was sidelined with an injury early in the third quarter at Seattle. On came Alexander Mattison, and the former Boise State star notched his first NFL 100-yard game in the Vikings’ 27-26 loss to the Seahawks. Mattison rushed for 112 yards on 19 carries and was especially effective in the fourth quarter. But his last carry was one Minnesota would like to have back. The Vikings tried to convert a fourth-and-one at the Seattle six instead of kicking a field goal, and Mattison was a foot short. Then Russell Wilson led a patented 94-yard game-winning drive. Also, John Hightower’s first NFL points came on a two-point conversion Sunday, on a throw from Carson Wentz. But it wasn’t enough in a 38-29 loss in Pittsburgh. Hightower had two other catches for 18 yards.

WHAT A WAY TO START THE SEASON

Boise State men’s basketball appears to have been 2020’d in a very positive way. COVID-19 juggling has wreaked havoc with preseason tournaments, and B.J. Rains of the Idaho Press reported Friday that now Boise State will play on college basketball’s opening night, November 25, in Orlando against Kansas—likely in prime time on national TV. Coach Leon Rice will test his highly-touted roster against what will almost assuredly be a top 10 team. The Broncos will face either UCLA or Seton Hall the following night. Meanwhile, the Mountain West schedule was released Friday. Boise State gets a break at the beginning, opening in ExtraMile Arena with San Jose State and Air Force. But the end will be a bear: San Diego State and Nevada at home, followed by Utah State and Colorado State on the road.

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October 12, 2015, five years ago today: A bizarre day in college coaching circles. A day after placing coach Steve Sarkisian on indefinite leaving for showing up intoxicated at a team meeting, USC fires the second-year coach after new allegations arise. That came four days after Washington and former Boise State coach Chris Petersen had upset the Trojans in the L.A. Coliseum, 17-12. Petersen had replaced Sarkisian at UW the year before. And on the other side of the country, the other USC found out that 70-year-old coach Steve Spurrier was abruptly retiring. Spurrier won 228 games in 26 seasons as a college head coach at South Carolina, Florida and Duke, winning a national championship with the Gators in 1996.

(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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