SCOTT SLANT: Hoops in recovery mode


Tuesday, November 30, 2021.

How do you bounce back from something like that? Boise State produced its worst offensive performance in school history last Friday, shooting 22 percent in the shocking 46-39 loss to Cal State Bakersfield. Never has a Broncos squad scored fewer points than that in the building originally known as the BSU Pavilion. The crowd was decent. The announced attendance was 7,429, and it looked like there were about 5,000 fans there. The challenge is to get them to come back for more after what they witnessed. Boise State takes a major leap in competition tonight when its hosts Saint Louis, which is 6-1 after winning the Cancun Challenge Riviera Division. But here’s what is intriguing. The Broncos dropped to No. 68 in the KenPom rankings after their debacle. The Billikens come in at No. 91.

This is what you’d call an intersectional game, but one Saint Louis player will feel right at home. Billikens guard DeAndre Jones is a Borah High grad. He’s also one of just 15 active Division I players with 500 career assists. Jones played his first four seasons at Central Arkansas, where he started 81 of 100 games. He transferred to Saint Louis to take advantage of his extra COVID year of eligibility.


I borrow from my colleague at KTVB, Jay Tust, for this rundown of Boise State’s offensive facts right now. In order of national ranking, the Broncos are 63rd in points scored at 29.2 per game, 65th in passing efficiency at 137.6, tied for 82nd in total offense at 381 yards per game (which is actually up from last year), 92nd in red zone touchdowns at 54.7 percent, tied for 109th in rushing at 120.3 yards per game, and 121st in yards per carry at 3.1. On the flip side, George Holani had 12 rushes of 10 or more yards in November, tied for first in the Mountain West and tied for 18th in the nation. His 531 yards from scrimmage in November were also second-most in the Mountain West. Project that over three months, if you will.


The team that Boise State should have beaten September 18 is in position to make the College Football Playoff after its 37-33 bedlam victory over Oklahoma Saturday. Stewart Mandel at The Athletic writes, “I’ve seen some suggest Cincinnati, which moved to 12-0 by beating East Carolina on Friday, now controls its Playoff fate, but Oklahoma State still needs Alabama to lose again. I think that’s backward. The Cowboys just earned their second win of the season over a current top-10 team. Beating Baylor next week in Arlington would give them three to the Bearcats’ one. Oklahoma State’s one blight was a three-point road loss to 7-5 Iowa State. For all those reasons, I believe the Cowboys are playing for a playoff spot next week. Cincinnati will join them if Georgia beats Alabama.”


Things happen quickly this time of the year in college football. Fresno State coach Kalen DeBoer is headed to Washington to replace the fired Jimmy Lake. UW athletic director Jen Cohen flew to Fresno Monday, bringing back memories of her flight to Boise eight years ago to pry Chris Petersen away from Boise State. DeBoer has gone 12-6 with the Bulldogs since Jeff Tedford stepped down and was 9-3 this year. He has a solid track record as an offensive coordinator at Eastern Michigan, Fresno State and Indiana, and as head coach at the University of Sioux Falls, he won three NAIA championships. It’ll be interesting to see how Huskies fans receive this news after watching USC steal Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma. Former Broncos running back and assistant coach Lee Marks will be the Bulldogs’ interim coach.


The NFL’s breaking news Monday morning had Dallas coach Mike McCarthy entering COVID protocols, forcing him to miss Thursday night’s game against the Saints. So is this Kellen Moore’s chance to rule the sideline? No. The Cowboys are plugging in defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as interim coach. It’s an experience thing, as Quinn coached the Atlanta Falcons for parts of six seasons before being fired during the 2020 campaign. However, Moore and special teams coordinator John Fassel will be heavily involved in running the show, according to McCarthy.


After a dominating hat trick that accounted for all the Idaho Steelheads’ scoring Saturday night, forward Yauheni Aksiantsiuk has been called up to Texas of the AHL by the by the Dallas Stars organization. Aksiantsiuk, a 20-year-old rookie, leads the Steelies in scoring with 15 points (eight goals and seven assists) through 13 games. The hat trick against Allen was his first as a pro and included the game-winning tally in overtime. Both of Aksiantsiuk’s game-winning goals this season have come in OT, with one setting a new team record for fastest overtime goal at seven seconds.

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November 30, 2013: Little does anyone know at the time, but Chris Petersen coaches his final football game at Boise State in a 45-17 win over New Mexico at Bronco Stadium, his 92nd win against 12 losses. It was Senior Night, and Petersen started quarterback Joe Southwick, still recovering from a broken ankle suffered six weeks earlier. Southwick played one series and completed both of his passes for 65 yards and a touchdown. Six days later Petersen accepted a job at Washington. It would also be Southwick’s finale, as he would be sent home from the Broncos’ Hawaii Bowl trip for a strange (and publicly contested) violation of team rules.

(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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