Tuesday, November 21, 2017.
Are you ready for Kirby Moore and D.J. Harper in red? The former Boise State standouts are now on Jeff Tedford’s coaching staff at Fresno State and have had a hand in the Bulldogs’ incredible turnaround (from 1-11 last year to 8-3 this season). Moore is the 26-year-old wide receivers coach for Fresno State, getting a great start on his coaching career. Tedford was an offensive consultant at Washington last year and worked with Moore, who was a Huskies graduate assistant under Chris Petersen the past two years (not forgetting that he was wide receivers coach at College of Idaho when the Coyotes brought back football in 2014).
Harper is a Bulldogs grad assistant now after holding the same post with the Broncos last year. He was a rare six-year player for Boise State and was a 1,000-yard rusher as a senior in 2012. Boise State coach Bryan Harsin bears no ill will toward the newly red-clad duo. “We’re proud of these guys,” said Harsin. “We always love to see Broncos out there being part of something special.” In fact, Harsin quipped, “Our goal is to have Broncos out there running the country.” Now—what will Tom Moore wear this Saturday? Kirby’s and Kellen’s dad, the legendary former Prosser High coach, donned blue and orange for seven years while his sons played for Boise State. I’m thinking fior this game, though, it’ll be red.
This door swings both ways. Boise State wide receivers coach Eric Kiesau spent last season as Fresno State’s offensive coordinator and was the interim head coach for the very difficult final four games of the season after Tim DeRuyter was fired. Kiesau will have an interesting perspective as he gets his troops ready for this Saturday’s game. And let’s say this about Kiesau and offensive line coach Brad Bedell, the two newcomers to the Bronco staff this year. Both have overseen position groups that have come miles since the loss to Virginia on September 22. Witness the development of A.J. Richardson, Sean Modster, Octavius Evans and CT Thomas during this seven-game win streak—and the circling of the wagons on the O-line, which has allowed two sacks in three November games.
Don’t suggest to Harsin that the second game of this weird two-week series between Boise State and Fresno State is more important than the first. “I would choose to win both,” Harsin said yesterday. “There’s no choice there. I hope we continue to have the urgency we need. We’re only going to do it one way.” Read that: the Broncos will game-plan all-out for this Saturday afternoon—and then game-plan for next week based on what happened in this Saturday’s game. They want those 10 wins, they want to leave no doubt as to the location of the Mountain West championship game, and they want to beat the Bulldogs, an old rival who they haven’t played since 2014.
The offensive line at Boise State isn’t in the dire straits many thought it was at the end of September. You can’t have enough future reinforcements on that unit, though, and the Broncos have picked up another one in offensive tackle Garrett Curran of Granite Hills, CA. Curran committed to Boise State yesterday after returning from an official visit—to Washington State. He also visited Arizona and Colorado State before giving his verbal to the Broncos. Curran was in Boise last month for the Wyoming game (in the pouring rain). “I loved the city of Boise and my family and I are all really excited about my future as a Bronco," Curran told 24/7 Sports.
It was fun to hear three of the eleven defensive starters for Dallas say “Boise State” on the Sunday Night Football lineup introductions, including “THE Boise State Broncos” from star defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. But that’s where the fun ended for fans of Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford and Orlando Scandrick in Philadelphia’s 37-9 romp on NBC. Jay Ajayi enjoyed it, though. In his second game with Philly, the Boise State product and recent Miami Dolphin busted off a career-high 71-yard run to set up an Eagles touchdown in the third quarter, going from the Philadelphia 14-yard line to the Dallas 15. Ajayi intimated in a postgame interview that Dallas quit after that drive. That stirs the pot. The Jay-Train had 91 yards on seven carries for the game.
No word yet on Chandler Hutchison’s status after his head slammed on the floor during Boise State’s 75-64 loss to Iowa State Sunday night in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off championship game. Hutchison scored four points in eight minutes before he was ushered to the locker room. It took the Broncos awhile to figure out how to operate without Hutchison, but their rally in the second half was impressive. The “scoring leadership” roles were picked up by graduate transfers Christian Sengfelder and Lexus Williams, who knocked down four three-pointers each. Justinian Jessup took over the “glass leadership” role. Despite going 2-for-10 from the field, Jessup pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds. It was definitely a learning experience for coach Leon Rice’s squad.
College of Idaho looks for the equalizer in this year’s United Heritage Mayors’ Cup series when it hosts Northwest Nazarene tonight in the J.A. Albertson Activities Center. The Nighthawks won the first round a week ago in a 76-70 decision in Nampa. Since then, the Coyotes have swept Lewis-Clark State and Montana Tech at home in the Domino’s Classic, while NNU defeated Academy of Art before suffering its first loss of the season to San Francisco State. Five different players have led the Yotes in scoring over six games this season. Maurice Jones has been dominant for the Nighthawks, averaging 24.3 points per game.
PGA Tour update: Troy Merritt goes into the tour’s Thanksgiving break ranked 162nd in the early stages of the 2018 FedExCup standings. The Boise State product has made three of five cuts, but his best finish has been a tie for 51st at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas last month. Merritt tied for 54th at the RSM Classic in Sea Island, GA, on Sunday, earning $14,012. That brings his season total to $42,115. Fellow former Bronco Graham DeLaet has not played on the tour in more than a month, since he withdrew from the CJ Cup in South Korea due to his ongoing back problems.
This Day In Sports…November 21, 1992, 25 years ago today:
In what would be Skip Hall’s final game as head coach at Boise State, Idaho drills the Broncos 62-16 on the blue turf. Quarterback Doug Nussmeier and running back Sheridan May were dominant as the Vandals wrapped up a 9-2 regular season. For the Broncos, it meant a four-game losing streak to end the year—giving them only their second losing season ever. Hall was fired as coach that evening after six seasons despite his 42-28 record. Nevertheless, he settled back in Boise after a couple more coaching stops and is still an active member of the community.
(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.)