Monday, November 19, 2012.
Those who thought an improving Colorado State team had a prayer against Boise State on Senior Day have forgotten recent history of Bronco season finales on the blue turf. Every one during the Chris Petersen era has been a rout, including the 42-14 win over the Rams on Saturday. And you know what? The 28-point margin of victory against CSU was the closest of the seven games, topping a 42-7 win over New Mexico State to end the 2009 home schedule. The biggest of the Senior Day thumpings was a 61-10 victory over Fresno State in 2008.
What was impressive was how Boise State got the seniors involved early in Saturday’s game plan. Blocking on D.J. Harper’s 80-yard touchdown run on the Broncos’ first play of the day was Tyler Jackson, who got his first start at wide receiver. Also making a cameo to open the game was Mitch Burroughs, still injured but healthy enough to suit up and play one snap. On the next play from scrimmage, defensive tackle Greg Grimes celebrated his first start by sharing a sack with Tommy Smith. Chris Potter returned a punt 22 yards at the end of that possession and later scored his first career rushing touchdown on a perfectly-executed wildcat option. And, among other senior feats, Dan Paul pulled in a career-long 20-yard reception from Joe Southwick on Boise State’s second touchdown drive. A bull in a china shop.
Harper made another entry in the Boise State record book in his final blue turf appearance, galloping 80 yards for a touchdown on the Broncos' first play from scrimmage. It equaled the third-longest run from scrimmage in school history. Harper's in good company on the all-time list. The only guys ahead of him are Jared Zabransky and his record 85-yard romp in a 69-3 rout of Hawaii in 2004, and Doug Martin and his 84-yard dash that turned around the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas against Utah two years ago. Harper tied K.C. Adams and his 80-yarder at Northern Arizona in 1994, a key play in Boise State’s last Big Sky championship season.
Jamar Taylor had an interesting Senior Day. And the drama was all wrapped into a four-play stretch in the second quarter. First, the star Boise State cornerback intercepted a Colorado State pass and looked like he was anticipating a pick six when he fumbled, allowing the Rams to regain possession with a first-and-10. Three plays later, Taylor was called for pass interference—and then was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct for arguing the call. No harm, no foul, though, as Demarcus Lawrence picked off a pass on the next play to set up a 37-yard Bronco touchdown drive.
Boise State has worked its way back into the BCS Standings after two weeks away. The Broncos are No. 22 on the new list released last night. They’re No. 22 in the Coaches Poll, No. 21 in the Harris Poll, and No. 30 in the computers. Boise State is next in line to get back in the AP Poll, tied for 26th with Northwestern and Washington. But there’s a big gap in votes between that trio and Mississippi State and Utah State, which are tied at No. 25. Yes, Utah State. The Aggies are in the rankings for the first time since 1978.
If you’ve been waiting for the next shoe to drop in conference realignment, well, it might be coming. And it wouldn’t be pleasant for Boise State. Word is that the Big Ten is courting Rutgers from the Big East and Maryland from the ACC. If both schools make the jump, and the ACC reacts by inviting Louisville (the Cardinals would make the move faster than a Bobby Petrino motorcycle ride), the Big East’s television leverage would be severely compromised at a time when negotiations are at their height of percolation. And, truth be told, TV money has become the sole reason for Boise State’s geographically-challenged football move.
Idaho showed heart Saturday. But it also showed a continuing inability to avoid mistakes in a 34-27 loss to UT-San Antonio on Senior Day in the Kibbie Dome. Taylor Davis came in at quarterback and provided a spark after the Vandals had fallen behind 20-3 at halftime. “The whole beginning of the game was kind of blah,” Idaho interim coach Jason Gesser said. “It wasn’t a juiced, energized team.” That may not bode well for Gesser’s chances of getting the Vandal job full-time. But the team was on fire in the second half, rolling up 317 yards as Davis went 18-of-29 for 223 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Unfortunately, Idaho is staring at a 1-11 season as it finishes this Saturday at 25th-ranked Utah State.
Former Boise State star Doug Martin is probably bemoaning his fumble on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line yesterday in the fourth quarter at Carolina. But Martin’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers won in overtime, 27-21. Not only that, Martin rushed for 138 yards—48 of them in OT—on 24 carries and now has a 1,000-yard season. On the nose. He needed 138 yards going in. And with the Bucs at 6-4, Martin is averaging exactly 100 yards a game in what has become a remarkable rookie season. Elsewhere, Boise State product Shea McClellin has not been cleared to play for Chicago in tonight’s Monday Night Football matchup in San Francisco. McClellin has a concussion, and there’s a lot of speculation in the media about what it means—and how many concussions he may have had in college. Shea says one.
Boise State is now 3-0 in men’s basketball and is about to find out if it’s a hollow 3-0. The Broncos fended off Louisiana Lafayette yesterday in Taco Bell Arena in a grinder, 63-57, using a 9-0 run down the stretch to get the upper hand. That came after a first half ice bath that saw the Ragin’ Cajuns run off 19 straight points to take a 28-26 lead at halftime. Boise State shot just 39 percent from the floor and was 4-of-20 from three-point range. “We made just enough free throws, we got just enough rebounds, but we turned the ball over too much,” said coach Leon Rice on his KBOI postgame show. The Broncos committed 16 turnovers—not terrible, but they had only five turnovers last Tuesday against Oakland, the fewest in almost 11 years. Now a double-whammy: Boise State’s first road game tomorrow night…at No. 21 Michigan State.
A couple other hoops notes: The Idaho Stampede play their one and only exhibition game tonight against the Reno Bighorns. New Stampede coach Mike Peck will let a game-look at a 15-player roster that has to be reduced to 10 on Wednesday. Also, after beating Montana Western Friday night, the College of Idaho ran into old Golden Rule Shootout nemesis Westminster in the title game Saturday night. The Coyotes fell to the Griffins 68-50 in the 26th annual event at the J.A. Albertson Activities Center. (And congratulations to the College of Idaho’s Hillary Holt, who won the individual women’s NAIA national cross country championship Saturday in Vancouver, WA. The Coyotes were a close second in the team race.)
It was shades of last season for the Idaho Steelheads yesterday in Stockton. The Steelheads were outshot a staggering 36-16 in a 4-3 loss to the Thunder. The Steelies looked good at the beginning when Adrian Foster scored off the opening face-off 11 seconds into the game, the fastest goal to start a game in the ECHL this season. But from there, Idaho was victimized by the hottest rookie in the ECHL, Toni Rajala, who peppered Tyler Beskorowany with eight shots on goal and connected twice. Rajala leads the league’s rookies in scoring. A 4-2 loss Friday night in Idaho’s first-ever game against the San Francisco Bulls ended an 11-game streak that saw the Steelheads go unbeaten in regulation. The Steelies return home Wednesday night against the Alaska Aces.
This Day In Sports…November 19, 2010:
Boise State improves to 10-0 with a 51-0 rout of Fresno State, the first shutout suffered by the Bulldogs in 12 years. More records fell before a Friday night full house at Bronco Stadium and an ESPN2 audience, as Kellen Moore became Boise State’s career passing yards leader, Titus Young became the Broncos’ career receiving yards leader, and Kyle Brotzman kicked his way into the school lead in career scoring. The Broncos, wearing all orange, were stellar on defense, holding Fresno State to only 125 yards. It was the first time in 40 years Boise State had registered three shutouts in one season.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)