Friday, October 4, 2013
With every passing month it seems, former Boise State star Graham DeLaet breaks new ground. Only the second Canadian ever to make the International team in the Presidents Cup, DeLaet and Jason Day staged a dramatic rally in the opening four-ball match at Muirfield Village yesterday, defeating Americans Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker 1-up. The U.S. team was rolling at 3-up after Snedeker canned a birdie on No. 6. But Day and DeLaet whittled away and were only 1 down after 13 holes. DeLaet then made three consecutive birdies, winning two holes and putting the Internationals ahead by one. After the U.S. tied it up on No. 17, Day nailed a birdie putt on 18 to win the match.
As unfathomable as it would have been when he played his way onto the PGA Tour in 2010, DeLaet is quickly becoming a household name in professional golf. PGATour.com called DeLaet the “Man of the Match” in its Presidents Cup coverage, writing that he “carried his team.” All this after DeLaet slept through his wife’s phone alarm. His internal clock woke him up 15 minutes later, though—he had plenty of time to get to the course.
Biding time during Boise State’s bye week, you can’t go wrong talking about wide receiver Matt Miller. He’s going to be one of those guys who, a year from now, has opponents saying, “I can’t believe he’s still around.” In fact, they’re saying it now, as productive as he’s been since busting out in his college football debut against Georgia in 2011. This would be a good trivia question today. Who are the four players still ahead of Miller on the Broncos’ career receiving list? Just five games into his junior year, Miller moved into fifth place all-time during the Southern Miss win with 163 catches, passing Mike Wilson and Ryan Ikebe. The top four on the list are Austin Pettis, Titus Young, Don Hutt and Jeremy Childs. Hutt held the Bronco record for 37 years until Pettis broke it in 2010. Now the new mark, 229 receptions, is likely to last less than four years.
If you’re a Bronco fan looking at it from a Boise State perspective, who do you want to win in the BYU-Utah State game tonight? A Cougar victory might expose some vulnerabilities of the now-solid Aggies, but it would embolden BYU for the visit by the Broncos later this month. A USU win would give the Aggies a Wasatch Front’s worth of momentum going into their crucial Mountain Division test against Boise State a week from tomorrow night. The key game in the conference’s West Division is on ESPN tonight, as San Diego State hosts Nevada. Elsewhere, we’re just happy to say Air Force is playing at Navy tomorrow.
Three weeks after a Kibbie Dome encounter with what is now a Top 25 team in Northern Illinois, Idaho gets another ranked team in Moscow tomorrow. Fresno State, looking to prove it can beat an FBS team by more than five points, has spent the week preparing for the running ability of Vandal quarterback Chad Chalich and backup Josh McCain. The Bulldogs are concerned about creating sacks, even though Idaho is last in the nation in sacks allowed with 28, seven more than any other team. The Vandals could counteract that with explosive plays, which have been the Achilles heel of the Bulldog defense. Fresno State allowed seven plays of 20 or more yards at Hawaii last week.
Sportwriters’ pens are acidic in NFL markets, especially Chicago. Boise State product Shea McClellin, the Bears’ first round pick last year, has been on the ink end of that. McClellin had a fumble recovery and nothing else statistically last Sunday in a 40-32 loss to Detroit. Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune was all over it in a column posted last night. “I still don’t know what Shea McClellin does for a living,” writes Rosenbloom. “Besides getting pounded on the edge to create big running lanes, I mean. He’s not a defensive end. Not in the NFL that the Bears play in. At best, he’s a gimmick like Mark Anderson was. The road to 100-yard rushing games runs through Highway 99. If the Bears are going to misspell the back of his game jersey the way they did recently, they should just stitch ‘Welcome.’” Egads.
It’s already here. Idaho Steelheads training camp opens Sunday at CenturyLink Arena, with a good nucleus returning for coach Brad Ralph’s second campaign. Boise is a desirable place to be again after a sterling debut last season by Ralph. The Steelheads were 45-20-7 and finished second behind the Alaska Aces in the ECHL’s Mountain Division. Then the Steelies made it to the Western Conference Finals before falling in five games to the Stockton Thunder. Expectations are high for 2013-14. The puck drops for real two weeks from tonight.
There are eight former Boise Hawks in the postseason this year, spread among six teams. So chances are good one or more of them will end up in the World Series. Four Boise alums will suit up tonight for Game 1 of the ALDS in Oakland: Al Alburquerque and Darin Downs for Detroit and Josh Donaldson and Jerry Blevins for the A’s. Josh Harrison was an onlooker as Pittsburgh made its NLDS debut yesterday, and the Pirates’ momentum was squashed in a 9-1 loss to St. Louis. Ricky Nolasco enjoyed watching last night as his team, the Dodgers, dominated Atlanta, 5-1. Boston, including John Lackey, and Tampa Bay, including Joel Peralta, start their series tonight.
This is pretty good for a program without a lot of heritage—in an 11-team conference that’s ranked among the top five in Division I. CBSSports.com has a panel of six hoops experts laying out predictions for the upcoming season, and the group rates the Broncos no lower than fourth in the Mountain West. Two of them, Jeff Borzello and Gary Parrish, pick Boise State to win the league. One places the Broncos second and two others have them third. Last season they tied for fourth in the Mountain West, which then had nine teams before this year’s addition of Utah State and San Jose State.
Thirteen former Idaho Stampede standouts dot NBA training camp rosters, including Justin Holiday and Dwayne Jones with the Utah Jazz and Will Barton, Joel Freeland and Victor Claver with the Portland Trail Blazers. That quartet should be in CenturyLink Arena a week from tonight when the Jazz and Blazers face off in their exhibition game. Other notables include Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs, Josh McRoberts of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Anthony Tolliver of the Charlotte Bobcats.
Boise State’s No. 1 singles player, Andy Bettles, split his first two matches yesterday at the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, OK. Bettles opened by taking the first set from George Goldhoff of Texas. Goldhoff rallied to take the final two sets for a 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 win and would go on to upset the No. 1 player in the nation, Tennessee’s Mikelis Libietis, in the afternoon. Bettles came back to sweep UCLA’s Dennis Mkrtchian 6-2, 6-3 in the back draw. The rest of the Broncos host the Dar Walters Fall Classic beginning today at the Appleton Tennis Center.
This Day In Sports…October 4, 2003, 10 years ago today:
A record-shattering day for the Boise State in Ruston, LA. Ryan Dinwiddie became the first Bronco ever to throw for over 500 yards in a game, amassing 532 in BSU’s 43-37 win over Louisiana Tech. The senior quarterback was 40-of-60 on the day, on his way to 2003 WAC Offensive Player of the Year honors. Meanwhile, wide receiver Tim Gilligan broke a 30-year-old Bronco standard with 16 receptions. As a team, the Broncos set marks with 569 passing yards overall and 732 in total offense (the latter record was broken against Hawaii in 2010 and again at Colorado State in 2011).
(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.)