Friday, November 9, 2012.
In only six of the 17 major NCAA team football statistics categories is Hawaii in the top 100. The worst is turnover margin, where the Warriors ranked last in the FBS at minus-12. Almost as bad is sacks allowed, with Hawaii in the bottom 10, having yielded 25. We’ll see how that comes into play tomorrow night when Boise State visits Aloha Stadium. The Bronco defense is tied for 33rd in the country, collecting 22 sacks on the season. Keep in mind that they don’t all come from the defensive line—Jamar Taylor, for example, has two. But the D-line is the first place you look, and that’s where you see Demarcus Lawrence with 7½ sacks in his first year as a Bronco.
Mike Atkinson’s senior season ended with 1½ sacks when he left the blue turf for the last time after tearing his ACL last week against San Diego State. Of course, Canadian Bacon would often occupy pass protectors while teammates knifed into the backfield to apply pressure. Atkinson could do that with his 306-pound frame. Now, Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe slides over to Atkinson’s nose tackle spot, and senior journeyman Darren Koontz gets the start at the other tackle. The Broncos lose almost 40 pounds at the defensive tackle spot with Bacon out. But it should be noted Koontz has 2½ sacks this year. Boise State still has good depth at end, where Lawrence, Tyler Horn, Sam Ukwuachu and Beau Martin will try to get after game but sack-weary Hawaii quarterback Sean Schroeder.
Boise State needs to recapture some momentum at Hawaii for the rest of the stretch run, as the Broncos can still at least share the Mountain West championship. No better way to get some mojo back than a quick start. Many a team has done that to the 1-7 Warriors this season, as they’ve been outscored 94-27 in the first quarter. The Broncos haven’t been blazing out of the gate like in years past, but they’ve still out-pointed opponents 49-17 in the first period.
Who will Lenny Chow root for at Aloha Stadium? I asked Norm Chow that question this summer at Mountain West Media Days in Las Vegas, and Norm replied, “He’s Boise through and through.” Lenny, the Hawaii coach’s older brother, came to Boise Junior College from Hawaii in the late 1950’s and never left. He was part of Lyle Smith’s 1958 national junior college championship team and has been the unofficial host for Hawaiian players who have come over from the Islands since. Lenny and his wife Betty have long been involved in the community, but as we speak they’re enjoying the Oahu community. And I’d be shocked if Lenny isn’t wearing blue and orange.
Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of Boise State’s first appearance in the Top 25. It was a decade ago today that the Broncos avenged a pounding they absorbed at Rice the year before by pummeling the Owls 49-7 in Bronco Stadium. It was Boise State’s eighth consecutive rout, and the next day the Broncos would make history with their first-ever Top 25 ranking. They were voted no. 23 in the Coaches Poll, and just missed the AP Top 25 by 15 votes. Boise State would enter the AP poll the following week. BSU rode the nation’s leading offense and leading scorer, Brock Forsey, to a Top 15 finish in both polls at the end of the season under Dan Hawkins.
There are two key games in the Mountain West tomorrow, one of them in Reno, where Fresno State takes on Nevada. TheWolf Pack has won the last four games in the series, but the dynamic is different this year. The Pack’s confidence is shaken after two straight losses, while the Bulldogs are surging under new coach Tim DeRuyter. And oh by the way, DeRuyter is a former defensive coordinator at Nevada, working under Chris Ault in 2005-06. The other showdown is at Qualcomm Stadium, where San Diego State hosts Air Force. The Aztecs, coming off their upset of Boise State, profess to be very focused as they keep their eyes on the Mountain West prize.
Idaho catches a BYU team tomorrow that is rumored to be dealing with what athletic director Tom Holmoe told the Deseret News and KSL Radio are "chemistry issues with some of the coaching staff." At the core is second-year offensive coordinator Brandon Doman, whose unit is 79th in the nation in total offense with an average of 381 yards per game. The light at the end of the tunnel for the Cougars this week is the Vandal defense. Idaho is bottom five in the country in total defense and scoring defense. And it’s unlikely that quarterback Logan Bushnell will be able to sustain drives to keep the defense off the field. BYU is a 38-point favorite.
Are you looking for a hook for the Boise State-Texas Southern men’s basketball season opener Sunday afternoon? How about Mike Davis? He’s Texas Southern’s coach, and he’s the guy who was promoted to head coach at Indiana 12 years ago when Myles Brand famously fired Bobby Knight a couple months before the season. Davis lasted six seasons with the Hoosiers before resigning—then coached UAB for six more years before being fired last March despite four 20-win seasons, an NCAA Tournament appearance, and three NIT bids. He was named interim coach at Texas Southern in August, then was given a multi-year contract as head coach two weeks ago. Davis’ career record is 237-151.
A UCLA transfer is bound to make a difference at a Division II school, and he did last night at the United Heritage Insurance Mayors’ Cup game in Caldwell. Kenny Jones scored seven points during a 10-2 second half run that wiped out a 40-38 College of Idaho lead, as Northwest Nazarene beat the Coyotes, 63-50. Jones scored 17 points in the first of two Battles of Canyon County this season. The game attracted a capacity crowd of 2,422 fans to the J.A. Albertson Activities Center.
The Idaho Steelheads have a slew of superlatives going as they head into two more games against the Bakersfield Condors this weekend in CenturyLink Arena. The Steelheads, who were 3-7 at this point a year ago, are 7-2-1 and are now unbeaten in regulation in their past eight games. Kael Mouillierat and Justin Dowling are both riding eight-game point streaks, tied for the longest such runs in the ECHL this season. One of the goals in Mouillierat’s hat trick Wednesday night was of the short-handed variety—Idaho now leads the ECHL with five short-handed tallies on the season.
This Day In Sports…November 9, 2010:
Less than five years after departing Boise State for a job he said was his calling, Dan Hawkins is fired as head coach at Colorado. The move came with three games remaining in the season—three days after the Buffaloes had blown a 28-point fourth quarter lead and lost at Kansas, 52-45. What worked in building the Broncos’ program never took root in Boulder. After a 53-11 record in five years at Boise State, Hawkins never had a winning season with the Buffs, going 19-39.
(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.)