Tuesday, November 27, 2012.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That famous quote originated from George Santayana in his “Reason in Common Sense, The Life of Reason” (in case you were wondering). With that said, let’s get this out of the way right now. History that sticks in the craw of Bronco Nation from two years ago. You won’t find many around here who cannot remember.
That’s when Boise State saw its undefeated season and 24-game winning streak swept aside by a 34-31 overtime loss at Nevada. The Broncos, 10-0 and in position for a berth in the Rose Bowl, led the Wolf Pack 24-7 at halftime. But an inspired Nevada defense shut down Boise State in the second half, and Pack quarterback Colin Kaepernick led a comeback, tying the game on a touchdown pass with 13 seconds left. An amazing 53-yard Kellen Moore-to-Titus Young connection with two seconds remaining put the Broncos in position for a winning field goal, but Kyle Brotzman would miss a 26-yarder—and then a 29-yarder in overtime. The outpouring of support for the devastated Brotzman over the following week became part of the story, though.
It'll take four quarters at Nevada, and few would argue that on that fateful 2010 night in Reno, Boise State uncharacteristically played only two. The Broncos gave up 27 points and 353 yards of offense to the Pack after halftime two years ago. The Boise State offense managed only seven points—and just eight yards on the ground. And 132 of the Broncos' 194 second-half yards came on two plays, the Kellen Moore screen pass that Doug Martin took 79 yards for a touchdown, and the 53-yard desperation heave from Moore to Young that set up you-know-what on the final play of regulation. Forget those infamous field goals. It's incumbent upon Boise State to not let it get that far.
The 2010 game is burned into Boise State players’ memories. They don’t let down their guard about it, but you can tell. “It’s definitely a rivalry—I think both sides will tell you that in a heartbeat,” said quarterback Joe Southwick. There was that infamous Statesman photo of Billy Winn being taunted by a Wolf Pack fan in the chaotic scene on the field after the game. “I remember a guy came up to me and kicked my helmet.” said cornerback Jamar Taylor. “But that’s what you expect from those fans.” Chris Petersen wouldn’t go there. “That’s part of the game—I don’t worry about that,” said Petersen. “We don’t play their fans.”
Mitch Burroughs will indeed get back to regular work for Boise State in Saturday’s game at Nevada. The senior wide receiver and return man from Meridian has been out since injuring his wrist at Southern Miss October 6 (with the exception of a cameo appearance on the first play of the Colorado State game for Senior Day). The Broncos have missed Burroughs’ leadership, but he has been on the sideline with a headset, helping out with the offense. He has 12 receptions for 124 yards and no touchdowns. And don’t discount Burroughs’ two rushes for 26 yards when you think about his return to the offense.
‘Tis the season for Petersen going to (fill in the blank) rumors. “It’s just rumors—and that’s all I really want to say about that,” said Petersen at his Monday press conference. Is it a distraction going into the Nevada game? “It’s not even kind of,” said Petersen. Not any more than it ever has been. “You (media) guys love it, but it means nothing here,” he said. It’s Arkansas that is causing the most commotion right now, with the Razorback chat-isphere flappin’ away about Petersen being at the top of the Hogs’ list. One Arkansas fan told me a Little Rock radio station was having the Statesman’s Brian Murphy on as a guest last night. (Did you really do that, Murph?) I just have trouble fathoming how Petersen would relish dealing with the media and booster fishbowl in Fayetteville when he’s not fond of the relatively tame one here.
More Boise State-related NFL wrap from Week 12: Shea McClellin returned to action Sunday from his concussion, contributing a shared sack and two quarterback hits in Chicago’s 28-10 win over Minnesota. Billy Winn nabbed his first career NFL interception to help Cleveland upend Pittsburgh, 20-14. The Rams’ Austin Pettis, coming back from a toe injury, didn’t have a catch in a 31-17 win at Arizona. But Pettis did return punts, four of them for 18 yards. Kyle Wilson also returned kicks for the Jets on Thanksgiving night, and it didn’t go any better than the game overall, a 49-19 humbling at the hands of the Patriots. Wilson ran back one kickoff for nine yards and had one punt return for one yard.
Boise State’s facing a tall order, trying to tame No. 11 Creighton in Omaha tomorrow night. Expectations were high for the Bluejays this season, but they’re already being exceeded. Creighton is 6-0 and coming off a championship in the Las Vegas Invitational, where they topped Wisconsin in the semifinals, 84-74, and Arizona State in Saturday’s championship game, 87-73. The Broncos are busy trying to figure out how they’re going to handle All-America junior forward Doug McDermott, who scored 30 points against the Badgers and 29 versus the Sun Devils. Will Anthony Drmic guard McDermott? It’ll be interesting. Boise State has not trailed by double figures through five games this season, even including a road game at Michigan State. If the Broncos make it six, it’ll be quite the accomplishment.
The Idaho Stampede open their 15th season tomorrow night on the road against the L.A. D-Fenders, and all that was old is new again. The Stampede begin their single-affiliation with Portland, and the Trail Blazers hired new coach Mike Peck for them. It would seem to be an interesting transition to go from Findlay Prep in Las Vegas to the NBA D-League, but Peck will be the first to tell you he coached four future NBA players at Findlay. “The age and maturity is where it’s different,” said Peck of the D-League. “There’s no academic component. You get their full attention.” Peck has been installing the Blazers’ schemes with the Stampede. “The defensive system is the key—the offense is a little more free rein,” said Peck. He’s plugging in the Portland offense anyway, he says, because it plays off the defense.
The Idaho Steelheads face one of the highest-scoring teams in the ECHL this week without one of their best defenseman. Rookie Jeremie Blain has been recalled by the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, who have him under contract. Blain is the seventh-leading rookie scorer in the ECHL with 14 points—and ranks the same among the league’s defensemen overall. The Steelheads host the Colorado Eagles in CenturyLink Arena tomorrow, Friday and Saturday. The Eagles lead the ECHL with 80 goals (the Steelies are second with 72).
This Day In Sports…November 27, 1958:
Boise Junior College wins the national JC championship with a 22-0 win over Tyler, Texas, before 8,500 fans on Thanksgiving Day at old Bronco Stadium. The Broncos were coached by Lyle Smith, who recorded his fifth undefeated season with the win. Smith led BJC for 21 seasons, going 156-26-6. That included a 37-game winning streak from 1947-50. Smith retired from coaching after the 1967 season and became the first athletic director for Boise State College.
(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.)