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No Debbie Downers in sight

No Debbie Downers in sight

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on September 24, 2013 at 7:36 AM

Tuesday, September 24, 2013.

Boise State is 2-2 for the first time in eight years.  A Bronco team that started 2-2 has never finished the season ranked in the Top 25, and only once in the Division I-A era has it won a conference championship (Big West in 1999).  Yet there’s no ominous cloud hanging over the blue turf right now going into Saturday night’s Southern Miss game.  On the defensive side, Beau Martin says it’s all still in front of Boise State.  “It’s hard—as a member of the defense, you take a lot of pride,” said Martin, reflecting on the loss at Fresno State.  “We’ve just got to keep trusting (defensive line) coach (Andy) Avalos and coach K (defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski) and their techniques and keep improving.  We’ve got the guys—we’ve got the attitude.  You can’t freak out.  This process has been developed over a long period of time, and we’ll get it right.”

Coach Chris Petersen was asked to characterize his team’s mindset at yesterday’s press conference.  “I think they’re fine,” said Petersen.  “They don’t like losing.  Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.  That’s the bottom line.”  He points to the way the home-road itinerary of this season was laid out.  “Everyone likes to blow by this—that this will be the toughest schedule we’ve played since I’ve been here,” Petersen said.  You have to get past the Tennessee-Martin and Air Force games and look at the two perfect storms the Broncos have experienced.  They faced a revenge-minded Washington team amid the euphoria that overtook UW fans at the grand re-opening of Husky Stadium, and they faced a Fresno State team that finally had the mojo to cash in on 12 years of misery.

After 561 yards of total offense and 40 points at Fresno State last Friday night, Boise State is at 450 yards and 37 points per game this season, pretty much the norm over the past 10 years.  Last year at this time the Broncos were averaging 395 yards and less than 23 points.  But Petersen sees the offense and Joe Southwick, his gutty performance against the Bulldogs notwithstanding, as having a long way to go.  “He’s playing well, but nobody’s playing perfect by a long stretch,” said Petersen.  “He’s gotta make a handful of plays if we’re going to get over the hump.”

Boise State’s wild second half rally rings a little hollow now.  “It was just a bummer not to finish,” said offensive tackle Spencer Gerke.  But it’s onward and upward for the Bishop Kelly graduate.  “It comes back to practice and fundamentals,” Gerke said.  “Even if we were 4-0, we wouldn’t be satisfied.  We always have to have a chip on our shoulder.”  The chip has returned for the offensive line after giving up four sacks for the first time in the Chris Petersen era at Fresno State, including on back-to-back plays in the second quarter.  “We just need to give Joe more time,” said Gerke.  The answer?  “Better practice, better fundamentals,” he repeated.

Fresno State launched a Heisman Trophy campign for Derek Carr the morning after the victory over Boise State.  School officials had it ready to go but obviously wanted to wait until after they saw what would happen in last Friday’s showdown.  The Bulldogs felt Carr’s 460-yard, four-touchdown night against the Broncos was a sufficient launching pad.  Carr has thrown for 1,121 yards and 12 TDs with just one interception in three games.  A website,, went live and Facebook and Twitter elements were activated.  Fresno State called a special news conference Saturday morning, with coach Tim DeRuyter saying Carr is as valuable to the Bulldogs as any other player in the nation is to his own team.

A makegood for Fresno State’s game at Colorado wiped out by the devastating floods around Boulder is looking unlikely, especially now that the Bulldogs have beaten Boise State.  They’re probably going to be busy December 7, the day of the Mountain West championship game.  Colorado approached Hawaii about playing on October 19, an open date for both schools.  The Warriors didn’t fill the 13-game schedule allowed them per Hawaii’s NCAA exception, but they told the Buffaloes yesterday it’s a no-go.  That would have given UH a school-record seven road games this season, including four in a five-week period.

Just because a flag isn’t thrown in a game doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences later.  Wyoming linebacker Nehemie Kankolongo leveled Air Force kick returner Anthony LaCoste last Saturday night, leading with the crown of his helmet and causing LaCoste to fumble.  The Cowboys recovered, leading to a touchdown in their 56-23 rout of the Falcons.  The Mountain West reviewed the play and ruled yesterday that Kankolongo had targeted LaCoste and handed down a one-game suspension.  Kankolongo will miss Wyoming's game at Texas State this Saturday.

It’s time to wrap up Graham DeLaet’s breakout season on the PGA Tour after his 28th-place result at the Tour Championship.  Just by virtue of making that tournament, DeLaet has qualified for the Masters, the US Open and the British Open in 2014.  The former Boise State standout earned $131,200 in Atlanta and ended the season with $2,834,900 in earnings.  And that doesn’t include a $600,000 bonus for finishing 8th in the FedExCup standings.  Next up is the Presidents Cup next week—DeLaet will play for the International team against the U.S. at Muirfield Village in Ohio.

The Boise State men’s golf team rarely hosts a tournament.  There’s only one in the next year, the third annual Dash Thomas Memorial that teed off with the first two rounds yesterday at BanBury.  The good news for the Broncos: Ty Travis, the junior from Eagle who won the 2013 Idaho Men’s Amateur, leads the tournament.  Travis is at seven-under and is up by a stroke over Idaho’s Rylee Iacolucci.  The bad news: Boise State is 12th out of 12 schools in team scoring in the event going into today’s final round.

TV locations and tipoff times have been finalized for Boise State men’s basketball home games this season.  The Broncos’ matchups against Seattle on November 19 and Saint Mary's December 14 were picked up by ROOT Sports, while the marquee game of the home slate, versus Utah December 3, will be on CBS Sports Network.  The only drawback is the 8 p.m. tipoff time for the contest with the Utes.  Those 8:00 games on weeknights are tough on families.  There are two other 8 p.m. weeknight starts, against UT Arlington and Carroll College.  Those are due to doubleheaders in conjunction with Boise State’s women games.

Andrew Cashner has made his final start of the season for San Diego, and the former Boise Hawk’s season is certainly worthy of a recap.  Cashner lost a tough 1-0 decision to the NL West champion Dodgers Sunday.  His last time out, Cashner had flirted with history as he carried a perfect game into the seventh inning against Pittsburgh and settled for a one-hit shutout.  His September ERA is 0.76, the second-lowest mark for Padres starters in any month in franchise history.  Cashner was 10-9 for the season with a 3.09 ERA for a team that has struggled.  “There’s no reason to think it’s not going to continue,” said Padres manager Bud Black in the San Diego Union-Tribune.  “We feel as though we have a very, very good starting pitcher.”

This Day In Sports…September 24, 2011:

Tony Knap, Boise State’s first coach as a four-year school, passes away at the age of 96.  Knap took the reins of Bronco football in 1968 when the legendary Lyle Smith moved to the athletic director’s chair.  Knap guided Boise State into the Big Sky in 1970 and earned the Broncos’ first three Big Sky championships and first three 10-win seasons.  He compiled a record of 71-19-1 in eight seasons before moving on to UNLV in 1976.  Knap built the Bronco fan base as we know it today, entertaining it with an innovative pass-first offense that was way ahead of its time.  Knap’s signature win was the 42-14 victory over Idaho in the first Bronco-Vandal game in 1971.

(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.)