Monday, August 26, 2013.
It is game week. So let's set the scene with Boise State's only other trip to Husky Stadium—what we now call the old Husky Stadium—six years ago. The Broncos came into the fray one game removed from the 2007 Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma and were carrying a 14-game winning streak. Yet they were still looking for their first road win ever against a BCS school, not to mention the Pac-10. UW fans were optmistic a breakout season was approaching, and there were 70,045 in the house on a sun-washed day. The “over-rated” chant was loud and clear from the get-go.
The first half was eventful, with Washington freshman quarterback Jake Locker doing his scrambling thing, scoring first on a six-yard touchdown run. It was the ensuing kickoff that gave Boise State momentum—and snapped it away at the drop of a flag. Rashaun Scott ran the kick back 96 yards for a touchdown, only to have it called back by a holding penalty. The Huskies took advantage of their guests’ discouragement with Bronco-type trickery, a 16-yard halfback pass for a TD to make it 14-0. The Huskies added another touchdown and a field goal, while Boise State quarterback Taylor Tharp was scoring from one yard out and Kyle Brotzman was booting a 21-yard field goal, and it was 24-10 at the break.
That halftime score was the final, but the scoreless second half was not uneventful. Hope sprung eternal for the Broncos until the end. Check out Boise State’s final three possessions in the fourth quarter. First, Tharp was intercepted at the Washington 14. Then the Broncos marched down to the Huskies’ five-yard line and turned it over on downs. Finally, there was another interception at the UW two. The 24-10 loss remains the worst of Chris Petersen's head coaching career. Heck, there have only been eight of 'em in seven seasons. But it’s utterly remarkable that the worst one is 14 points.
There were 10,000 Boise State fans in the stands for that 2007 visit. The count should be lower this Saturday, as Boise State was allotted only 3100 tickets. Many Bronco fans have secured seats through brokers and Seattle friends, but not enough to hit 10,000. Did I say “Seattle friends?” What the Boise State faithful will encounter at Washington will be worth chronicling. There are many who attended both the 2007 game at UW and the Bronco-Nevada game in 2010 in Reno who experienced the infamously boorish behavior of Wolf Pack fans at the latter—and will tell you Huskies fans were far nastier.
Significant NFL doings pertaining to Boise State products: Detroit has traded backup quarterback Thaddeus Lewis to Buffalo for linebacker Chris White, leaving three QBs on the Lions roster. One of them, of course, is Kellen Moore, coming off his best night as a pro last Thursday. NFL clubs have to get down to 75 players tomorrow, and the cuts have already begun. Tyler Shoemaker was one of them, a casualty in Kansas City. At least the former Bronco wide receiver logged a reception in an NFL uniform, a nine-yarder in KC’s win over Pittsburgh.
Chase Baker got a lot of playing time in Minnesota’s loss at San Francisco last night. Baker had two tackles, one for loss, receiving increased snaps due to a knee injury suffered two weeks ago by Sharrif Floyd, the first round pick out of Florida. D.J. Harper got four carries in the fourth quarter in that game, gaining 12 yards. Eight of his yards came on the final play of the game. Harper’s first tote gave the 49ers a first down at the Viking one. Unfortunately, Harper will be watching for “The Turk” the next 24 hours. Elsewhere, Tyrone Crawford has officially been placed on injured reserve by Dallas after tearing his Achilles at the beginning of training camp.
You may have seen Idaho quarterback Chad Chalich’s scrimmage and mock-game numbers dating back to the Silver & Gold Game last April: 72-of-107 for 1,212 yards and 15 touchdowns with one interception as detailed by the Statesman’s Dave Southorn. No doubt the Vandal offense has been fabulous during fall camp, thanks in large part to Chalich. There have been lots of open receivers for the redshirt freshman from Coeur d’Alene. But it magnifies the fact that defense may be Idaho’s Achilles, at least out of the gate this season. It’s very difficult to jump a level on defense in a road game, and that’s how things start for the Vandals this Saturday at North Texas. Idaho has to make reparations for a unit that allowed 474 yards a staggering 42.4 points per game last season.
A two-time former Idaho coach, Dennis Erickson, is undergoing a renaissance at the age of 66. After sitting out last season and considering a permanent retirement following his firing by Arizona State in 2011, Erickson took on co-offensive coordinator duties at Utah under Kyle Whittinham. "It was a chance to get back into the Pac-12, and it was close to where I live in Idaho," Erickson told Anne Peterson of the Deseret News. "I just wanted to get back in. And it's been a lot of fun for me." In spring football and in fall camp he’s been installing a new up-tempo offense with the Utes (like so many other programs around the country). Here’s the count on Erickson’s head coaching stops: Idaho, Wyoming, Washington State, Miami, Seattle Seahawks, Oregon State, San Francisco 49ers, Idaho again, and Arizona State. That’s nine.
Graham DeLaet played the best clutch round of his career yesterday, shooting a six-under 65 to tie for second, his best-ever result on the PGA Tour, at The Barclays in the first leg of the PGA Tour playoffs. The former Boise State star was two-under at the turn at Liberty National in Jersey City before clocking four birdies in a five-hole stretch of the back nine to make a charge. DeLaet shared second with Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Gary Woodland, just one shot behind winner Adam Scott. DeLaet won $528,000, his biggest payday ever, moving him over the $2.1 million mark in season earnings. Just as importantly, he zoomed from No. 34 in FedExCup standings to No. 7. DeLaet will also move up to No. 9 in the Presidents Cup standings, and with one week before qualifying ends, is in good shape to make the International team.
By the skin of his teeth, former Bronco Troy Merritt has made the Web.com Tour Finals. Merritt saved his season Friday by carding a five-under 66 to make the cut at the Cox Classic in Omaha. He finished tied for 45th yesterday, but that was enough to end up 74th on the Web.com money list—and the top 75 advance to the Finals, beginning this Thursday at the Hotel Fitness Championship in Fort Wayne, IN.
Hillsboro got back at the Boise Hawks yesterday, prevailing 6-5 in 10 innings to snap the Hawks’ four-game winning streak. The Hops also regained sole possession of first place by a game over Boise in the second half standings of the Northwest League’s South Division. The Hawks cradled a 5-4 lead going into the bottom of the eighth inning, but Hillsboro manufactured a run to tie it up. Then the Hops got a bases-loaded walk-off single from Yogey Perez-Ramos in the 10th. The Hawks are more interested in a Northwest League playoff berth right now than a winning season, but they have the latter. Saturday night’s 2-1 win at Hillsboro was their 39th of the year, giving them their first winning campaign since 2008.
This Day In Sports…August 26, 1991:
Kansas City ace Bret Saberhagen throws a no-hitter in his final season with the Royals, handcuffing the White Sox, 7-0. No KC pitcher has tossed a no-hitter since. The highlight of Saberhagen’s career, though, was the 1985 World Series, when he led the Royals past the St. Louis Cardinals. Saberhagen pitched two complete games in the Series, including a shutout in Game 7.
(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.)