Monday, April 19, 2010.
The Blue & Orange Game Saturday had just about everything everyone wanted. The 12,000 fans got a photo finish and a bushel of big plays in the 30-28 win by the Boise State defense, Bronco players got to feel real competition again, and the coaching staff saw a number of guys graduate into impact players. Topping the list were three redshirt freshmen. Joe Southwick and Aaron Burks displayed on-field communication skills usually reserved for Kellen Moore, Austin Pettis and Titus Young. And Ebo Makinde demonstrated that his name has to be in the conversation when the Broncos settle on a replacement at cornerback for Kyle Wilson in fall camp.
Burks had five catches for 113 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown during the offense’s fourth quarter rally. Southwick threw the TD while going 10-of-15 for 191 yards—and definitively taking charge down the stretch with Moore done for the afternoon. Southwick certainly has the look of Boise State’s No. 2 quarterback, outdueling senior Mike Coughlin on the day. Burks is a big fan of Southwick. “He put us on his back and marched us right down the field,” said the wide receiver from Grand Prairie, TX. “To get to have all four years with him is beautiful.”
The impact aspect extended into local stars as well—old and new. Former Capital Eagle Jarrell Root had one of the big days among veterans with 3½ sacks. Geraldo Hiwat out of Capital wasn’t going to let Burks totally upstage him, as the Dutchman hauled in three receptions for 60 yards, including perhaps the catch of the day. Boise High grad Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, another native of The Netherlands, had the only fumble recovery of the day. And then there was former Timberline standout Preston Minter, who had two catches (although I think I counted three), including a clutch 11-yarder to set up the game-tying field goal on the offense’s final drive.
There was some collective breath-holding in the stadium when Winston Venable was escorted off the field with an ice pack under his jersey. Venable had earlier intercepted Moore in the first quarter and, after being flipped in the air, appeared to come down hard on the ball. The second-team All-WAC linebacker (or nicklebacker) suffered an injury to his ribs according to coach Chris Petersen, who didn’t think it was serious.
One scrimmage left to go at Idaho this spring, and the defense continues to do what it needs to do. Vandal quarterbacks Nathan Enderle and Brian Reader were held without a touchdown pass, and the defense racked up six sacks and three pass breakups. The only touchdowns were scored on a 25-yard reverse by Landon Weaver and a two-yard plunge by Corey White. Idaho spring football wraps up with the Silver & Gold Game Friday night.
Playoff hockey in the ECHL sometimes means assimilating players who weren’t with a team during the regular season. Consider Mathieu Tousignant and John-Scott Dickson assimilated in the Idaho Steelheads world after a sweep of Utah in their first two games of the Kelly Cup Playoffs over the weekend. Tousignant, who hadn’t been with the Steelheads since the end of November, returned from the AHL to upset the Grizzlies’ apple cart in Friday night’s 7-2 rout. Tousignant’s disruptive play was reminiscent of a former Steelie now playing for Utah, Lance Galbraith.
On Saturday night, Dickson completed a Steelheads rally with a wicked goal with 1:41 left to give his new club a 4-3 victory. He’s a greenhorn rookie out of the University of New Brunswick, but at crunch time he uncorked from just inside the blue line, stunning Utah goalie Mike Morrison. The Steelheads have thus extinguished the memories of two first round sweeps in the playoffs the past two years. They take a two games-to-none lead to West Valley City tomorrow night.
Gee, that didn’t take long. Friday I mentioned a story out of the Eugene Register-Guard that forward Drew Wiley was going to transfer from Oregon—and that his first campus visit was going to be to Boise State over the weekend. Well, that’s all it took for Wiley to give his verbal to new Bronco coach Leon Rice. Wiley will have to sit out next season and will be a junior in eligibility at BSU in 2011-12. Wiley, who played just 19 games last season for the Ducks and averaged 7½ minutes and 2.2 points, could be one of those guys Rice has talked about who just needs a change of scenery. We will see.
The optimum Race To Robie Creek day is probably overcast, with temperatures in the upper 50’s and no wind. Saturday was about 10 degrees warmer during the race and washed in sunshine. But hey, the 2400-plus runners will take it. College of Idaho track coach Patrick McCurry won again on the men’s side, and first-timer Kelsey Jones, a former Boisean who now lives in Denver, was the women’s champion. Last year’s female champ, Boise’s Cori Mooney, runs today in the Boston Marathon.
This Day In Sports…April 19, 1965:
An historic day for the Houston Astrodome—this one on the down side. The outer ceiling of the stadium has to be painted because the sun’s glare has made fielding fly balls adventuresome as well as downright dangerous. At a cost of $20,000, the glare was blocked, but so was the process of photosynthesis. That caused the natural grass to die and led to the introduction of you-know-what: Astroturf.
(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 1350 KTIK/The Ticket. He’s also handled color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football the last five seasons.)