Wednesday, November 18, 2009.
Chris Petersen has been here before. In fact, he’s been here every year he’s been head coach at Boise State. The Broncos have the WAC championship in sight, and he wants his team to peak now. “We’ve played a lot of football to set up for these last few weeks. This is championship football time.” The message: there will be no going through the motions when BSU visits Utah State Friday night. As tempting as it is to look ahead to next week’s showdown against Nevada, it’s not the Broncos’ nature to do that. The Wolf Pack has the water cooler talk going, though. According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, Nevada players were asked after their 52-14 win over Fresno State last Saturday how many teams in the country are better than the Wolf Pack. "In my opinion," said quarterback Colin Kaepernick, "I'd say none."
Trap game, the sequel. Boise State’s game in Logan falls into that category. Louisiana Tech has already filled the bill. The Bulldogs staged a “blue-out” at Joe Aillet Stadium and drew by far their largest crowd of the season when the Broncos brought in the highest-ranked team ever to visit Ruston. Utah State is in the same boat. The Aggies are resurgent under new coach Gary Anderson. They’ve never played a home game on an ESPN network and haven’t been seen on one since the inaugural Humanitarian Bowl in 1997. It’s all Senior Day for the Aggies. And hey—they beat Louisiana Tech in Romney Stadium last month.
Boise State will be the highest-ranked team ever to visit Logan, tied with Oregon, who was sixth-ranked when it visited in 2001. The Aggies were struggling then, but they reached back for something extra when they got the Ducks on their home field. Joey Harrington was Oregon’s quarterback at the time, and it’s a good thing. The Ducks led only 24-21 at the half before Harrington helped them pull away to a 38-21 victory.
Boise State just finished experiencing a bulldozer performance by Idaho’s DeMaundray Woolridge last week. Now the Broncos see Utah State’s Robert Turbin staring them down. “He’s a power running back who breaks tackles and moves the pile forward,” said Petersen. Does that sound like Woolridge or what? Had Austin Pettis not had his record-setting day against the Vandals, Turbin would have been a prime WAC Offensive Player of the Week candidate for what he did in the Aggies’ 24-9 victory over San Jose State—a career-high 190 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. For the season, Turbin has rushed for 1,122 yards and nine TDs.
While we talk about Boise State’s Jeremy Avery closing in on a 1,000-yard season, how ‘bout these apples? Nevada’s Vai Taua and Colin Kaepernick both went over the thousand-yard mark on the season last Saturday. Wolf Pack running mate Luke Lippincott only needs 134 more yards to make the Nevada the first team in FBS history to have three 1,000-yard rushers in a single season. Lippincott could do it this week, as the Pack has an expected romp on the docket at New Mexico State.
This much we know: Ryan Mathews’ rushing average won’t change a lick this week. The reason is unfortunate, though, as Mathews will miss Saturday’s game against Louisiana Tech due to a concussion he suffered in the Bulldogs’ loss at Nevada last week. Coach Pat Hill expects Mathews back for the season finale at Illinois December 5. The junior running back leads the nation in rushing, averaging 149 yards a game. Many expect Mathews to leave Fresno State after this season to enter the NFL Draft.
Idaho State’s season-ending victory last Saturday has another sidebar—beyond the fact that, for the second straight year, it saved the Bengals from a winless season. The team ISU beat, Portland State, announced yesterday that coach Jerry Glanville is resigning, and his staff is gone as well. Nobody at PSU is complaining. Glanville rubbed many the wrong way, especially the players he ran off when he decided they couldn’t play. The Vikings went 2-9 this season, their worst year since 1982, before Pokey Allen coached there. Glanville, the colorful former NFL coach, was 9-24 in his three seasons at Portland State.
Kyle DeVan looks like he’s starting again at right guard this week for Indianapolis, and what a story that has become. DeVan took Mike Pollak’s first unit job away two weeks ago with the Colts, who decided to go with the guy signed out of arenafootball2 over a 2008 second round draft pick. In April, DeVan was playing for the now-defunct Boise Burn, sharing an apartment and making $200 a game. Now he’s making close to $300,000 for the season as a starter on an undefeated NFL team.
The Boise State men’s basketball team went big with the signing of 7-1 Ben Mills Monday. Yesterday the Broncos went cat-quick—and maybe acrobatic—as 5-11 guard Chris Kupets from Hill College in Hillsboro, TX, inked his National Letter of Intent. After playing his freshman year at East Carolina, Kupets hooked up with Hill, where he is averaging 16 points in the team’s first three games. His sister Courtney was a bronze medalist on bars at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and led Georgia to the national championship last April, when she won her third national all-around title and cemented a legacy as one of the top collegiate gymnasts of all-time.
Victoria is a study in contrasts as it comes to Qwest Arena to open a three-game series with the Idaho Steelheads. Last season, the Salmon Kings amassed the second-longest winning streak in ECHL history, taking 15 in a row from the first week in December until the second week of January. And they were the team that swept the Steelheads last spring in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. This season Victoria is off to a miserable 3-10 start. All three wins were by shutout, though—two of them last week with rookie netminder Matt Keetley, who was named ECHL Goaltender of the Week yesterday. However, Keetley has been called back up to the AHL.
This Day In Sports…November 18, 2000:
In the final regular season game ever in Big West football, Boise State trounces Idaho, 66-24. BSU rolled up a 42-10 halftime lead on four of Bart Hendricks’ five touchdown passes on the day. Hendricks wrapped up his regular season career with his first 400-yard game, as the Broncos won the final Big West title. The victory capped a 10-game conference winning streak during which BSU averaged 50 points a game.
(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 also handles color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football.)