Thursday, November 19, 2009.
Pat Forde’s column at ESPN.com this week doesn’t zero in on the usual easy targets. Forde doesn’t question Boise State’s schedule strength or Kellen Moore’s lack of size when discussing Moore’s upward mobility in the Heisman Trophy talk. In fact, Forde pulled out a little statistical nugget to make his case as he watched Kellen’s touchdown-to-interception ratio climb to 32-to-3.
“He threw five TD passes in just 32 attempts in the Broncos' rout of Idaho, increasing what already was the highest touchdown-per-attempt rate in the nation to 10.7 percent,” writes Forde. “That's higher than Sam Bradford's national-best 10.4 percent last year—and you know what Bradford walked away with at season's end.” I hadn’t seen that comparison yet. Could Moore really get a trip to New York City…as a sophomore? He’s sixth right now on most of the Heisman watch lists, including the ESPN Experts’ Poll. In that one, Alabama running back Mark Ingram is the leader, and Stanford running back Toby Gerhart has zoomed into second after his lights-out performances against Oregon and USC.
At the WAC Football Media Days in July, new Utah State coach Gary Anderson made a comparison that has turned out to be prophetic. He said Diondre Borel reminded him of Utah’s Brian Johnson before he got hurt, but called Borel “a better athlete.” Johnson, of course, led the Utes to their Sugar Bowl triumph over Alabama last season while Anderson was Utah’s defensive coordinator. That’s setting the bar high, but USU’s junior quarterback has lived up to that billing as the WAC leader in total offense at 275 yards a game. Borel threw for only 50 yards on 7-of-18 passing last week, but that was okay—the Aggies rushed for 381 yards on San Jose State, their most on the ground in 10 years.
Borel has thrown only three interceptions this season, just like Kellen Moore. But it’s his feet that will make him scary tomorrow night. Utah State coach Anderson says the plays Borel makes when he’s getting out of problems are amazing. For Boise State, Borel is good preparation for Colin Kaepernick next week, as the Aggie sophomore has rushed for 1,075 yards in his young career, already a USU school record for quarterbacks. Of course, the Broncos are just looking at Borel as being, well, good preparation for Borel.
BSU did a good job against Borel last year, chasing him from the 49-14 rout after he went just 3-for-8 and threw an interception—then had a fumble returned for a short touchdown by Ellis Powers. But Borel was just getting his feet wet. The Bronco defense recognizes the change in the 6-0, 187-pounder. With Borel’s improvement as a passer and the many more looks the Aggies can give defenders as a result, Kyle Wilson knows BSU will have its hands full. Wilson said the Broncos will counter by “trying to get them out of their comfort zone. We’ll probably be disguising and showing different things.”
There are many reasons for Boise State fans to root for Dan Hawkins tonight. One, few seats are hotter than that of the former Bronco coach as his Colorado Buffaloes go to Oklahoma State. The Buffs are 3-7 and the message boards are brutal. Some wonder how legit Hawk’s 53-11 run in Boise was if it isn’t happening for him in Boulder. But more importantly, Oklahoma State has emerged as the key stumbling block in Boise State’s quest to land an at-large spot in a BCS bowl.
Here’s Matt Hayes’ take in the Sporting News Today daily online edition: “No one is pulling harder for Oklahoma State these last two weekends than the BCS. It begins with Colorado and ends with the November 28 Bedlam game at Oklahoma. Win those two games, and Oklahoma State will play in the Fiesta Bowl. Lose either of the two (assuming Texas wins out), and the Fiesta Bowl likely won't take the No. 2 Big 12 team with nine wins to preserve the conference tie-in. That means Boise State and TCU would be playing in big-boy bowls. In the last three weeks, USC and Notre Dame have fallen out of contention for a spot, and the BCS-league alternatives are slim. The only real possibility would be Georgia Tech, if it wins out and loses the ACC championship game and finishes 11-2.”
Daryn Colledge has been nursing an ankle injury, and that has only compounded what has been a very difficult season for the former Boise State star. Colledge is still listed as the starter at left guard for Green Bay, fending off for now the challenge of T.J. Lang. The Sporting News called Colledge’s game in the stunning loss at Tampa Bay a week and a half ago his worst as a left guard. That led to talk that Lang would take his spot, but the Packers ended up plugging Lang in at right tackle. Colledge held his own in last Sunday’s win over Dallas, although he did have to leave the game for awhile with the bad ankle.
Boise State is drilling for a trip to Laramie and a game at Wyoming Saturday night and hopes the brightest spot of last weekend can continue his emergence. Amidst the celebrated arrivals of junior college transfers Reggie Arnold, Westly Perryman and Daequon Montreal into the BSU basketball fold, it was a fast-rising returnee who stole the spotlight during the Broncos’ first three games. LaShard Anderson, the junior guard out of San Diego, averaged 16.7 points per game as the Broncos went 2-1 at a round robin tournament in Missoula. The highlight was Anderson’s 25-point effort in the opening night win over Loyola Marymount. Most impressive, though, was his free throw shooting. Anderson was nails, going 20-for-22 over the three games.
Idaho Steelheads coach Derek Laxdal talked earlier this week about the bitter taste that still lingers from Victoria’s first round sweep of his club in last spring’s Kelly Cup Playoffs. Well, the Steelheads took another bite of lemon peel in Qwest Arena last night. The Salmon Kings, despite a 3-10 start this season, dominated the hottest team in the ECHL’s West Division in a 5-3 decision. It was Victoria’s first road win of the season—and the first loss of the campaign for Steelies’ netminder Rejean Beauchemin, who allowed five goals on only 21 shots. One bright note for Idaho: Ketchum’s Cody Lampl recorded his first two points as a Steelhead, both on assists.
Tyler Aldridge’s one—and hopefully not only—season on the PGA Tour is done. The Nampa golfer missed the cut in the tour’s final event, shooting 72-74 last week in the Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Lake Buena Vista, FL. It was Aldridge’s first PGA Tour event since the Wyndham Championship in late August. Following that, the one-time Boise State Bronco spent a lot of time on the Nationwide Tour, where he was runnerup at the Utah Classic the week before the Albertsons Boise Open. Aldridge won over $59,000 in the Utah tournament, more than the other 28 PGA and Nationwide events he played combined. He participated in 18 events on the PGA Tour this year and made three cuts.
This Day In Sports…November 19, 1994, 15 years ago today:
In a winner-take-all game for the Big Sky championship, Boise State and Idaho face off before a record crowd at Bronco Stadium. BSU jumped out to a 13-0 lead behind Tony Hilde and Ryan Ikebe—then hung on to beat the Vandals 27-24, ending Idaho’s amazing 12-game winning streak in the rivalry. It capped off a 10-1 regular season under Pokey Allen and gave the Broncos their first league title since 1980.
(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.)