Sunday, Nov 3 at 6:09 PM
Friday, November 19, 2010.
There were assurances during the offseason that Kellen Moore and Titus Young were working on the deep throws that sometimes seemed just out of reach during the 2009 season. No better example than Boise State’s first play from scrimmage in the Fiesta Bowl. Moore’s downfield shot to a wide-open Young was just beyond his grasp on what would have been an 85-yard touchdown pass. I’m not sure where ESPN.com’s Sharon Katz got these read-between-the-lines stats, but going into the Idaho game, when targeting Young on throws of 15 yards or more, Moore had completed 14 of 19 attempts for five touchdowns and zero interceptions. We know there’s a sixth TD and at least a 15th completion, because Kellen hit Titus with a 58-yard score against the Vandals.
Moore is on the verge of another major Boise State record, as he needs 220 yards to become the school’s career passing yards leader, topping Ryan Dinwiddie. That could happen tonight, depending on what offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin has dialed up for the Milk Can game against Fresno State. Young is right there, too, needing 80 yards to break Ryan Ikebe’s Bronco career record for receiving yards. With one catch tonight, Young will have a reception in 40 consecutive games, the third-longest active streak in the nation.
With some research help from Bronco Country.com, here’s the big picture for Boise State kicker Kyle Brotzman and his career scoring total. As has been chronicled, the senior from Meridian High is now the WAC’s all-time leader with 403 points and needs six more to break Brock Forsey’s Bronco record. Forsey’s is No. 8 in career scoring in Division I-A (FBS) college football, and Brotzman is No. 10 (former Texas star Cedric Benson is in between them). Brotzman has a realistic shot at finishing third all-time. Louisville’s Art Carmody occupies that spot with 433 career points.
It was going to be strange not talking about Pat Hill a year from now. It appeared Boise State and Fresno State were going to go their separate conference ways in June, only to see another seismic shift in August that placed the Bulldogs and Nevada in the Mountain West with the Broncos. I think Boise State fans like Hill deep down inside—except when he’s roaming the visitors’ sideline at Bronco Stadium. Hill has been at Fresno State 14 years. Only three guys have been coaching longer at their schools continuously: Penn State’s Joe Paterno (45 years), Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer (24), and Troy’s Larry Blakeney (20). We’ll talk about Chris Ault’s longevity next week.
Speaking of the Mountain West, stop the presses. A statement by the MWC released in Honolulu last night said, "The Mountain West Conference Board of Directors has authorized Commissioner Craig Thompson to begin discussions with the University of Hawaii regarding possible membership in the sport of football only." And the discussions are almost complete, as it turns out. The Warriors’ other sports would join the Big West, ending Hawaii’s 32-year affiliation with the WAC. Could this be a pre-emptive strike by the Mountain West in case TCU leaves the conference for the Big East? At any rate, it would complete the gutting of the WAC. Hawaii already has what it calls “a string agreement in principle” with the Mountain West to make the move.
Man, that attendance soapbox gets old. But here we go again. Boise State students did not come through this week, failing to pick up almost 1500 of their allotted tickets. So the school has about 30 hours (from the time of release) to sell them, and they’re trying to get it done at half-price. Scott Van Pelt on ESPN Radio was particularly critical of the Broncos after seeing empty seats on October 26. What will he see at tonight’s game—against a supposed rival, with the home team carrying a No. 3 ranking in the three major polls? Fans have two chances left to see a corps of record-breaking seniors on the blue turf. I’d hate to think they’re being taken for granted.
I ran that Boise State-versus-Georgia rumor by a couple co-workers yesterday, and they said, “Oh…bad karma!” There will be that feeling out there if, as is spreading through the blogosphere, ESPN gets the deal brokered to trade Ole Miss to BYU so the Broncos and Bulldogs can open the season in the Georgia Dome next year. But that also would provide a chance to see this entire Bronco era come full circle. The taste of the 48-13 Boise State loss between the hedges in 2005 is still bitter for legions of Bronco fans, but think long and hard about everything that’s happened since then. And who the Boise State quarterback will be.
It’s coming suddenly and swiftly for Idaho: the Vandals’ first cold-weather game of the season. The past two weeks they were in the Kibbie Dome, and the week before that they were at Hawaii. The front coming through here today should be smack-dab in the Cache Valley in time for tomorrow’s Idaho-Utah State game, and it’s always more severe there than it is here. The Vandals need to sweep their final three games to reach a bowl, and this will be as difficult as any. The Aggies have had their number, scoring 52 on them in the Kibbie Dome last year. Oddsmakers agree on the degree of difficulty, favoring USU by 2½ points. An Idaho victory would be an accomplishment, coming on the heels of a three-game losing streak.
It’s a roundabout reunion night for Leon Rice, in his second game as Boise State’s basketball coach. The Broncos play at San Diego tonight, and the Toreros are coached by Bill Grier, who—like Rice—was a long-time Gonzaga assistant under Mark Few. Grier and Rice were together on the Zags’ staff for seven years before Grier was hired by San Diego in 2007. The Toreros are 1-1 this season, coming off a 64-48 loss at Stanford Monday night. Boise State then travels to UC Davis to face the 0-3 Aggies on Sunday.
Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of Randy Livingston’s life. The closest thing Boise has to a pro basketball icon makes his head coaching debut tomorrow night as the Idaho Stampede open against the New Mexico Thunderbirds tomorrow night in Qwest Arena. Livingston would like to pick up where he left off as a player, as he retired after leading the Stampede to the 2008 D-League championship. The former LSU star is the Stamps’ all-time leader in points scored (2,428), assists (1,517) and games played (163). Livingston was a Stampede assistant under Bryan Gates the season after his retirement and was on the staff of the D-League’s Maine Red Claws last season.
They showed some gumption, but it was another one-goal disappointment last night for the Idaho Steelheads, who lost 3-2 in a shootout at Stockton. The Steelheads were scrappy at the end of regulation, trailing 2-1. They had pulled goalie Mike Zacharias, and the extra attacker paid off on a John Swanson goal with 51 seconds left. Nevertheless, it’s the fifth time this season the Steelheads have lost in overtime or a shootout. They finish this five-game stretch against the Thunder with a second game in Stockton tomorrow night.
Other Friday notes: When the Bulldogs football team returns home after the game this weekend, there’ll be some Broncos already in Fresno. Boise State will be represented by three wrestlers at the 2010 NWCA All-Star Classic Sunday at Selland Arena. Andrew Hochstrasser will be competing in the prestigious tournament at 133 pounds, Adam Hall at 157, and Kirk Smith at 184. And the College of Idaho men’s basketball team returns home this weekend, hosting the 24th Annual Duane Wolfe Memorial Golden Rule Shootout. The Yotes will be joined by Warner Pacific, Montana Western, and Westminster for the Friday-Saturday event.
This Day In Sports…November 19, 1994:
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 jumps out to a 13-0 lead behind Tony Hilde and Ryan Ikebe—then hangs 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 served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)