Monday, October 25, 2010.
It seems all the attention by national media (and worry by Boise State fans) is invested in Michigan State, Missouri, or even Alabama jumping the Broncos in the BCS standings before too long. It’s TCU that remains the ever-present danger, though. Boise State stayed at second in all three major polls and third in the BCS standings yesterday but lost ground in all of them. On the list that will ultimately count, the BCS standings, the Broncos have a score of .8846 to the Horned Frogs’ .8833. The computers like TCU better—the Frogs are fourth in the average computer rankings, with Boise State sixth (Oregon is eighth). The Sagarin computer, which has always treated Boise State kindly, sported the lowest ranking of any for the Broncos: No. 11.
Robert Smith said something last night on ESPN’s “BCS Countdown” that actually has dual meaning going into Boise State’s game against Louisiana Tech. Smith said poll voters need to “look at each team with a fresh set of eyes every week.” Smith will bring his fresh eyes to Boise tomorrow night, as he’ll be doing color on ESPN2. In trying to keep an “open mind,” Smith also said he wasn’t so sure Boise State would beat Virginia Tech today, considering how far the Hokies have come. Personally, I don’t think Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor enjoyed playing against the Bronco defense on Labor Day, and I certainly don’t think he’d enjoy it now.
I did a midseason report Friday on Boise State football as a whole. Let me throw one in here on Kellen Moore, who was third on ESPN’s “Heismanology” list last night behind Auburn’s Cam Newton and Oregon’s LaMichael James. Moore has opened up a lead of more than 15 percentage points over Ricky Stanzi of Iowa in pass efficiency. Kellen’s rating of 190.3 compares with 171.2 after six games last year. The increase is not due so much to his touchdown-to-interception ratio. It’s 16-to-1 this year, but it was 16-to-2 at the midpoint last season. Moore’s yards per attempt is the key—last year on this date it was 8.6, and now it’s 10.4. The payoff has been in Kellen’s improvement throwing the deep ball.
As the stretch run begins in the career of Boise State wide receiver Austin Pettis tomorrow night, it’s a good time to note his body of work. Among active players in college football, Pettis is eighth in catches with 183, 10th in yards with 2,274, and first in touchdown catches with 33. He hasn’t had a TD since the Oregon State game, though. You don’t think he’s hungry, do you?
This is so far down Boise State’s priority list right now, you won’t find it. But one, or two, or three career records could fall tomorrow night on the blue turf. Pettis needs seven catches to break the 37-year-old Bronco record for receptions held by Don Hutt. Moore, with 80 touchdown passes, needs three more TDs to pass Ryan Dinwiddie. And Kyle Brotzman, with 389 points, needs seven points to pass former Hawaii and Denver Bronco kicker Jason Elam to become the WAC’s all-time scoring leader. Brotzman needs 20 points now to eclipse Brock Forsey’s Boise State record.
Louisiana Tech, buoyed by the 683 yards it put up on Idaho last week, comes to Boise tomorrow night also buoyed by something else. The Bulldogs rallied from a 20-point halftime deficit against Boise State last season in Ruston to wrestle the lead away from the Broncos in the fourth quarter, only to fall 45-35. “I definitely think that can help give us some confidence going into the game, especially for those of us who were here last year,” quarterback Ross Jenkins said in the Ruston Daily Leader. “And for new players on our team, it lets them know that we did compete well against them.” It should serve as inspiration for Boise State as well. The Broncos were a bit flat that night—a malady that has not yet struck them in 2010.
Idaho’s 37-14 homecoming win over New Mexico State came with a price, as linebacker JoJo Dickson, a favorite of Vandal teammates and fans alike, saw his college career suddenly come to an end. Dickson suffered a broken left leg when he was blocked by Aggie running back Kenny Turner in the third quarter. The Kibbie Dome fell silent as Dickson was tended to, eventually leaving the field on a stretcher. "You have no idea what kind of impact that had on (our team),” said Idaho coach Robb Akey. Dickson’s defensive teammates finished the job he helped start, as the Vandals allowed only 289 yards a week after the aforementioned toe-stubbing at Louisiana Tech.
Hawaii was only favored by 3½ points at Utah State Saturday, one of the most bizarre spreads of the year. Was that line set on September 1? It was one of those rare occasions that Vegas wasn’t paying attention, because the Warriors punished the Aggies, 45-7. It was Hawaii’s best defensive performance in coach Greg McMackin’s tenure with the Warriors, including his two years as defensive coordinator under June Jones. Utah State was held to 181 yards total offense, the best Warrior mark since limiting Idaho to 153 in a 24-0 win in 2005. That’s who the Warriors play next—Idaho at Aloha Stadium this Saturday. An authoritative victory could have Hawaii ranked when it comes to Bronco Stadium November 6.
The Idaho Steelheads come home after a frustrating weekend in Anchorage—a pair of overtime losses to the Alaska Aces. In a 4-3 Friday night defeat, the Steelheads twice rallied from deficits behind two goals from Mark Derlago. But former Steelie Scott Burt scored twice himself to put the hurt on his former teammates. Saturday night’s 3-2 loss saw the Steelheads play better, but it took a John-Scott Dickson power play goal with 1:41 left in the game to force overtime. Derlago also tallied in that one, giving him four goals in four games this season. Idaho, with the odd record of 1-1-2, returns to Qwest Arena to host the Utah Grizzlies Wednesday night.
In 2007, a year after her first world time trial championship and a year before her gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, Kristin Armstrong said is a Statesman interview that she planned on racing through 2008 and then retiring. “With that being said, I am not sure where my path leads me next,” said Armstrong. Well, the path did not lead to retirement after the 2008 season—that didn’t happen until last year after her second world title. Kristin knew she was going to be married, but didn’t know how having a baby would figure into her future. Now she happily has her three-month-old son, Luke, and husband, Joe. And, at age 37, Armstrong has decided to come out of retirement for a run at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
This Day In Sports…October 25, 1997:
Freshman quarterback Bart Hendricks makes his first start in Boise State’s game against Louisiana Tech at Bronco Stadium. Hendricks, coming on for the injured Nate Sparks, didn’t have the best of games through the air in the 31-27 loss to Tim Rattay, Troy Edwards and the high-powered Bulldogs. But Bart proved his worth immediately with a 73-yard touchdown run—the longest by a quarterback in BSU history (until his 77-yarder against UTEP in the 2000 Humanitarian Bowl and Jared Zabransky’s 85-yard scamper versus Hawaii in 2004).
(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.)