Monday, January 14, 2013.
There was something about Boise State’s matchup at Wyoming last Wednesday that bears a second look. It was a close game—and the Broncos won. So many times in recent years Boise State has taken a formidable opponent to the wire, only to see a shot at the buzzer clang off the rim. Jeff Elorriaga broke new ground with his buzzer-beating three-pointer in Laramie. Think back to some of the games against the Mountain West elite last year. There was the the 77-72 overtime loss to UNLV, the 58-56 defeat at San Diego State, and the 65-62 loss to the Aztecs in the Mountain West Tournament. This is still a young Bronco team, but experience is starting to show. And the belief fostered by wins like the one over the Cowboys makes you think a nailbiter against New Mexico before a large crowd in Taco Bell Arena Wednesday could have the same result.
The lifting of three suspensions by coach Leon Rice obviously helps Boise State’s cause in trying to upset New Mexico Wednesday night. Leading scorer Derrick Marks, sixth-man Mikey Thompson, and reserve forward Darrious Hamilton, who all missed the win at Wyoming last week, will suit up against the Lobos. Marks’ creativity and Thompson’s energy will be much-needed. And, just as the Bronco coaching staff designed some things to get seldom-used Jake Ness through versus Wyoming, it may be doing the same for the seldom-used Hamilton as we speak, as New Mexico is awfully strong down low. Forward Kenny Buckner’s suspension will last two more games, and he will be missed.
San Diego State beat Fresno State by only seven points last Wednesday. New Mexico blitzed the Bulldogs by 27 Saturday. That tells you much of what you need to know about the Lobos. Just one week into the Mountain West season, New Mexico has emerged as the conference favorite, with a win over UNLV under its belt and a nice common-opponent measuring stick versus San Diego State. Lobo seven-footer Alex Kirk had 19 points and 14 rebounds against Fresno State. More on him in the coming days.
The All-Bowl teams have come and gone now, and this guy wasn’t on them. But if you came up with an all-time all-bowl team for Boise State, Michael Frisina would have to be the kicker. Frisina had already booted two field goals in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas three days before Christmas when he was called upon to stare down the Broncos’ placekicking ghosts of big games past. His 27-yard field goal with 1:16 left that gave Boise State its 28-26 win over Washington—with full leg extension from his 5-5 frame—deserves some mention from this bowl season. Fans of the Huskies would say UW running back Bishop Sankey merits the same after his 205 rushing yards against the Broncos.
One of the games that made Frisina’s finish in Las Vegas stand out was Boise State’s 36-35 loss to TCU in 2011, when Dan Goodale missed a 39-yard field goal attempt on the final play. The central figure in the Horned Frogs’ triumph, quarterback Casey Pachall, has been reinstated by coach Gary Patterson after missing most of TCU’s 2012 season following a DUI arrest. Pachall dropped out of school but has now completed work at a drug and alcohol treatment center. He has re-enrolled and will rejoin the team immediately. Pachall threw for 473 yards and five touchdowns that day on the blue turf.
Our former Bronco NFLers of the Day are Daryn Colledge and Nate Potter of the Arizona Cardinals’ much-maligned and injury-plagued offensive line. One’s a veteran and one’s a rookie, and both are waiting to see who the Cards’ new coach will be. Colledge, who just finished his seventh NFL season, thinks he brings something to the table for the new head man. “When you’re one of two offensive linemen to survive the whole season, you feel like you’ve proven yourself,” Colledge said last week on Idaho SportsTalk. Potter played in only one of the Cardinals’ first eight games this season. Then the Timberline High grad not only played, but started six straight games alongside Colledge for Arizona in November and December.
It had become quite a pattern recently in the Idaho-Bakersfield series, with one team beating the other by five goals. After 7-2 and 8-3 wins by the Steelheads the previous week, the Condors blanked the Steelies 5-0 Friday night. The pattern was broken Saturday night—Bakersfield brought down Idaho by four goals, 6-2. Who knows if this Steelies stumble is a byproduct of the AHL raid last week that robbed the club of some of its best players, but something is missing on special teams. The Condors scored seven times in 18 power play opportunities in their two weekend wins. And Josh Robinson wasn’t himself between the pipes for the Steelheads. It was the normally airtight Robinson who yielded the six Condors goals Saturday. The Steelies return home for an important two-game series against the division-leading Alaska Aces this weekend.
The General has some pull. Boise State men’s tennis coach Greg Patton’s relationships with the U.S. Tennis Association and the international tennis community could land the Davis Cup semifinals in Boise in March. Patton has spearheaded a group that has bid on the event which—if the Americans beat Brazil in the first round of the Davis Cup the first weekend in February—would pit the U.S. against either Serbia or Belgium April 5-7. Serbia would bring the No. 1 player in the world, Novak Djokovic, who’s coming off the incredible run that dethroned Roger Federer the past two years.
The Idaho Stampede split a pair of games with Reno over the weekend in CenturyLink Arena, and there was a wide rift between the two. After being pounded on the boards by the Bighorns in a 103-85 loss Friday night, the Stampede left no doubt Saturday night in a 120-95 romp over Reno. The Stamps put up a 44-point first quarter on the way to their biggest win of what has been a difficult season. The steadying force was 29-year-old Coby Karl, the former Boise State star, who dished out 11 assists to go with eight points and two blocked shots. Justin Holiday led the way with 28 points for the Stampede, who host the Erie BayHawks Wednesday and Thursday.
Supervalu’s sale of Albertson’s stores to Cerberus Capital Management stirs of memories of the painful events of seven years ago. That’s when Albertson’s was first sold to Supervalu and had us thinking Joe Albertson was turning over in his grave. There’s a photo of Joe Albertson in the Bronco sports history book published in 1995. It was taken 34 years ago and shows him receiving a plaque from BSU officials recognizing the key role he played in the building of the Pavilion (now Taco Bell Arena), under construction at that time. Yes, the Albertson’s Boise Open still exists, but even before the sale when outside forces took over Albertson’s in the new century, it always kind of felt like the tournament was grandfathered in—and that kind of corporate/community bond otherwise went out the window.
This Day In Sports…January 14, 1973, 40 years ago today:
Miami’s “No-Name Defense” leads the Dolphins to a 14-7 win over Washington in Super Bowl VII, finishing the first and only unbeaten/untied season in NFL history. Safety Jake Scott was named MVP after grabbing two of Miami’s three interceptions, but the lasting image of the game is a blocked field goal attempt, with Dolphins’ kicker Garo Yepremian making a feeble try at a pass. The Redskins’ Mike Bass picked it off and returned it for Washington’s only score.
(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 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)