Sunday, Nov 3 at 6:09 PM
Wednesday, October 6, 2010.
It must get really old for Boise State’s October opponents to keep hearing in the national media how bad they are. That creates chips that will fit nicely on the shoulders of the Toledo Rockets Saturday night. What about Toledo coming into an intense venue and playing a top 5 team? The Rockets go into situations like this every once in awhile. They’ve already been in a Big Ten stadium this season and won—albeit over a down Purdue team, 31-20. Toledo is 6-8 all-time over top 25 teams; the Rockets have one victory over a top 10 squad, 35-31 over ninth-ranked Pitt at the Glass Bowl in Toledo in 2003.
It’s going to be tough for Kellen Moore to top what another quarterback of a top 10 team did to Toledo in the season opener. Arizona, now ranked ninth, swamped the Rockets, 41-2, as Nick Foles went 32-of-37 for 360 yards and two touchdowns. That’s a cool completion rate of over 86 percent. Moore’s pass percentage, an important part of his equation is at 66 percent for the season after his 13-for-18 night at New Mexico State. But the stat everyone always likes is Kellen’s touchdown-to-interception ratio. It’s currently 11 to 1, not far off last year’s NCAA record pace (39 to 3).
I talked yesterday about what Chris Potter might be able to do in Boise State’s wildcat formation. Turns out coach Chris Petersen is all about that scheme and the variety of players he might be able to use that way. He said on “Coach Pete Live” last night that there’s a lot of work being done on the wildcat. Don’t expect Doug Martin or Jeremy Avery to throw a pass out of it. But Matt Kaiserman? The sophomore from Skyview High has already tossed a touchdown on a halfback option (to Kyle Efaw last year) and had to tuck the ball away on another drawn up for him in the Oregon State game. The Bronco offense will only get more interesting as autumn progresses.
If Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe has come this far after four games, what’s he going to look like after 12? Tjong-A-Tjoe, the 6-3, 292-pound freshman defensive tackle, has had a steep learning curve, having come to Boise High just over three years ago from the Netherlands to attend school and play football. “Ricky was pretty raw, and still hasn’t played a lot of football,” said coach Chris Petersen. Tjong-A-Tjoe’s improvement is evident in every game, though. “It’s two things,” Pete said. “Learning techniques—those are easier said than done. And, playing hard.” Tjong-A-Tjoe’s part of the Broncos’ second wave on the defensive line and was an impact player in the blowout at Wyoming. He added a sack in the win over Oregon State, then recovered a fumble (that he didn’t get credit for) in the rout at New Mexico State.
More evidence that not all the national guys (and gals) are railing on Boise State. In his “Forde Yard Dash” this week, ESPN.com’s Pat Forde writes, “For every SEC snob who sneers at Boise's theoretical ability to play every week in that league, take a look at the mighty Eastern Division. It went 0-5 last week, with South Carolina upholding divisional pride by not playing. Think the Broncos couldn't win the East? Think again. While The Dash readily acknowledges that Alabama looks like the best team in America right now, the battle is lively for No. 2—and all that really matters is finishing in the top two. After this past weekend, The Dash has the Broncos second, Oregon a close third and Ohio State fourth.”
Here’s what might be a kiss of death regarding TCU staying in the Mountain West. Of the Horned Frogs’ flirtations with the Big East, the Denver Post’s Natalie Meisler wrote after TCU’s 27-0 win over Colorado State that “TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said that's all it is, speculation. No one has contacted TCU. ‘The Mountain West Conference is a great fit for TCU,’ Del Conte said. His priority is gaining BCS automatic qualifying status for the Mountain West and he’s excited about membership additions Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State.” Yeah, right. Meisler’s the one who wrote BYU was staying put in the Mountain West in the days before the Cougars pulled the trigger on independence. Hold onto your britches.
Former Boise State standout Gerald Alexander returned to Jacksonville with a zeal last Sunday, making the Jaguars wonder why they ever released him at the end of training camp. The inspired Alexander was at the root of two game-turning plays in the Jags’ 31-28 upset of Indianapolis. First, his hit on Colts tight end Brody Eldridge knocked a Peyton Manning pass in the air, and it was intercepted by teammate Anthony Smith. Then it was Smith stripping Colts star Reggie Wayne—the ball was recovered by Alexander and returned past midfield to set up a Jaguars touchdown. Alexander may have just gone from unwanted free agent to NFL starter again in one week’s time.
New Idaho Steelheads coach Hardy Sauter said he wanted to get as many returnees as possible this season, and he’s done especially well with All-Stars. Brendan Milnamow and John Swanson played in the ECHL All-Star Game last season. And in 2008-09, Mark Derlago and Justin Taylor represented Bakersfield and Las Vegas, respectively, for the National Conference in the midwinter tilt. Then there’s 2007 All-Star Mike Gabinet, who returns to the organization this fall. Training camp continues today at Qwest Arena, with an exhibition game set for Friday night against the Utah Grizzlies (for season ticket holders and their invited guests only).
The only former Boise Hawk playing in the postseason this year is Sergio Mitre of the Yankees, who open against the Twins tonight at Target Field. Many thought Mitre would be left off the postseason roster. After all, he went long spells this season without being used by Yankee manager Joe Girardi. But Mitre made three appearances in the final week and ended the regular season with a 3.33 ERA despite an 0-3 record. The 29-year-old righthander played for the Hawks in 2001, in the starting rotation that included Dontrelle Willis.
This Day In Sports…October 6, 1993:
The first of three retirements for Michael Jordan. At the age of 30, he thought he had accomplished all he could in the NBA, with three straight Chicago Bulls championships and three MVP awards. Jordan would drift off into minor league baseball, only to return to the Bulls about a year and a half later.
(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.)