Sunday, Nov 3 at 6:09 PM
Tuesday, October 12, 2010.
Without fanfare last Saturday night, just the way he likes it, Chris Petersen became the third-winningest football coach in Boise State history with his 54th victory. And who did Petersen pass on the all-time list? His predecessor and the guy who hired him as offensive coordinator in 2001, Dan Hawkins. You thought Hawk’s record was stellar at 53-11? Pete is now 54-4 and trails only Tony Knap and Jim Criner in Bronco wins. In only his fifth season, Petersen is now 50 games over .500. There’s a good chance Pete will surpass Criner later this season, as the man who led Boise State to the 1980 Division I-AA national championship was 59-21-1 over seven seasons. Knap compiled a record of 71-19-1 in his eight years at the helm.
After all the hand-wringing over what would happen to attendance after the Oregon State game, Boise State ended up with a sellout crowd of 33,833 for Toledo. That’s a lot different than the turnout for the Miami of Ohio and UC Davis games last year at a similar point in the season. Let’s see, the economy has (perhaps) bottomed out, and everyone’s used to it now. And the Broncos have been in the top 5 since the first polls in August and are the source of controversial national championship talk. But I think it’s simply this: the Bronco team of 2010 is the most entertaining to watch in school history. From the relentlessness the defense brings to the creativity unleashed weekly by the offense. Fans are even looking forward to the San Jose State game this Saturday on TV…for those reasons. People want to see what happens next.
Petersen expanded yesterday on his comments after the win over Toledo about the Broncos relishing the ability to plug new stuff into the offensive game plan every week. “It’s pretty smooth right now—not a lot of assignment mistakes,” said Petersen. “It always starts with our quarterback, and that’s not going to be a problem with Kellen.” The plethora of fifth-year seniors and fourth-year juniors on the squad completes the equation. “Everybody else has played a lot of football around here,” Pete said.
One byproduct of the machine-like performance in three of the past four weeks: everybody plays. And a lot of reserves are passing their auditions. Petersen says it’s the chance they’ve all been hungry for. “Let’s be honest—football practice is only fun for the coaches,” said Pete. “Certainly not for the linemen. For those guys to get in the game and get some reward time is really important for us.” Right down to the third-teamers, like Jake Broyles, who was singled out yesterday by Petersen. Broyles is a 6-4, 266-pound redshirt freshman from Henderson, NV, who’s been laboring on scout teams for 1½ seasons. “We put him in the game, and he was a terror,” Petersen said.
Another addendum to last Saturday’s Toledo game. Houston Texans scout Ed Lambert, an assistant coach at Boise State 30 years ago, was at Bronco Stadium to take notes on BSU’s NFL prospects (the seniors). Lambert said he was looking at Jeron Johnson, Brandyn Thompson and Winston Venable on defense and Austin Pettis, Titus Young, Tommy Gallarda and Jeremy Avery on offense. Lambert acknowledged that Avery’s size probably precludes him from a shot at the NFL, but the 5-9, 174-pounder’s skill set deserved attention nonetheless. And that was before the game, which saw Avery run the wildcat masterfully and score three rushing touchdowns.
Boise State has had its share of ink in the New York Times in recent years. Now, with Nevada enjoying its first Top 25 ranking in 62 years, the Wolf Pack is getting some as well. Not surprisingly, Pete Thamel’s article yesterday revolved around the pistol, the offense coach Chris Ault invented five years ago. Thamel writes that the scheme “has received almost as much attention as Les Miles’s clock management and Denard Robinson’s untied shoelaces.” And Thamel points out that the pistol’s pinnacle could come the day after Thanksgiving when the Broncos and the pack tangle in Reno. Ault won’t go there yet, though. “Boise can look ahead and earmark things,” Ault said. “We can’t; we haven’t been there.”
Big plays have been few and far between for former Boise State star Quintin Mikell this season, so the sight of a loose ball landing in his hands had to be a welcome one Sunday night. Mikell grabbed a fumble by 49ers quarterback Alex Smith and raced 52 yards for a game-turning touchdown in the Eagles’ 27-24 win at Candlestick Park. It was Mikell’s first career TD in his eight NFL seasons. He also had another fumble recovery in the game, but the night ended with Mikell seeing stars instead of being one. He had a head-on collision with San Francisco receiver Vernon Davis in the final minute while the Niners were in a desperation drive that would ultimately fail. Mikell appears to be okay.
This week’s Sporting News features its annual list of the Best Sports Cities in America, and Boise comes in 59th, up from 69th a year ago. The rankings are based on the number of teams in a market and their performances, as well as power ratings (when available) and attendance. It’s always interesting to see how many non-BCS cities are ranked higher (those without major franchises in pro sports). Well, there aren’t any. Boise is tops. The next city that fits that description is at No. 89…Reno.
The Idaho Steelheads will open the season Friday night in Qwest Arena without enforcer Adam Huxley, who has landed a 25-game tryout contract with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. The Steelheads will retain Huxley’s ECHL rights should he be released by Chicago. Huxley scored 21 points in 60 games for the Steelheads last season. But, uh, that’s not exactly his primary role. The 27-year-old left wing had 220 penalty minutes and recorded a "Gordie Howe hat trick" in March (goal, assist, and fight). When you do a Google search on Huxley, the top link is hockeyfights.com.
This Day In Sports…October 12, 1976:
The defending world champion Cincinnati Reds score four runs in the seventh inning and three more in the bottom of the ninth—two on successive homers by George Foster and Johnny Bench—to beat Philadelphia and complete a sweep of the National League Championship Series. The Big Red Machine would sweep the New York Yankees in the World Series and lay claim to being one of the greatest teams ever assembled.
(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.)