Wednesday, Sep 22 at 9:38 AM
Wednesday, September 22, 2010.
The Boise State defense has been thinking about the opportunity to play these guys for a couple years. And it has come to pass—Saturday night in Bronco Stadium. Jacquizz and James Rodgers have become Northwest legends of sorts, beginning with Oregon State’s 2008 upset of USC. The conversation always starts with Quizz, the 5-7 junior running back who was the first freshman ever to be named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year. He certainly gave the Bronco “D” plenty of tape to break down after rushing for 132 yards and scoring three touchdowns in last week’s win over Louisville. The end zone is a familiar place for Quizz—he’s tied for third in the nation among active players for career touchdowns with 38. He just went over the 3,000-yard mark in career rushing last week. Oh, and Quizz does not fumble.
The last thing Boise State wants to do is forget about Jacquizz’s brother, James, also a 5-7 dynamo. He’s a senior wide receiver (Oregon State still uses the term “flanker”), but let’s skip over that for a moment and go to special teams. If the Broncos don’t bring their “A” game in that facet, there could be trouble in River City. James had 207 return yards against the Cardinals, and he leads the nation in all-purpose yards with 226.5 a game—a 28-yard lead over No. 2. He could go over 2,000 career receiving yards Saturday, but here’s another wrinkle: James has over 1400 rushing yards in his career. The Rodgers brothers are fairly electric.
You don’t have to tell Kellen Moore this, but it’s good for others to hear: Moore can still get better. He’d like to take another step on another big stage against Oregon State Saturday night. Kellen, as proficient as he was, escaped two interceptions at Wyoming and has taken some guff over his 49-yard touchdown pass to Titus Young, who could have called a fair catch on it. Chris Petersen smiled Monday and said, “Sometimes Titus is a hard guy to judge.” Pete added, “Any time it’s completed in the end zone, it’s good.”
Here’s an update on Boise State streaks and such. The Broncos have a 16-game winning streak, the second-longest in school history behind the 22-game streak in 2003-04, and one behind the nation’s current active leader, Alabama. Boise State has been victorious in 13 consecutive road games, the longest streak in the country (and that doesn’t count the Virginia Tech game). The Broncos have won 27 regular season games in a row. Titus Young has caught a pass in 32 straight games, the third longest active streak in the nation (Oregon State’s James Rodgers is right behind at 31). Austin Pettis’ 32 career receiving touchdowns are the most among all active players in the nation, as are Kyle Brotzman’s 353 career points.
I got one of these in the mail last week at my downtown office. It was from the St. Luke’s Women’s Fitness Celebration—a neighborhood notification of road closures for the big event Saturday. No big deal, until word came out about the ESPN GameDay appearance at Boise State. From 8:30 to 11AM, it’s going to be hard to cross through downtown to get to Bronco Stadium, and vice-versa, with both Main and Myrtle closed off. They’re recommending people use State Street. Duly noted.
You may have heard about this, but as soon as the final gun went off in Nevada’s 52-31 win over Cal, Wolf Pack fans stormed the field. And did they chant, “Kaep-er-nick…Kaep-er-nick?” Nope. It was “We Want Boi-se! “We Want Boi-se!” That’s the game the fans want. The game the team wants is Saturday at BYU. A win would launch Nevada into the Top 25 for the first time in history. The Pack goes to Provo as a 2½-point favorite and now knows it won’t be facing Cougar quarterback Riley Nelson, the one-time Utah State Aggie. Nelson injured his shoulder in the 34-10 loss at Florida State last week and is out for the season. He’ll be replaced by highly-touted true freshman Jake Heaps.
Using that “who-beat-whom-by-how-much” routine I mentioned yesterday, you can make a case for Idaho being pretty good this year. The Vandals’ 38-17 loss at Nebraska doesn’t look so bad after what happened to Washington at home last Saturday. The Huskies got worked by the Huskers, 56-21. Where are Idaho’s strides being made? It’s obvious. There was a time when the Vandals would have relished a top 100 spot in team defense. Well, how does 38th sound? Idaho is allowing 309 yards a game and is tied for the national lead in fumble recoveries with seven. Things can only get better this week when the Vandals travel to woeful Colorado State. Another 3-1 start is in the offing.
At least one prospective WAC member is already steppin’ it up. Texas-San Antonio doesn’t even usher in its football program until 2011 (as an FCS school), but it already has a three-game series with Oklahoma State set for 2013-15. UTSA’s coach has been in place since May of last year. It’s Larry Coker, whose last game was Miami’s 21-20 win over Nevada in the 2006 MPC Computers Bowl. UTSA and Texas State (and possibly others) will make presentations to the WAC next week as the conference seeks to add to a depleted pool of schools that could total only six as soon as next year.
New Idaho Steelheads coach Hardy Sauter has landed his biggest signing of the offseason. A number of European teams were trying to lure forward Mark Derlago across the pond, but he’ll remain a Steelhead. Derlago led the Steelies in scoring last season with 92 points, a club record since joining the ECHL. Just as important was the fact that he also earned the league’s “Plus Performer of the Year” award, finishing a league-best plus-34 for the season. “I’m excited to get back to Boise and get to work,” Derlago said. “We came up short of our team goal last season (losing in the Kelly Cup finals to Cincinnati) and we want to get back and, this time, lift that championship cup.”
This Day In Sports…September 22, 1950, 60 years ago today:
The inaugural game is played in old Bronco Stadium (then new Bronco Stadium), the wooden structure that sat parallel to the Boise River overlapping the land on which the current stadium stands. A capacity crowd of over 10,000 fans watched coach Lyle Smith and the Broncos beat Modesto City College on their way to a berth in the Junior Rose Bowl.
(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.)