Tuesday, September 17, 2013.
The official trophy associated with the Boise State-Fresno State game is the Milk Can, created by dairy farmers who support one school or the other. To Bronco players, it’s the “milk jug,” and they want to hang onto it. They’ve had it since 2006, the year after their last loss to the Bulldogs. “It’s an honor to bring that home, and just put your name on the milk jug,” said Boise State defensive end Kharyee Marshall. Not everybody’s wrapped up in it. Matt Miller says he doesn’t think about any rivalry except one he isn’t involved in. As a native of Helena, MT (or as ESPN said Friday, “He-LAY-na), Miller gets pumped for Montana-Montana State. “I go for the ‘Cats,” Miller said. That’s MSU for those of you who weren’t around in the Big Sky days.
Coach Chris Petersen likes the Milk Can concept and what it’s meant to Boise State and Fresno State. But does it feel like Rivalry Week to him? “For coaches, there’s so much urgency every week to get better, all these weeks seem the same to me,” said Petersen. He sees it as a respectful rivalry. “We’ve always appreciated our relationship with Fresno,” he said. Then there’s this on the Broncos from Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr in the Fresno Bee. "It's hard to hate them,” said Carr. “I hate them one time out of the year—that's this week. Besides that, I respect the heck out of them because they're first class."
Suspended one week, an award in hand the next. After tying a career best with nine tackles against Air Force, Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence has earned his first Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week honor. One of Lawrence’s tackles was a game-turner in the win over the Falcons. The visitors were threatening to pull within four points early in the fourth quarter when Lawrence stuffed Air Force running back Ty McArthur for a four-yard loss on a third down from the Bronco three-yard line. That forced the Falcons to settle for a field goal, and they didn’t score again.
We now know the kickoff time and television destination for the Boise State-Southern Miss game a week from Saturday. The telecast will be on ESPNU—not surprising, considering the funk the Golden Eagles are in. USM has lost 15 games in a row, the longest streak in the FBS. The kickoff time takes a beating, too. It’ll be 8:15 p.m. That leaves the Wyoming and New Mexico games still to be scheduled. One has to be on at least ESPN2, according to the Broncos’ agreement with ESPN. Bet on the Cowboys matchup to fill that bill.
You know how they’re thinking in Fresno right now. It doesn’t come from the Fresno State team. Not outwardly, anyway. But BCS-busting talk permeates the media in the Central Valley, and there’s concern that the benefits Fresno State could have derived in the BCS standings from beating Colorado are now lost. Bulldogs coach Tim DeRuyter said the right thing in the Fresno Bee. From the Bee: “Asked if (not playing) the Colorado game could impact Fresno State's future standings in the BCS, DeRuyter said the Bulldogs are moving on to what's next on the schedule. ‘All we're worried about now is Boise,’ said DeRuyter, whose Bulldogs will host Boise State on Friday in what likely is Fresno State's most important game of the season in its march toward a conference championship, a national ranking and a potential BCS bowl appearance.”
Competing with Rivalry Week buzz is the report from Scout.com that Boise State has picked up a verbal commitment from defensive end Jaylen Johnson from Corona, CA. This after Johnson made an official recruiting visit over the weekend to…Oregon. Scout.com National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins writes, “Even when offers came in from schools like Notre Dame, Oregon and USC, Johnson never wavered in listing the Broncos at the top of his board and the athlete decided to pull the trigger and commit (Monday) morning.” You won’t know if Johnson’s for real until he hits the blue turf for real in 2014 or 2015, but who in Bronco Nation is complaining about this news?
Nevada is anxiously awaiting Cody Fajardo’s prognosis as it prepares for Hawaii in Mackay Stadium this Saturday. Coach Brian Polian says he hopeful Fajardo can play. The Wolf Pack’s junior quarterback was officially ruled out of last week’s Florida State game about an hour before kickoff, and backup Devin Combs was pressed into duty. Combs, who was playing a steady game, was knocked out late in the first half by a shot to the knee, and the Pack had to go to its third-stringer. The result was a 62-7 bashing at the hands of the 10th-ranked Seminoles. No word yet on who will start this week, but Combs is already out.
Ryan Clady’s remarkable streak of offensive line starts to begin an NFL career will come to an end next Monday. The former Boise State star will be out at least a few weeks with a Lisfranc sprain in his foot. (Raise your hand if you looked up “Lisfranc sprain.”) It happens when one or more of the metatarsal bones are displaced from the tarsus in the middle of the foot, and it happened to Clady Sunday in Denver’s win over the New York Giants. Clady has started all 82 games of his career at left tackle for the Broncos. He signed a five-year contract worth $52.5 million ($33 million guaranteed) in July.
Graham DeLaet rallied with a four-under 67 yesterday to finish the weather-delayed BMW Championship tied for 28th. The former Boise State star’s bogey-free round featured three birdies on the back nine and earned him another $54,400. The middling result on the third leg of the PGA Tour playoffs cost him two spots in the FedExCup standings—he’s now No. 7. He needs to get back into the top 5 to earn a $1 million FedExCup bonus. DeLaet is one of 30 players headed to Atlanta this week for the Tour Championship. Oh, and his season money total now exceeds $2.7 million.
Andrew Cashner produced the best pitching performance ever by a former Boise Hawk last night, tossing a one-hit shutout for San Diego in a 2-0 victory over Pittsburgh. Cashner had a perfect game going into the seventh inning, when Jose Tabata singled for the Pirates. Tabata was gone one batter later, though, when Andrew McCutcheon grounded into a double play. Cashner faced the minimum 27 batters and threw just 97 pitches. It was his first complete game in 31 career starts in the majors. Cashner was a first-round draft pick of the Cubs in 2008 and played for the Hawks that summer.
Also, Borah High grad Stephen Fife made his second appearance Saturday since returning to the L.A. Dodgers, pitching three innings of relief in a record-breaking 19-3 loss to the rival Giants. Fife allowed six runs, four of them on a grand slam by San Francisco’s Hunter Pence. The 19 runs were the most ever scored by any team at Dodger Stadium. Things have been tough for Fife since he’s been back from Albuquerque. He allowed two runs in a two-inning stint at Cincinnati September 6.
This Day In Sports…September 17, 1961:
The expansion Minnesota Vikings make a spectacular entry into the NFL with a 37-13 rout of the Chicago Bears at the old Met in Bloomington. Rookie quarterback Fran Tarkenton made an immediate impact with four touchdown passes and another on the ground. The Vikings would go 3-11 in their first season, but Tarkenton’s scrambling style caught on quickly with fans.
(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.)