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One Fiesta Bowl player generally overlooked in All-America voting

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on December 17, 2009 at 8:47 AM


Thursday, December 17, 2009.
He’s been toiling in the shadow of Colt McCoy all season. Yet he’s ranked fourth in the nation in pass efficiency, while McCoy is 19th. He led his team to a 12-0 record and a trip to Glendale January 4. Now that most of the All-America squads are out, shouldn’t TCU’s Andy Dalton have been at least a third-teamer on one of them? Dalton has been the model of consistency all season as the Horned Frogs put together the fourth-best total offense numbers in the country. Now Kellen Moore’s photo is splashed all over as the Fiesta Bowl hype builds. The Boise State sophomore is first-team All-America on two lists, and deservedly so after throwing 39 touchdown passes for a 13-0 team and leading the nation in pass efficiency. Dalton got some honorable mentions, but he must feel like he deserves something more.
Dalton is 29-8 as a starter, tying the school record for wins held by the legendary Sammy Baugh. He’s thrown for 2,484 yards and 22 touchdowns with just five interceptions. But the fact that Dalton is a dual threat has made the TCU offense a nightmare to defend. And he relishes the postseason. The junior from Katy, TX, has been the offensive MVP in the Horned Frogs’ bowl games the past two years, including last season’s 17-16 Poinsettia Bowl win over the Broncos.
The WAC is taking votes for its All-Decade football team right now on its website, and there are several interesting positions. Especially quarterback, where fans can only vote for one guy. Ryan Dinwiddie of Boise State is college football’s career pass efficiency leader and won two WAC championships as a starter. Hawaii’s Colt Brennan holds the national single season record for touchdown passes with 58 but won just a single WAC title. But wait—there was one quarterback during the decade to win three conference championships, the Broncos’ Jared Zabransky. The other candidates are David Carr, Timmy Chang, Colin Kaepernick and Kellen Moore. (Is it too soon for Moore?) How about some of the choices at running back. Brock Forsey…Ian Johnson…LaDainian Tomlinson. Log on and vote.
The spread has flip-flopped in the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl—Bowling Green is now favored by one point over Idaho December 30. But here’s the attractive part for fans: the H-Bowl has the second-biggest over-under of the bowl season at 68 points. The highest is 74 for the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl between Nevada and SMU (the Wolf Pack are favored by 14). TCU is a seven-point favorite over Boise State in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, and the over-under is 55. So, oddsmakers are looking at Horned Frogs 31, Broncos 24.
Mike MacIntyre has his work cut out for him at San Jose State—on so many levels. MacIntyre will be introduced as the Spartans’ new head coach today, replacing the retiring Dick Tomey. MacIntyre, the defensive coordinator at Duke, brings football credentials to a team that has lost 11 of its past 14 games. He was named 2009 assistant coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association. MacIntyre also has academic credentials (that goes without saying, coming from Duke). That’s important at San Jose State, which has been docked dozens of scholarships for low APR performance in recent years. Now, will MacIntyre have the people skills and sales and promotional skills to drum up support for the Spartans program? The WAC needs SJSU football to survive.
A little bit of history last night for the Idaho Steelheads, as the first Idaho-grown player ever to play for the franchise scored his first goal. Ketchum’s Cody Lampl tallied on Utah goalie Mitch O’Keefe with 12½ minutes left in the game. It was the Steelheads’ final goal in a 5-1 rout. Center Kevin DeVergilio made his mark in his return to the Steelies after a month on the injured list with a goal and an assist. Rejean Beauchemin was back in form between the pipes, stopping 21 shots to go 3-0 against the Grizzlies this season. Now it’s Rivalry Week, the Sequel, as the Alaska Aces come back to Qwest Arena tomorrow and Saturday.
Boise State is hitting the reset button this week as it tries to put a momentum-crushing home loss to San Diego last Saturday behind. Houston Baptist would seem to be the tonic Saturday, but a 1-9 opponent will make for a very quiet afternoon in Taco Bell Arena. One Bronco who’s quietly off to a good start is junior center Kurt Cunningham, who leads the WAC in field goal percentage at over 64 percent. Cunningham’s averaging 10.1 points in just 21.4 minutes per game. 
From the “where are they now” file comes Jermaine Blackburn, the former Boise State standout who played part of one season for the Idaho Stampede. After leaving the Stampede abruptly in 2007, Blackburn bounced around the now-defunct CBA, recording the only quadruple-double in that circuit’s history. He had 22 points, 10 rebounds, 14 assists and 10 steals in a game for the East Kentucky Miners last season before the CBA folded. Blackburn’s now in the ABA, another minor league, playing for the Southeast Texas Mavericks. The ABA is a bizarre league, featuring 55 teams playing in small gyms from coast to coast.
Who knows what the economic climate will be after the SuperValu/Albertsons agreement with the Boise Open expires after next year’s tournament, but one thing’s certain. It would be a shame for the community if this event went away. Jeff Sanders Promotions held its annual Charity Appreciation Luncheon yesterday and awarded over $1.2 million, a record amount, to area organizations. Over $900,000 of it came from the Tickets For Charity program, which allows non-profits to sell Boise Open tickets and retain 100 percent of the proceeds. “The leading money winner at this tournament each year needs to be the charities,” said Jeff Sanders as he introduced the recipients. Ten entities yesterday received $25,000 each, and 82 other organizations benefited, including the Boise State and Idaho golf teams.
This Day In Sports…December 17, 1994, 15 years ago today:
Boise State’s magical season ends with a 28-14 loss to Youngstown State and coach Jim Tressel in the Division I-AA championship game at Huntington, WV (on Marshall’s home field). The Broncos finished 13-2 with a record-setting season from running back K.C. Adams, who would end up playing just that one year. Three days later in a press conference, coach Pokey Allen would announce he had a rare form of cancer, beginning an agonizing two-year battle that would claim his life.
(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 handles color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football.)