Tuesday, Dec 1 at 9:29 AM
Tuesday, December 1, 2009.
One constant for the Boise State football program during the Golden Era has been the relative lack of devastating injuries. The most notable of this 11-year period was to Ryan Dinwiddie in 2002—and now there’s another. But if he heals as quickly as Dinwiddie did, the Broncos will be okay. Turns out Austin Pettis suffered a fractured lower leg in the win over Nevada last Friday. That, of course, sidelines him for the regular season finale against New Mexico State Saturday. But there’s hope that Pettis could be back for BSU’s bowl game. Dinwiddie broke his ankle at Arkansas in early September as a junior and returned six weeks later to light up Fresno State. Do the math with me. If the Broncos make the Fiesta Bowl, that’s 5½ weeks after the injury to Pettis. If it’s, say, the Texas Bowl, that’s less than five weeks.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen wouldn’t go as far as to say the loss of Pettis will change the Bronco offense. “We’ll always have answers,” said Petersen. “Luckily we’ve got some young guys ready to step up and make plays.” With Tyler Shoemaker already out (but planning a return for the bowl game), that leaves only freshmen Kirby Moore, Chris Potter and Mitch Burroughs to go with Titus Young. Moore would seem best-suited to make an impact in Pettis’ role, not only because of his height but because of his familiarity with the quarterback who shares his last name. Moore had three catches for 69 yards against Nevada, including the clinching touchdown on a fade from brother Kellen in the fourth quarter.
Petersen said, naturally, it’s too late in the season to consider burning the redshirt years of receivers-in-waiting such as Aaron Burks and Geraldo Hiwat. And he used the Bronco injury situation as a platform to pontificate about the five-year eligibility rule he endorses. One that has gotten nowhere with the NCAA. Petersen said it’s more student-athlete friendly, noting that he has redshirting players who could step in right now. That includes not only receiver but linebacker, where Daron Mackey is out for the rest of the season after re-injuring the same ACL that kept him out last year, and Derrell Acrey is “day-to-day” after going down in the fourth quarter versus Nevada. Meanwhile, offensive tackle Nate Potter is also day-to-day after being poked in the eye against the Wolf Pack.
I asked Petersen yesterday about his assessment of Kellen Moore’s low pass percentage the past two games (under 52 percent). “The bottom line is points,” said Pete. “You start there.” Moore is certainly still generating points, including his five touchdown passes against Nevada. Kellen is in line to break the NCAA single-season standard for touchdown-to-interception ratio. He now has a school-record 38 touchdown passes to only three picks, a ratio of 12.7.
The national mark is held by Bowling Green’s Omar Jacobs at 10.3 (41 touchdowns versus four interceptions) in 2004. First, Moore will have to avoid throwing another interception, as Martevious Young of Southern Miss has played enough games to technically qualify now. Young has 13 touchdowns and one pick, obviously a 13.0 ratio. Jacobs, by the way, played in Bronco Stadium in 2005 but wasn’t nearly as good that season—the Falcons lost to Boise State, 48-20.
Why are Bryan Harsin and Justin Wilcox the highest-paid coordinators in the WAC? Here’s one reason: Harsin is one of five finalists for the Frank Broyles Award that honors the top assistant coach in the country. Harsin is in his ninth season on the Bronco staff and fourth as offensive coordinator. He was a backup quarterback at BSU in the late 90’s. In fact, let’s say Harsin threw the first touchdown pass of the Golden Era—against UCLA in the Rose Bowl during the opening game of the 1999 season. It happened to be a 38-7 loss, but the rest, as you know, is history.
Boise State’s Titus Young has earned WAC Player of the Week honors on special teams for the third time this season on the merits of his tone-setting 95-yard kickoff return to open the win over Nevada. Young also caught four passes for 69 yards against the Wolf Pack, although that did snap a three-week streak of 100-yard games. The Pack was able to pay a lot more attention to Young after the Pettis injury.
Got a “Player of the Week” parade today. BSU’s Ike Okoye and Tasha Harris took men’s and women’s basketball honors, respectively. In two wins last week, Okoye averaged 17 points, 12½ rebounds and 4½ blocks. Harris averaged 18 points on 51 percent shooting in three victories, upping the Broncos’ record to 7-0. She won MVP honors in the Lady Rebel Classic in Las Vegas as Boise State won the tournament with a 68-64 victory over Washington State and former Bronco coach June Daugherty. And Northwest Nazarene’s Brian Barkdoll is the Great Northwest Conference Player of the Week. Barkdoll, a junior from Portland, led the Crusaders to two wins over the weekend while shooting 72 percent from the field. NNU is 3-0.
The Idaho Stampede put up the numbers again last night, racing past Reno 123-104 in Qwest Arena. That’s 260 points in two games. The Stampede had two 30-point games on Opening Night—from Sundiata Gaines and Mildon Ambres. This time it was Anthony Tolliver, kicking off his campaign to get back to the NBA with 30 points last night. The Stamps proved they can play some defense, too. It was the Bighorns who raced out of the gate with a 40-point first quarter, but Idaho clamped down, holding Reno to 20 points in the second period and 16 in the third. The homestand continues tomorrow night against the Dakota Wizards.
There’s a lot of interest in former Boise Hawk Jarrod Washburn, with none of it coming from the team he just finished the season with, the Detroit Tigers. The first team mentioned has been Milwaukee, since it’s in Washburn’s home state of Wisconsin. The Twins, not very far way themselves, are also said to be checking out the 35-year-old lefthander. There’s also word that Seattle may want him back. The Mariners dealt Washburn to the Tigers before the trading deadline this summer. All this might be surprising, considering he went 1-3 with a 7.33 ERA with Detroit before his season ended prematurely due to a bum knee. But he’s had surgery and is anxious for a fresh start, and the M’s are high on his list. Washburn was 8-6 with a 2.64 ERA for Seattle this year before the trade.
This Day In Sports…December 1, 1973:
Boise State plays its first NCAA playoff game ever, beating South Dakota 53-10 in Bronco Stadium in Division II’s first round. Don Hutt had 13 receptions, two for touchdowns, and John Smith scored two more, one on an 86-yard kickoff return. Jim McMillan came off the bench to amass 353 yards in total offense to send the Broncos to the semi-finals the following week against Louisiana Tech at the Pioneer Bowl in Wichita Falls, Texas.
(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.)