Sunday, Nov 3 at 6:09 PM
Thursday, October 21, 2010.
Frankly, there was a lot of self-motivation required for Boise State the past three weeks, especially on defense. That the Broncos were able to dig down and dominate anyway has been one of this team’s calling cards. Boise State allowed 208, 287, and 80 yards in the routs of New Mexico State, Toledo and San Jose State, respectively. But now there’s an offense that has caught the Broncos’ attention, even if it’s a relatively recent phenomenon. Louisiana Tech, which had been averaging 349 yards a game on offense, exploded for 683 in its 48-35 win over Idaho last week.
Bulldog senior Ross Jenkins is coming off a WAC Offensive Player of the Week performance. He had thrown for 465 yards all season while coach Sonny Dykes played musical quarterbacks—against the Vandals, he piled up a career-best 422, a national high for the week. The Bronco secondary, essentially untested since the win over Oregon State, has a lot to absorb before La Tech hits the blue turf next Tuesday night. All the position groups will have to be involved in taming Jenkins, though. He was not sacked last week; the Broncos’ front seven is anxious to see what it can do.
In the wake of Michael Atkinson’s season-long suspension two weeks ago, J.P. Nisby has been the defensive line beneficiary. Nisby had been ninth in Boise State’s D-line rotation but has now joined what you might call the second wave. Defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski frequently alternates between the first and second units, so Nisby’s playing time has increased considerably. The junior from Stockton, CA, isn’t as big as Atkinson, but at 6-1, 301 pounds, he’s big enough. Nisby hasn’t moved the needle much on the stat sheet yet—he has six tackles on the season, one of them for loss.
SI.com has unveiled its midseason All-America report cards, and two Boise State players earned A’s. Quarterback Kellen Moore gets the nod as a first-teamer for being “nearly perfect” according to SI, with his 16 touchdowns against just one interception. And Jeron Johnson was named at safety. Says SI: “Johnson fronts a secondary that has helped Boise produce the nation's No. 1 total defense.” One more Heisman Trophy update on Moore—he’s been passed on the USA Today watch list by Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, who’s got a lot of buzz going right now. Kellen is No. 2.
When you check out Boise State’s future home, the Mountain West, the first thing you see is the sorry season BYU is having. But the Cougars won’t be around next year anyway. How about San Diego State? Brady Hoke, the coach who turned Ball State into an undefeated team until the MAC championship game two years ago, had a rough first year with the Aztecs. But it’s falling into place in year two. SDSU hasn’t had a winning season in 12 years, but they’re 4-2 now and looking better by the week. The only two losses were by three points at undefeated Missouri on a 68-yard touchdown pass in the final minutes, and by three at BYU after officials botched a fumble call. Former Boise State offensive coordinator Al Borges is in his comfort zone as O.C. with the Aztecs, building with star freshman running back Ronnie Hillman.
Idaho State doesn’t get much pub in this neck of the woods. The Bengals used to. And it would stand to reason they should, as they obviously have a significant alumni base in the Treasure Valley. But it’s hard to want to keep up with ISU these days. The Bengals have lost six games in a row and have clinched their seventh straight losing season—and their 20th in the last 26 years, after a 16-13 loss last week to Weber State. So we’ll check up on ‘em during their bye week, when nothing bad can happen. Idaho State has four games left, and one of them is at Georgia (November 6). The Bengals have a home date November 13 with Sacramento State, which may be their only shot at avoiding a third consecutive one-win season.
From the “did you know” vault: did you know the Alaska Aces are one of the Idaho Steelheads’ longest-running rivals? The series with the one-time Anchorages Aces dates back to the beginning of the Steelheads’ West Coast Hockey League days in 1997, and it resumes tomorrow night at Sullivan Arena. Idaho had the Aces’ number last season, going 9-2-1 against them. That did not sit well with Alaska fans, as hockey is the one-and-only sport in the Frozen North from October until, well, as long as the Aces can last in the postseason. It’s front-page stuff up there every day. By the way, the other Steelheads’ series that dates back to 1997 is the one with Bakerfield, then known as the Fog.
Former Idaho Steelhead Zenon Konopka is at it again in the NHL. Scuffles are his specialty, and Konopka, now a New York Islander, was in another fight Monday night in Toronto. He and the guy he tangled with, the Maple Leafs’ Mike Brown, are tied for the league lead in fighting majors with three. Konopka actually led the NHL in penalty minutes last season with 265 in 74 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 29-year-old center, a fan favorite during the Steelheads’ run to the Kelly Cup championship in 2004, is with his fourth NHL organization.
There has been no idle time as Boise State basketball coach Leon Rice puts his future pieces into place. The Statesman’s Nick Jerzierny reports that the Broncos have gone to Australia, literally, to land 6-5 forward Anthony Drmic from Melbourne. Boise State assistant Jeff Linder traveled Down Under to recruit the Australian Institute of Sport standout. AIS also produced former U.S. college stars Andrew Bogut of Utah, Andrew Gaze of Seton Hall, and Patty Mills of Saint Mary’s (who was briefly sent to the Idaho Stampede by the Portland Trailblazers last season.
This Day In Sports…October 21, 2000, 10 years ago today:
Boise State opens the final season of Big West play with a 59-0 annihilation of North Texas, the Broncos’ first shutout in 13 years. BSU outgained the Mean Green 583 yards to 162, with freshman tailback David Mikell rushing for 122 yards and three touchdowns—and freshman quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie throwing the first of his 82 career touchdown passes. The Broncos would go unbeaten in the Big West on their way to a second straight title and Humanitarian Bowl championship.
(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.)