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Spreading the ball around has become Boise State’s modus operandi

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on November 5, 2009 at 8:22 AM


Thursday, November 5, 2009.
If there’s been one constant during Boise State’s Golden Era, it’s been that lots of guys have contributed in the box score. That was magnified last Saturday, when 10 different players caught passes against San Jose State. And it becomes even more striking when you consider that’s just how Kellen Moore operates. “Most (quarterbacks) have ‘their guys,’ but that’s not Kellen,” said coach Chris Petersen this week. You would think that either Austin Pettis or Titus Young would command most of Moore’s attention. Well, Pettis and Young are in a dead heat atop the Broncos’ receiving list with 41 catches apiece.
There are six schools in the WAC that have logged six interceptions or fewer this year. Boise State has nine different players sharing its 13 picks this season. In the scoring department, well, you know BSU has plenty of points to go around. And they do go around, as 19 different Broncos have scored points—20 if you credit the safety against Oregon to Billy Winn instead of “team,” as it is officially categorized. 
Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley is certainly fretting about his team’s injuries going into Friday night’s ESPN2 game against Boise State, not the least of which are hampering offensive stars Daniel Porter and Phillip Livas. But Dooley is worried about the effect the bumps and bruises will have on special teams. The injuries have moved a lot of special teamers up to regular roles on offense and defense, sapping their energy once they perform on the kicking units. Does that mean the Bronco cover teams will swarm—and the return squads will break something? I’m anxious to find out.
I thought this quote from TCU coach Gary Patterson was worth repeating. You’ll recall that Boise State’s Chris Petersen was asked if he would do any lobbying on his team’s behalf with BCS voters. Petersen said, in effect, it would be a waste of time. Patterson doesn’t sound like he’s going to campaign, either. But if he did, he’d take the high road. "In no shape or form, nowhere along the line, will I do anything that would discredit Boise State if both of us go undefeated," Patterson said.  "I don't think that's how you do things."
Here’s my award for “best exchange on a chat forum” this week. It’s from Pat Forde’s chat on Robert (Portland, OR): “I'll concede that Boise beat Oregon up and down the field in September—we looked completely unprepared to play and Boise took it to us like a good team should.  But BSU has only had to get up for that ‘one’ game this year.  If they were in the Pac-10 (or most other BCS conferences) I'm skeptical they don't lose a couple.  Does SOS ever trump head-to-head in your book?” Pat Forde (2:16 PM): “Robert: Which other game was Oregon thinking about getting up for?  It was the season opener!”
There may be two games of the week next week in the WAC (Idaho at Boise State and Fresno State at Nevada), but there’s only one this week: Fresno State at Idaho. When Vandal coach Robb Akey talks about the groundwork being laid for this magical season, he points to last year’s game at Bulldog Stadium as the one that showed there was hope. It was midway through last season, and a 45-32 loss dropped Idaho’s record to 1-6, but it wasn’t supposed to be close. It was by far the closest the Vandals have come to Fresno State since joining the WAC in 2005. They outgained the Bulldogs 452 yards to 443 and didn’t allow a sack. A couple fumbles and a couple long Fresno State runs did Idaho in. But there’s no question that Saturday in the Kibbie Dome, the Vandals know they can get it done.
Former Idaho star Eddie Williams, who’s been on the practice squad all season in Washington, is going to put on the uniform this week. The Redskins’ seventh-round draft pick has been activated by the NFL club and will be available for this Sunday’s game at Atlanta. Maybe he can provide the Skins’ offense with a spark—heaven knows it needs one. Williams was the Vandals’ primary offensive weapon last season, amassing 54 catches for 687 yards and six touchdowns before being his season ended with a knee injury against Boise State in November.
The Idaho Steelheads got it out of the way last night. Their first regulation loss of the season was no contest, as the Utah Grizzlies busted open a tie game late in the second period with three unanswered goals, translating into a 5-2 victory. The tide turned with 5½ minutes left in the second stanza when Utah’s Dylan Hunter cashed in on a penalty shot, giving him a hat trick on the night. The eight-game season-opening points streaks of Steelheads Tyler Spurgeon and Mark Derlago came to an end—Spurgeon’s on the ice last night, and Derlago’s because he has been loaned to Providence of the AHL. He’s the third Steelie to get the AHL call this season. Idaho and Utah play again in West Valley City tomorrow night before coming to Qwest Arena Saturday night.
Roberto Bergersen isn’t done quite yet. The veteran swing man and former Boise State star has been invited by the Idaho Stampede to training camp, which begins a week from Sunday. Bergersen, who turns 34 in January, has played five different seasons for the Stampede. Last season he averaged 8½ points in 25 games. Bergersen was the 1999 Big West Player of the Year for the Broncos. Two other returning players were among the seven invitees the Stamps announced yesterday, guard Lanny Smith and forward Mildon Ambres. The rest of next week’s training camp roster will begin to take shape after tonight’s D-League Draft—the Stampede have eight picks.
This Day In Sports…November 5, 1994, 15 years ago today:
In the latest showdown in a series of showdowns for Boise State’s 1994 football team, All-Big Sky quarterback Dave Dickenson leads top-ranked Montana into Bronco Stadium. A leaping Rashid Gayle interception set the tone in the first quarter, and BSU defensive end Joe O’Brien led a sack attack on Dickenson, who left the game in the fourth quarter. The Broncos beat the Grizzlies, 38-14, and went on to the Big Sky title and the Division I-AA championship game.
(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.)