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Symbolic of the offense’s thankless task

Symbolic of the offense’s thankless task

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on November 15, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Updated Thursday, Nov 15 at 9:05 AM

Thursday, November 15, 2012.

Kellen Moore’s name hasn’t been brought up that often this fall.  Thankfully for Joe Southwick’s sake, as the Boise State offense tries to remotely reach the bar set so high the past four years.  Doug Martin’s name is generally mentioned only in conjunction with the NFL, but the offense misses him, too.  If this year’s offense had an impossible standard to live up to this season, this week’s opponent serves as a stark reminder.  It was in October of last year in their first Mountain West game that the Broncos racked up a school record 742 yards of total offense in a 63-13 win at Colorado State.  Moore completed his first 18 passes Martin rushed for a career-high 200 yards and three touchdowns as Boise State went over 300 yards both on the ground and through the air.  This year’s offense had a pretty good game at Hawaii last week—and had a total of 411 yards.

Southwick was much improved at Hawaii compared to his struggles against San Diego State, throwing for 209 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.  But analyst Rod Woodson repeatedly pointed out on the NBC Sports Network that Southwick was throwing the ball late, allowing the coverage to close on his receivers.  And there was that underthrow on a scramble with Dallas Burroughs waiting all alone downfield.  Then again, the 46-yard TD strike Southwick threw to Aaron Burks was as pretty a pass as you will ever see.  Southwick later threw a 25-yard rope to Kirby Moore on a third-and-12.

It’s not too late for Boise State to make strides on offense.  Burks proved that last week with his first touchdown and first 100-yard game.  You never know when a late bloomer is going to bloom.  When Burks arrived in Boise in the winter of 2009, he looked like the next big thing.  He greenshirted, graduating early from high school in Texas to join the Bronco program in time for spring football.  George Iloka had done the same thing the year before, and we know how that ended up.  But Burks redshirted his true freshman year, and he was never able to jump head-first into the rotation until this year. 

The Boise State offense of years past was adept at putting away opponents in the third quarter, and that’s currently a problem for the Broncos.  They netted only 23 third-quarter yards against San Diego State two weeks ago, and they lost to the Aztecs.  Boise State was able to protect a 35-7 halftime lead last Saturday (and, in fact, add to it with a touchdown from the defense), but the offense managed just 28 net yards in the third quarter at Hawaii. 

It’s another one of those “stop the run and everything else should fall into place” games Saturday for the Boise State defense.  Colorado State has a one-two punch at tailback a la San Diego State—at least it has recently.  Redshirt freshman Donnell Alexander rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns and junior Chris Nwoke added 66 yards in CSU’s 33-11 win over UNLV last week.  That took the pressure off redshirt freshman quarterback Conner Smith, who was 16-of-27 for only 109 yards versus the Rebels.  If the Bronco defensive line can replicate its Aloha Stadium performance on the blue turf, all should be well.

Doug Martin has become enough of a household name that his “Muscle Hamster” nickname has become national news.  So is his quest to get rid of it.  Martin finally spilled all the beans on the moniker to USA Today.  "All right, so I had a girlfriend, she was a gymnast. Small, but more cut than I was," Martin said of his Boise State days.  "My friend (and teammate) Jarrell Root called her a muscle hamster.  So I stood up for her, like, 'Hey, man, she's not a muscle hamster!'  And he said, 'You're a muscle hamster, too.'  So they called us the muscle hamsters."  She and Martin broke up, but the nickname stuck, and he loathes it.  (Jarrell Root—wouldn’t you know it.)

USA Today presented to Martin a series of new nicknames proposed by Twitter followers and posted his responses.  Dougie Smash, Dougie Flash: "Nah, I don't like those."  Baby Rhino: "It doesn't do it for me."  D-Mart: "That's too easy."  MegaMan: "Yeah, that's not bad."  Torpedo: "Torpedo?" (Laughs)  Flash Martin: "Nah."  Sweet Feet: "Nah, not my thing."  Bulldozer: "Do I look like a bulldozer?  Nah."  Mighty Mouse: "Come on, hamster and mouse are the same thing!"  The Rabid Hamster: "That doesn't even make any sense!"  BullDoug: "No.  That's not good."  Buc'n Bronco: "Not gonna work."  D-Train: "That's all right."  Martin Scoreseasy: "That's more of a poster-type quote, not a nickname."  Dougernaut: "Hey, that's not bad.  Yeah."  We’ll see if Dougernaut has any legs (the name, not the player).

It’s now been 11 straight games the Idaho Steelheads have gone unbeaten in regulation, as they fended off Stockton last night at CenturyLink Arena, 4-2.  Kael Mouillierat continues to be close to unstoppable on the offensive end, scoring two more goals to give him a total of 10 on the season.  Mouillierat has scored at least a point in all but one of the Steelheads’ games.  Neil Graham, who played the last two seasons with Augusta in the Southern Professional Hockey League for Steelheads coach Brad Ralph, scored his first ECHL goal on an empty-netter with 1:07 left in the contest.  With goalie Josh Robinson off to the AHL, it’s all on Tyler Beskorowany between the pipes, and he responded well last night.  Beskorowany stopped 28 of 30 Thunder shots, including 12 in the third period when the Steelies were cradling a 3-2 lead.

Yesterday marked the beginning of the NCAA fall early-signing period for basketball (and a number of other sports).  Boise State coach Leon Rice announced the addition of two junior college transfers: Darnell Taylor out of Saddleback College and James Webb III of North Idaho College.  Rice calls Taylor “one of the best junior college guards in California,” while he says Webb “is an extremely long and athletic wing who has the ability to score from the perimeter and off the dribble.”  Ironically, Webb and NIC will be in Ontario tomorrow night to face Treasure Valley Community College.  Rice will be able to take notes on Webb before the Broncos return to the Taco Bell Arena floor Sunday against Louisiana-Lafayette.  Women’s coach Gordy Presnell, tennis coach Greg Patton and golf coach Kevin Burton also inked two players apiece yesterday.

With the lack of a radio outlet for the second straight season, the Idaho Stampede’s new local TV exposure carries extra value.  All of the Stampede’s Friday night home games this season will be televised on KTVB’s 24/7 outlet, beginning with their CenturyLink Arena opener December 7 against the Austin Toros.  The Stamps will also have two road games shown on the CBS Sports Network, February 25 against the L.A. D-Fenders and March 25 versus the Santa Cruz Warriors.

Former Boise State star Troy Merritt shot an even-par 72 yesterday in the first round of his second-stage Q-School tournament in Rancho Murrieta, CA, one of six events in the qualifying series this week.  There are 25 PGA Tour cards at stake in Q-School—those will be decided later this month in the final stage tournament, a monster six-rounder that Merritt won in 2009.  This is the final Q-School with PGA Tour cards on the line.  Next year will mark the beginning of the three-tournament Tour Finals in September, the reason the 2013 Albertsons Boise Open is being bumped up to July.

Les Bois Park’s 2013 horse racing calendar was approved yesterday by the Idaho Racing Commission and will feature 31 dates, down from 36 this year.  Les Bois is going for quality over quantity.  The season will open the same way as it did in 2012, kicking off the first Wednesday in May and celebrating Kentucky Derby Day three days later.  There’ll be live racing every Wednesday and Saturday, with the season winding up on Idaho Cup Day August 10.

This Day In Sports…November 15, 1960:

Former College of Idaho star Elgin Baylor scores an NBA record 71 points and pulls down 25 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the New York Knicks, 123-108, at Madison Square Garden.  His record would be broken the next year (and re-set again later) by Wilt Chamberlain.  Baylor played at C of I five years earlier before transferring to Seattle University and ultimately being named MVP of the 1958 NCAA Tournament as the Chieftains made the 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 93.1 The Ticket.  He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)