Sunday, Nov 3 at 6:09 PM
Monday, September 13, 2010.
Who’d a thunk that the next big story of Boise State’s 2010 season would be Virginia Tech’s second game? It was almost as deflating in Boise as it was in Blacksburg, as James Madison stunned the Hokies Saturday, 21-16. And to think I dissed Tech’s game against the Dukes on Friday. Virginia Tech became only the second ranked team ever to lose to a lower division team, following in the infamous footsteps of Michigan against Appalachian State in 2007. The Hokies have thrown some cold water on Boise State’s BCS Championship Game dreams. The Broncos can take some consolation in the fact no one jumped them in the rankings (good ol’ TCU is right on their tail). They remained No. 3 in both polls, although they did lose ground to Alabama and Ohio State and were devoid of all but one of the first-place votes they received last week.
It was going to have to be a perfect storm for Boise State to have a shot at the BCS title game to begin with. The jet stream just turned south. Despite a bye week, it feels like the Broncos are 1-1. Of all the things that could have happened to affect their flirtation with history, can you say, “least expected?” Almost immediately, the headline on the front page of SI.com Saturday evening read, “Bad News, Boise.” Andy Staples took it and ran with it, saying, “For all the BCS-conference fans who believe Boise State shouldn't make the title game without playing a tougher schedule, Saturday's win is James Madison's best contribution to America since the school's namesake—then Secretary of State—helped broker the Louisiana Purchase.”
On ESPN’s College Football Final Saturday night, the “Final Verdict” segment debated the effect Virginia Tech’s embarrassment will have on Boise State. You know which side Mark May took—he simply pulled up the Nick Saban soundbite talking about the Broncos strength of schedule. Lou Holtz claimed the rules say BSU should get a shot regardless of the Hokies’ loss. Rece Davis, as the judge, ruled in favor of Holtz, but only because Davis doesn’t think the Broncos would get into the BCS title game over a one-loss SEC or Big Ten team anyway. At least BCS expert Jerry Palm, a long-time Bronco detractor, said, “There’s way too much football to be played to declare anything.”
This Virginia Tech turn of events came just hours after Lee Corso let it slip on College GameDay that the program was headed to Boise September 25 for the Oregon State game. ESPN quickly backpeddled—now we’ll see if the GameDay complexion has changed. Oregon State, like Boise State, was idle over the weekend. ESPN is looking for the Beavers to bounce back from their loss to TCU when they open at home this week versus Louisville.
On Sunday Sports Extra last night I talked about the WAC records Kellen Moore won’t be able to break (because he won’t be in the conference as a senior) and the Boise State records Austin Pettis can break and has broken in this, his senior year. Pettis is 26 catches away from the Bronco mark for career receptions and already has the career record for touchdown catches. He’s less than 800 yards short of the school standard for career receiving yards. But Pettis could reach a miletone of sorts this Saturday in Laramie. He needs just 40 yards to become only the 11th Bronco ever to notch 2,000. Then again, Titus Young needs only 72 yards to do the same.
Wyoming’s experience at No. 5 Texas was predictable but not horrible. The Cowboys, still dealing with the death of teammate Ruben Narcisse, fell to the Longhorns 34-7 Saturday. Wyo actually led with 5½ minutes left in the half when quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels ran it in from five yards out. But it was all ‘Horns from there, as the Cowboys couldn’t get anything going on the ground. Carta-Samuels had a serviceable day, going 16-of-24 for 160 yards without an interception. The Pokes defense held its own, keeping Texas under 400 yards on its home turf before over 101,000 fans. Now Wyoming gears up for a second straight top 5 foe when Boise State goes to Laramie this week.
It’ll probably be a one-time-only event, but Idaho quarterback Nathan Enderle revisited his freshman and sophomore years in the Vandals’ 38-17 loss at Nebraska Saturday. Enderle threw five interceptions—two returned for touchdowns—and was sacked five times, a day of frustration he was able to avoid as a junior. Idaho allowed seven sacks overall, which zapped its rushing numbers. The Vandals averaged only 1.6 yards per attempt despite senior Deonte Jackson running 11 times for 67 yards. The Cornhuskers were content to pound on the ground themselves, rolling up 360 yards rushing, 157 of it from quarterback Taylor Martinez.
Idaho State is trying to accentuate the positive after its 38-17 loss at Utah State Saturday. Trailing 38-3 late in the third quarter, Timberline High grad Russel Hill was inserted at quarterback and directed two touchdown drives. That’s what Hill takes from the game. “Anytime you do something positive against a D1 team, it’s going to build your confidence,” Hill said in the Idaho State Journal. “We stayed together. I’ve never seen that since I’ve been here, honestly. I think you are going to see that more and more.” Hill was 13-of-22 for 162 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, former Meridian Warrior A.J. Storms was all over the field, making 20 tackles for the Bengals.
Former Boise State star Kyle Wilson plays his first real-for-real NFL game tonight on Monday Night Football’s early game, as the Jets host Baltimore. In the late game, ex-Bronco Legedu Naanee is expected to get his second career NFL start as a replacement for Chargers holdout Vincent Jackson in Kansas City. Naanee started once for the Bolts last year against the New York Giants. Notable yesterday: Former Idaho Vandal Max Komar, who played his way onto the Arizona Cardinals’ roster as an undrafted free agent, had two catches for 29 yards in his NFL debut as the Cards stopped the Rams, 17-13. Komar also did something he didn’t do at Idaho; he returned punts—five of ‘em for 31 yards. In his entire career with the Vandals, he had one punt return for 20 yards.
It’s Albertsons Boise Open week, and there’ll be a foursome of locals in the field when the tournament tees off Thursday. The two Boise State rookies on the PGA Tour, both enjoying successful seasons, will be playing, as Graham DeLaet will join former teammate Troy Merritt in the 21st edition of the Nationwide Tour event. Nampa’s Tyler Aldridge, a PGA Tour player last year, and Boise’s Ryan Hietala are also entered. Aldridge warmed up with a third-place finish in the Idaho Open Friday at BanBury. All four of the local ties will help conduct the annual Junior Golf Clinic tomorrow evening at Hillcrest Country Club.
This Day In Sports…September 13, 1986:
A creative gimmick makes its debut at Bronco Stadium. One that has become a signature of one of the most-recognizable sports venues in the country. Boise State played its first game on blue turf, annihilating Division II Humboldt State, 74-0. The Broncos went on to their first losing season at 5-6, and it would be 11 years before the rest of the nation saw the blue turf on national TV in the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl. But now, after years of ESPN exposure, “the blue” has become a calling card for the university and the city.
(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’s also handled color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football the last five seasons.)