Friday, Nov 20 at 10:05 AM
Friday, November 20, 2009.
If you look at the box score from last year’s Boise State-Utah State game, you’ll see Jeremy Childs with seven catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns. Well, Childs isn’t around here anymore. But numbers like that keep on comin’. This season the source could be one of two guys—or both. Austin Pettis and Titus Young have both recorded 100-yard games for two consecutive weeks. Pettis and his 14 touchdown catches have been front and center since his incredible day against Idaho. But Pettis has been happily sharing the wealth. What if Childs hadn’t left Boise State early for his failed shot at the NFL? “A lot of our passing game last year was based around him,” said Pettis. “(Titus and I) are trying to take that role that Jeremy had and make those plays when we need to.” While Pettis has 58 catches this season, Young has 55—and nine touchdowns.
Pettis had two touchdown catches himself in last year’s 49-14 win over Utah State in Bronco Stadium—one from Kellen Moore and one from Mike Coughlin. Pettis quietly amassed 15 TD catches during his first two seasons, and now he is very loudly knocking on the door of Don Hutt’s BSU career record of 30. Pettis also has that streak of 10 straight games with a touchdown reception. The national record for one season is 13 straight games by Rice’s Jarrett Dillard in 2006. The Broncos, with a bowl game, play 14 games this season. So Pettis has an all-time college football record within reach as well.
From the moment Gary Anderson took the Utah State head coaching job, he set his sights on the top of the WAC. That would be Boise State. “That’s definitely who we’re going to chase—and try to catch,” said Anderson at the WAC Football Media Days in July. “Hopefully we’ll climb up their leg a little bit as time goes on.” The Aggies have a good fan base that’s just been itching to get excited—and replicate the wild scene you see in the Spectrum every season during USU men’s basketball games. You’ll see some of that tonight, showing off for ESPN2 cameras. Of course, the Broncos hope their throng of traveling fans contest that crowd noise. “It helps out so much,” said BSU’s Kyle Wilson this week. “It kind of makes their place our place.”
Boise State always throws caution to the wind when it goes into possible trap games like tonight’s matchup in Logan. Utah State has played everybody close—and they played two of the WAC’s elite offenses really close. Last month, Nevada had to rally past the Aggies, 35-32, and Fresno State had to do the same, 31-27. USU “held” the Wolf Pack to 313 rushing yards and actually outgained the Bulldogs on the ground, 263 yards to 210. The difference between Nevada and Fresno State compared to Boise State is a fellow named Kellen Moore. Remember, too, that the Aggies lost only 38-30 at Texas A&M and by identical 35-17 scores at Utah and BYU. And those in-state defeats were their two biggest losses of the year.
You’ve heard a lot about Utah State quarterback Diondre Borel leading up to tonight’s game. He’s become an accomplished passer to go with his running acumen. But if Boise State had a choice tonight, it would like to see Borel pass. The Broncos will look to get some points early to force the issue. That’s what they did last week against Idaho, with well-documented results. Five interceptions, bringing their season total to 19, second in the nation. Borel is third in the WAC in passing yards at 231 per game, but his pass efficiency rating is just average at 133.3. Why? Accuracy, which shows him completing 58 percent of his attempts. Borel has only three interceptions, but the Boise State defense has been known to force opposing QBs into bad throws.
Raise your hand if you wish this event was being held tomorrow afternoon. Because this is going to be a great football game. Capital and Eagle play tonight at 7PM for the state 5A championship, a half hour before Boise State and Utah State kick off on ESPN2. That will dilute the crowd a bit in vacuous 33,500-seat Bronco Stadium, but that’s why they invented DVD players and TiVo and such. Look at it this way: it’ll be Nevada-Boise State one week early on the blue turf, as Wolf Pack commit Taylor Kelly, Eagle’s star quarterback, tests Bronco commit Kyle Sosnowski, Capital’s star safety.
We’ll see what the weekend holds for Legedu Naanee and Chris Carr after the former Boise State stars recorded a couple of firsts last Sunday. They were firsts that that weren’t really firsts. Naanee pulled in his first regular season touchdown catch, a 20-yarder from Philip Rivers in last week’s San Diego win over Philadelphia. He did have a TD in the AFC Playoffs last season at Pittsburgh. The Chargers have an AFC West showdown awaiting Sunday in Denver. Carr notched his first interception as a Baltimore Raven in the Monday night win at Cleveland. He had one pick last season with Tennessee, and had a highlight-reel pick-six his second year in Oakland when he took a Ben Roesthlisberger throw back 100 yards. Now if Carr could duplicate that Sunday…the Ravens host Peyton Manning and the Colts.
The Idaho Steelheads try to rustle up some home-ice energy and shake off Wednesday night’s disappointing loss to Victoria with two more games against the Salmon Kings tonight and tomorrow night at Qwest Arena. Alternate captain Tyler Spurgeon, who’s added veteran savvy to the Steelheads roster, pledges to help guide the club out of the funk. Spurgeon is certainly getting it done on the ice, leading the Steelies with 17 points. His 14 assists are tied for fifth in the ECHL. The 25-year-old Edmonton native played the last two seasons in the AHL. By the way, former Steelhead Warren Peters was called up to the Dallas Stars from Texas of the AHL yesterday. Peters made his NHL debut last spring with Calgary. He played 90 games (scoring 29 goals) with Idaho from 2003 to 2005.
Ah, if Boise State’s Ike Okoye could play every game against his old team, Wyoming. Okoye was in another world when the Cowboys came to Taco Bell Arena last December, scoring 21 points with 12 rebounds and four blocked shots as the Broncos won, 86-85. But again, that was in Boise. Tomorrow night Okoye tries to replicate that effort against his former team in Laramie. It’s hard to get a handle on Wyoming after its first two games. Wednesday night the Cowboys beat Peru State College, a tiny NAIA school from Nebraska, 120-73. It was the most points the Pokes had ever scored in the Arena-Auditorium. But Wyo lost to South Dakota State by 16 on their home floor in the opener.
Always a fun weekend at the College of Idaho when the Duane Wolfe Memorial Golden Rule Shoot-Out rolls around. The 23rd edition of the tournament starts tonight at the J.A. Albertson Activities Center, with Northwest playing Westminster in the early game and C of I facing Lewis-Clark State in the nightcap. This will be Westminster’s 10th straight appearance in the Golden Rule Shootout, giving coach Tommy Connor, the former Borah High and Utah standout, a chance to see family and friends in the Treasure Valley. That includes his dad Bus, the former Boise State coach, and brother Steve, still the Broncos’ second-leading all-time scorer.
This Day In Sports…November 20, 1999, 10 years ago today:
Boise State clinches its first Big West championship and first berth in a Division I-A bowl game with a 45-14 win over Idaho at Martin Stadium in Pullman. The Broncos broke the game open with a 21-point first quarter, including a 68-yard broken-play pass from Bart Hendricks to Gavin Reed. Linebacker Kareem Williams sealed it with a 44-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the third quarter. It was the victory that kicked off BSU’s current 11-game winning streak over its rival.
(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.)