Thursday, October 4, 2012.
Last Saturday night I wondered aloud if Southern Miss runs the triple option. This was midway through the fourth quarter at New Mexico, and you know what was going on then. Well, the Golden Eagles don’t run the triple option, but they do run the spread—and it’s Boise State beware. The Broncos, of course, yielded 330 yards on the ground against the Lobos, second-most in the Chris Petersen era. Facing 19th-ranked Louisville last Saturday in conditions only a polliwog could love, Southern Miss rushed for a season-high 224 yards on 48 carries. That could mean another mass of tackles this week for senior linebacker J.C. Percy, who had 13 stops against the Lobos. Boise State has been leaning on the one-time walk-on from Blackfoot. “There’s not a sharper guy on our team, probably on both sides of the ball,” said coach Chris Petersen.
Boise State needs to be able to stand up to some ol’ Southern bulk in the trenches Saturday morning, and freshman Sam Ukwuachu will be tested on the edge. Ukwuachu has settled in as the Broncos’ new Shea McClellin-like defensive end, as he’s able to play standing up and cross offenses up by dropping into coverage. Ukwuachu had two important fumble recoveries at New Mexico. He’s a speed merchant with his 6-4, 222-pound frame, but Petersen isn’t afraid of Ukwuachu losing that edge if he adds pounds over the next three years. “He’s so lean that he’s going to put on weight and still be pretty athletic,” said Petersen.
It’s Miller Time again for the Boise State offense. Matt Miller, the sophomore wide receiver, had only two catches in the opener at Michigan State but has 23 grabs for 214 yards in the three games since. He also made his first touchdown catch of the year at New Mexico, pulling in a nine-yarder from Joe Southwick in the second quarter. Maybe the faucet is open now for Miller to get into the end zone. He scored Boise State’s first TD of the 2011 season against Georgia—it took him four games to get in this year. Miller also showed he’s the new Austin Pettis in the fractured formation the Broncos run occasionally on the PAT, tossing to tight end Connor Peters for two points.
In Hattiesburg, MS, they’re hoping they don’t have to change their paradigm, because this has certainly been a different season under new coach Ellis Johnson. Last December, Southern Miss beat Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl to register a school-record 12 wins. Now, there are two hefty streaks that are in danger as the defending Conference USA champion goes into Saturday’s game against Boise State at 0-4. The Golden Eagles have gone to 10 straight bowl games, tied with the Broncos for the most among non-AQ schools, and have 18 straight winning seasons, the fourth-longest such streak in the country.
Boise State is going to see a lot of Tracy Lampley Saturday. The senior wide receiver looks to become the first Southern Miss player to ever go over 1,000 career yards in four different areas: rushing, receiving, kickoff returns and punt returns. Lampley is already there in kickoff returns and could nail two more categories against the Broncos, as he needs 34 rushing yards and 40 receiving yards. Lampley’s been at it a long time—as a freshman, he became the first Southern Miss player ever to register a touchdown by rush, reception, kickoff return and punt return in the same season.
While Kyle Wilson is not being blamed for the New York Jets’ 34-0 loss to San Francisco last Sunday, he’s sharing in the criticism being leveled on the woeful Jets. The 2010 first round draft pick out of Boise State was inserted into the starting lineup after the season-ending injury to star cornerback Derrelle Revis and was prepared for a picking-on by the 49ers. Wilson got what he expected. He was flagged for pass interference on the first play of the game and was twice beaten deep on passes Alex Smith overthrew. “I’m surprised if the ball is not coming,” Wilson said. He’ll be out there for all to see as the Jets take on the formidable Houston Texans in Week 5 on Monday Night Football.
The bad news for the Boise State men’s basketball program last week was only four televised games this season (only one really available locally). The good news: the Broncos can control start times of all those non-televised games, and this season Mountain West tipoffs in Taco Bell Arena will move up to 6 p.m. That’s a manageable time for families, especially on weeknights. The only exceptions are the two TV broadcasts from Boise, versus UNLV February 2 (7 p.m.) and against San Diego State March 9 (1:30 p.m.). The marquee home game of the non-conference schedule, against LSU on December 14, will begin at 7 p.m.
Graham DeLaet has been on hiatus from competitive golf the past four weeks (outside the Michelob Ultra Shootout at the Albertsons Boise Open). But this week the former Boise State star is in for a great experience, playing in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland on Old Course St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns. The diverse field includes Martin Kaymer, who sank the putt at Medinah which retained the Ryder Cup for Europe, Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, Hollywood star Greg Kinnear and rock music legend Huey Lewis.
Two former Boise Hawks contributed to one of the great stories of the year in Major League Baseball yesterday, the capper of Oakland’s incredible four-month roll that carried the A’s to an unlikely American League West title. In the 12-5 win over the once-invincible Texas Rangers, Josh Donaldson went 2-for-5 and scored two runs, and reliever Jerry Blevins helped the A’s wiggle out of trouble in the sixth by striking out Josh Hamilton to end the inning. Now Oakland goes right into the Divisional Series, and the Rangers are forced into the wild card game tomorrow. They may have to re-shoot the end of “Moneyball” when this thing is over.
Boise State’s Andy Bettles is into the main draw at the prestigious ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, OK. Bettles finished his run through qualifying by beating the top-ranked incoming freshman in the country, Michael Redlicki of Duke, in straight sets. The junior from Somerset, England, will start play in the main draw today against Max Wennakoski of Virginia Commonwealth.
This Day In Sports…October 4, 1955:
The Brooklyn Dodgers, behind a complete-game shutout from Johnny Podres, beat the New York Yankees 2-0 in Game 7 to finally win a World Series. Dodger leftfielder Sandy Amoros, a late-inning defensive replacement, made an incredible running, game-saving catch of Yogi Berra’s fly down the line in the sixth inning—one of the all-time highlight reel plays in World Series history.
(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.)