Friday, February 12, 2010.
Kudos to Boise State for circling the wagons after last Saturday’s train wreck against Idaho. The Broncos whittled down a 16-point deficit in the final 10 minutes and were on Utah State’s heels down the stretch last night at Taco Bell Arena. They had their chances at a major upset. But BSU couldn’t make enough big shots at crunch time, especially three-pointers, and the Aggies were finally able to exhale in a 72-67 win. The Broncos shot 54 percent for the game but were 0-for-7 from beyond the arc in the second half. The feast-or-famine Anthony Thomas was more feast for Boise State last night. The senior point guard bounced back from his 0-fer versus the Vandals to score 15 points with five assists. Boise State’s worst fears were realized in the stands, though, as attendance fell off the table with a crowd of only 3,064 for the WAC’s marquee team.
Because Hawaii was idle last night, Boise State is now all alone in last place in the WAC with a 2-9 record. Things don’t get any easier for the Broncos, who are now 11-13 overall and have to travel to Reno for a game against Nevada tomorrow night. Hey, they could draw some inspiration from things that have happened in the past during dark days. How about the WAC Tournament five years ago, when Boise State went to Reno with a 13-17 record—and then won three games, including a play-in game and a semifinal stunner over the Wolf Pack before falling to UTEP in the WAC title game. They can use that blast from the past at tournament time, too.
If the halls of the newly-remodeled Statehouse are any indication, Boise State running back Matt Kaiserman will need the spring to recuperate from the broken leg he suffered against Idaho last November. Kaiserman is interning for Rep. Judy Boyle of Midvale during this Legislative session, and the fine folks of District 9 have to be proud of the effort the former Skyview High star is putting forth. Kaiserman gets around the Capitol with his leg in a cast and propped up on a little scooter. He hopes to get back to his regular scooting by the time the season starts in Washington, DC. Kaiserman suffered the injury three weeks after his impressive launch point, the 122-yard night at Hawaii. Before going down versus the Vandals, he had just thrown a touchdown pass on a halfback option to roommate Kyle Efaw—the first TD of Efaw’s career.
Bob Molinaro of the Virginian-Pilot (in Hampton Roads) has a take that is shared by many: “Now that the Virginia Tech-Boise State football game at FedEx Field has been moved back from early October to sticky Labor Day, I make the Hokies a slightly bigger favorite—by factoring in the impact of the dreaded East Coast humidity on the visitors from Idaho.” Maybe, but at that time of the year, there can be some hotsy-totsy practice days in the 90’s on the blue turf. I think it’s a push as far as weather effects go on Labor Day versus October 2. If in doubt, the Broncos can crank up the heat in the Caven-Williams indoor facility and roll in a giant humidifier.
The Sporting News, via draft expert Russ Lande, has unveiled its projections for the first round of the NFL Draft in April. Lande has Idaho’s Mike Iupati going at No. 31 overall to the Indianapolis Colts. “President Bill Polian said the offensive line let down the team in Super Bowl XLIV,” writes Lande. “Iupati would be an instant upgrade.” If that came to pass, Iupati would be competing with former Boise Burn player Kyle DeVan for spot at guard. DeVan started in the Super Bowl for the Colts just nine months after playing in af2 for the Burn.
After a magnificent performance between the pipes by Richard Bachman Wednesday night, it would figure to be Rejean Beauchemin’s turn in goal tonight when the Idaho Steelheads host Utah in the second of a three-game series. You may not recognize Beauchemin without his mask on, though. Always sporting long, wavy hair in his time in Idaho, Beauchemin cut it off this week. Here’s hoping there’s no Samson effect. It didn’t hurt in Wednesday’s 1-0 victory that the Steelies didn’t have to deal with the ECHL’s leading scorer, Ryan Kinasewich . The Grizzlies star was loaned Monday to Bridgeport of the AHL. Kinasewich had been averaging a goal a game against the Steelheads this season.
Graham DeLaet is on the bubble at best at the AT&T National Pro-Am—Troy Merritt a little less so. DeLaet shot a three-over 75 at the Pebble Beach Golf Links in yesterday’s first round, done in by a triple-bogey on No. 8. Merritt managed a two-under 70 at Monterey Peninsula after collecting four birdies on the front nine. He’s six strokes behind first round leader Dustin Johnson.
Beauty & The Beast has become one of the highlights of the winter on Boise State’s sports calendar. That’s when the Bronco wrestling and gymnastics teams are in action simultaneously—and this year, it’s one of your only chances to see them. The Bronco wrestlers haven’t been home since December 11, and now this is it, as they celebrate Senior Night with a Pac-10 match against Oregon State. For the undefeated gymnasts, it’s their first home meet of the season as they host Sacramento State and Seattle Pacific. The event has just a little competition Friday night from the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. But if you’ve a mind to record the pageantry, you can see what are perennially two of the Broncos’ strongest Olympic sports programs.
Unlike Middleton’s Erik Fisher, whose Olympic downhill experience could be one-run-and-done this weekend, Boise’s Sara Studebaker has a busy agenda in the biathlon. Studebaker will be competing in several events in the sport that combines Nordic skiing and shooting, one of four Americans competing. After graduating from Boise High and spending seven years on the Bogus Basin Nordic team, she went on to captain Dartmouth’s 2007 NCAA national championship cross country team. Since then, Studebaker has been targeting this moment, living and training in the biathlon at the Olympic training center at Lake Placid.
This Day In Sports…February 12, 2002:
Sun Valley ski legend Picabo Street races in her final competitive event—the women’s downhill at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Street had made an impressive comeback from a devastating knee injury in a World Cup crash shortly after her gold medal run in the Super-G at Nagano in 1998. But Picabo finished 16th on the Wildflower course at Park City—then announced her retirement. She won the silver in the 1994 Olympic downhill at Lillehammer.
(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.)