Tuesday, Nov 10 at 8:42 AM
Tuesday, November 10, 2009.
Today we have two different approaches to rallying troops for Bronco-Vandal Week. Robb Akey on playing Boise State: "I want to be the least popular individual with all the WAC administrators after we get done on Saturday. Because if we take care of business there's not going to be a BCS bowl for Boise State and no BCS money coming to the conference." Chris Petersen on playing Idaho: “We’re always very leery when you play your rival. You know there’s going to be good energy through the week and on game day.” Robb Akey on the Broncos’ 10-game winning streak in the series: “(This is) going to start a new streak with the rivalry as well. And that's a streak that needs to get broken." Chris Petersen on the streak: “We don’t talk about streaks. We just talk about trying to beat the team we’re playing.”
So let’s go to Chris Petersen on the Idaho offense. He calls the Vandal running game with DeMaundray Woolridge, Princeton McCarty and Deonte Jackson a “three-headed monster.” But, Pete says, “I really think it all starts up front.” While praising the entire Vandal offensive line, he acknowledged that NFL Draft first round prospect Mike Iupati stands out. Like, just a little. “I think he’s in the Ryan Clady mode,” says Petersen. “He’s as big as they come, but he’s so athletic.” Now, the Vandals are hoping the 6-6, 330-pounder will play Saturday on the blue turf—he left the game against Fresno State with a possible concussion. Akey says he should be okay.
Other Vandal injury updates: Akey says quarterback Nate Enderle will be a game time decision after sitting out last week with a rotator cuff injury. After coming miles from where he was as a freshman and sophomore, it would be a shame if Enderle wasn’t in the lineup for what would be the biggest game of his career. He had risen to 10th in the nation in pass efficiency last week. Also, the jury’s still out on Idaho safety Jeromy Jones, who had a shoulder or collarbone injury versus Fresno State. But Akey said the X-rays came back good.
Bronco injury updates: Boise State defensive end Shea McClellin is questionable for Saturday’s matchup after an arm injury at Louisiana Tech. Petersen said he’d know more after McClellin has an MRI. The sophomore out of Marsing High must feel snakebitten in his zest to play in the rivalry, as last year he injured a knee during the Broncos’ win at the Kibbie Dome, ending his season. McClellin has become solidly entrenched as a starter, with 1½ sacks and two pass breakups. Also, nicklebacker Winston Venable is fine—he left the Louisiana Tech game after suffering a cut that required attention.
Idaho isn’t mathematically eliminated from the WAC race, but now its focus turns more to a bowl berth with the 41st Bronco-Vandal week is upon us. Since they’ve already lost to both Nevada and Fresno State, the Vandals may have to count on Boise State being bumped up to a bowl outside the WAC lineup to be assured of a trip in December. Of course, Idaho can always look at the WAC championship this way: if it ends the 10-game losing streak to Boise State and wins out—and someone else topples the Broncos (Utah State?), and two teams beat Nevada (Fresno State and BSU?), and another team beats Fresno State…uh, wait, the math is getting very, very difficult.
It’s finally a done deal in Eugene, as LeGarrette Blount has been reinstated by the Pac-10 after missing eight Oregon games following his punchout of Boise State’s Byron Hout September 3. “I’m grateful to Coach Kelly that he cares enough to offer me this second chance,” Blount said in a statement released Monday by Oregon. “Now it is up to me to prove to people that their lasting impressions of me are not what they saw in Boise.” When asked about Blount’s return yesterday, Chris Petersen repeated almost verbatim what he’s said all along: “Whatever the University of Oregon decides, we’re behind 100 percent.”
But do the Ducks really want to mess with their offensive chemistry? They may have lost to Stanford 51-42 last week, but they still rolled up 570 yards. Blount’s replacement, the smaller and quicker LaMichael James, has rushed for 1,043 yards and eight touchdowns this season with three games to go. James was actually the Ducks’ leading rusher September 3 on the blue turf, accumulating all of 22 yards. But he did it on only two carries. You can hear the Oregon fans now: “If we only knew then what we know now…”
What to make of Nevada after its 62-7 demolition of San Jose State Sunday night on ESPN. And dare I say it wasn’t that close? The Wolf Pack went pinball, rolling up 517 yards on the ground and becoming just the fifth team in NCAA history to have four different players rush for 100 yards in the same game. It was the biggest margin of victory on the road in coach Chris Ault’s long career, and it came on his 63rd birthday. Nevada did the same thing with its rushing attack to Idaho two weeks ago. But then again, the Pack struggled to beat Hawaii at home and Utah State on the road. You never quite know what you’re going to get with those guys. Boise State will get ‘em at 8:08 the night after Thanksgiving, ESPN announced yesterday.
It’s now called the United Heritage Tipoff Series, and part one is tonight in Caldwell at the J.A. Albertson Activities Center. For the first time since the 1999-2000 season, the College of Idaho and Northwest Nazarene will play a home-and-home series on their home courts. The Idaho Center, where the Canyon County rivals have played a one-game stand since NNU moved to NCAA Division II, was too big. The facilities in Caldwell and Nampa will be cozy and loud. This is one of those weird situations where it’s a counting game for the Coyotes and an allotted scrimmage for the Crusaders. This is the oldest college basketball rivalry in the state of Idaho, dating back to 1933.
There’s a former Boise Hawk who could become a feature performer in Yankee Stadium if SI.com’s Jon Heyman’s sources are correct. The Yankees are looking at Angels free agent John Lackey, and why wouldn’t they? The Yanks have the money, and Lackey has the moxie to endure in the Big Apple. The 6-6 righthander went 11-8 with a 3.83 ERA for the Halos and was their ace this season. His most impressive stint came in the American League Divisional Series last month against the Red Sox, when he pitched 7 1/3 shutout innings to get the Angels launched in the postseason.
Boise State’s introduction to the upper echelon of women’s soccer will be fairly daunting in the NCAA Tournament. After winning their first WAC championship Sunday, the Broncos will face one of the tourney’s four No. 1 seeds, UCLA, Friday night in Los Angeles. The Bruins have been here before—this is the third straight season they’ve earned a top seed.
This Day In Sports…November 10, 2002:
The day after a 49-7 win over Rice, Boise State’s eighth consecutive rout, the Broncos make history with their first-ever Top 25 ranking. BSU was voted no. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, and just missed the AP Top 25 by 15 votes. The Broncos entered the AP poll the following week. BSU would ride the nation’s leading offense and leading scorer, Brock Forsey, to a Top 15 finish in both polls at the end of the season.
(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.)