Sunday, Nov 3 at 6:09 PM
Tuesday, October 26, 2010.
I use this line every year in August: “Don’t blink.” It’s directed at seniors who will see their final season fly by at warp speed. Certainly Boise State’s seniors can’t believe the 2010 campaign is halfway gone, but this goes for fans, too. There’s obviously something going on this season, and if you’re not fortunate enough to travel to the remaining away games in Moscow and Reno, you have just four chances left to see this team play. The first is about as unattractive as it gets, an inconvenient Tuesday night game against Louisiana Tech. But think about it: do you want this opportunity to pass you by? There are still tickets left for tonight’s game.
Here goes the broken record. The No. 2 team in the nation in the polls should sell out. I know, it’s a school night—a work night. The No. 2 team in the nation should sell out a 33,500-seat stadium. I know, it’s going to be cold. The No. 2 team in the nation should sell out if the temperature is above freezing. I know, it’s far-off Louisiana Tech. The No. 2 team in the nation in a metropolitan area of 600,000 should sell out. I know, the economy has hit families hard. The hardest-hit families are excused. But the No. 2 team in the nation should sell out. “If everybody shows up, and it’s the same old Bronco Stadium, it’ll be great,” says coach Chris Petersen. “They won’t even know it’s Tuesday.”
For the Boise State defense it starts and stops tonight with, well, third down stops. The Bulldogs got off the hook time and time against versus Idaho 10 days ago in Ruston, converting seven situations of third-and-seven or longer into first downs. And they converted a fourth-and-nine into a touchdown. Petersen knows why the Bulldogs are able to do it. “I think that’s what speed gives you,” said Petersen. “You can be in bad situations and get out of them if you have speed.” It’ll be strength against strength tonight, though. The Broncos have forced 31 three-and-outs this season, third in the nation. And they’ve allowed only 29 percent on third-down conversions—that’s seventh in the country.
This will be Boise State’s final game against Louisiana Tech for the foreseeable future. There have been some dandies in the series, especially in the WAC years. The first three years both schools were in the conference it was Ryan Dinwiddie versus Luke McCown. The Bulldogs won the first matchup to claim the WAC title in 2001. Dinwiddie capped his rivalry with McCown by throwing for a school-record 532 yards in 2003. The first meeting overall was back in December of 1973 at the Pioneer Bowl in Wichita Falls, TX, in the semifinals of the first-ever NCAA Division II Playoffs. La Tech was triumphant in that one, 38-34, and went on to win the national championship the next week.
Boise State’s Kellen Moore is one of 16 semifinalists for what is officially known as the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award that goes to the best signal-caller in the country. We’ve been through all of Moore’s statistics, but the big picture is: a 32-1 record as a starter, with 80 touchdowns and just 14 interceptions. Among the others of note on the O’Brien list: Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick, TCU’s Andy Dalton, Oregon’s Darron Thomas and Auburn’s Cam Newton. Fans will now help determine which three quarterbacks will advance as finalists by voting as often as once daily at www.VoteOBrien.org between now and November 21.
The Idaho Steelheads defense spent a developmental weekend in Anchorage. The Alaska Aces had been specializing in outshooting opponents, and that they did last Friday when they barraged goalie Tyler Beskorowany with 48 shots. The 44 saves Beskorowany recorded tied for the second-most in a game in the Steelheads’ ECHL era behind the 48 stopped by Dan Ellis in December, 2003. The Steelies exerted more defensive control Saturday despite another overtime loss, as the Aces fired 27 shots. Each goalie got one start on the trip, as was coach Hardy Sauter’s plan—Mike Zacharias had 24 saves in the second game. The Steelheads host the Utah Grizzlies in Qwest Arena tomorrow night.
In the comings and goings department involving former Idaho Stampede players in the NBA, it’s all goings right now as the NBA season opens tonight. The Utah Jazz waived guard Sundiata Gaines last Thursday. The former Georgia star got into four preseason contests with the Jazz, averaging five points and 2.3 assists. Gaines played in 32 games for Utah last season after being called up from the Stampede in early January. And Lance Allred was cut Friday by the Pacers after playing in only one preseason game. The former Weber State standout and renowned author has appeared in 156 games over the past four seasons for the Stamps, averaging 13.7 points and 8.4 rebounds. It’s not likely—but not impossible—that one or both could end up back in Boise this season.
Some catch-up from the weekend: It was a mouthful of a tournament on the PGA Tour, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children’s Open, but Graham DeLaet did some nice talking on the course. The former Boise State star tied for 18th in Las Vegas, keyed by an eight-under-63 Saturday, and is all but assured of a PGA Tour card in 2011. DeLaet improved to No. 98 on the money list, up from No. 102. One-time Bronco teammate Troy Merritt tied for 50th and is squarely on the bubble with one tournament to go in the PGA Tour Fall Series. Merritt dropped from 118th to 121st. The top 125 on the money list after the finale, the Children’s Miracle Network Classic in two weeks, earn automatic entry into 2011 PGA Tour events.
There wasn’t much to report on former Boise State guys in the Canadian Football League—until an unexpected turn of events Saturday night. With Edmonton’s Ricky Ray injured, Jared Zabransky got his first pro start at quarterback and led the Eskimos to a 39-24 win over Saskatchewan. Zabransky had been coming off the bench for Edmonton only occasionally and hadn’t had much success. He had been under 50 percent for the season until going 16-of-23 for 188 yards and two touchdowns. And he saw his Bronco predecessor come of the bench on the other side, as Ryan Dinwiddie was 5-of-7 for 100 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for the Roughriders. Dinwiddie returned to the CFL with Saskatchewan this season after sitting out last year.
This Day In Sports…October 26, 1960, 50 years ago today:
The American League beats the National League to expansion, agreeing to add teams from Washington, DC, and Los Angeles for the 1961 season. For the first time, the major leagues would have more than 16 teams when the newly-created Senators and the Los Angeles Angels began play. The existing Washington Senators had already announced a move to Minneapolis, where they would become the Minnesota Twins.
(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 served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)