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Boise State football: The Hammond factor

A couple Mountain West prognosticators have picked Air Force to finish ahead of Boise State in the Mountain Division this year. The dynamic may have changed, though
Credit: Steve Conner/AP Photo
Air Force quarterback Donald Hammond III runs as Boise State’s Kekoa Nawahine defends in an NCAA game, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won 30-19.

BOISE, Idaho — Monday, July 20, 2020.

Air Force is scheduled to play Boise State in Week 2 of the 2020 season in Colorado Springs. The Broncos hope that game is played. The Falcons are looking at life without their star quarterback, as the academy released a statement Saturday that said, “Donald Hammond III is no longer a cadet in good standing and cannot represent the academy in outside activities,” No reason for the move was given by Air Force. Hammond was just named to the Davey O’Brien Award watch list last week. 

Hammond threw for 13 touchdowns last season—a good number for the Falcons. He rushed for 13 more while leading Air Force to an 11-2 record, a win over Washington State in the Cheez-It Bowl, and a No. 22 ranking in the final AP Poll (one spot ahead of the Broncos). Boise State contained Hammond last September in a 30-19 win at Albertsons Stadium that ended up the most important of the season, holding him to 83 yards passing and 62 rushing. There are only two other quarterbacks on the Air Force roster right now. Backup Isaiah Sanders transferred to Stanford the first week of June.

RELATED: Curt Apsey: Boise State football games could be limited to 25-30% of normal capacity due to coronavirus concerns

WATCH LIST SEASON: JOHN BATES’ TURN

So far this summer, there’s been a watch list for every current Boise State star. There was one for John Bates on Friday: the Mackey Award that goes to the nation’s best tight end. It’s the third straight season Bates has made the Mackey list. He made 22 catches for 273 yards and a touchdown last season. The one TD reception was one of the Broncos’ most important. Bates hauled in a 28-yard strike from Hank Bachmeier toward the end of the third quarter against Air Force last September to give Boise State a lead it would not relinquish. Without that victory, as it turned out, there would have been no Mountain West championship.

COMMIT LIST FINALLY GROWING

Boise State has a quarterback now in its 2021 recruiting class. Taylen Green, a 6-5, 215-pounder from Lewisville, TX, committed Friday. He’s rated as the No. 24 dual-threat QB in the country by 247 Sports. Green threw for 2,217 yards and 25 touchdowns against only three interceptions last season and added 445 yards and 12 more TDs on the ground. 

RELATED: Boise State football: Anxious for Holani’s encore

Later Friday evening, the Broncos got a commit from Kaden Dudley, a wide receiver from Monument, CO, who announced his decision live on the 6:00 news on KOAA-TV in Pueblo. Dudley had originally verbaled to Colorado but reopened his recruitment when coach Mel Tucker left CU for Michigan State. He had 35 receptions for 794 yards and nine touchdowns last season while contributing 90 tackles and five interceptions on defense.

THE FALL FALLOUT CONTINUES

Autumn is going to have a hole in it in Canyon County. The Cascade Conference announced Friday that all of its fall sports seasons would be moved to the spring. Then the three football-playing schools in the CCC, all of which play in the Frontier Conference, announced they were following suit. In addition to College of Idaho, Eastern Oregon and Southern Oregon will play in the spring, leaving the Frontier with only five football-playing schools this season, if the league goes ahead with it. Seven other C of I sports are affected by the Cascade Conference switch. 

At the same time, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference announced Friday it is suspending all intercollegiate athletics competition through November 30 because of COVID-19. That wipes out Northwest Nazarene’s sports calendar this fall.

RELATED: Boise State football: Albertsons Stadium 50th anniversary, Caves edition

NNU LANDS A LOCAL BIGGIE

Always great to see a member of the Bergersen family playing hoops in the Treasure Valley. Former Borah High standout Ryzin “Biggie” Bergersen has committed to NNU’s 2020-21 recruiting class. The 6-4 guard attended Link Year Prep in Branson, MO, as a senior and averaged 16 points, 4.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game last season. The year before, Bergersen helped lead Borah High to the 2019 Class 5A state championship. His dad is former Boise State and Idaho Stampede star Roberto Bergersen, one of only two Broncos ever to be taken in the first two rounds of the NBA Draft. Biggie’s big brother, Rylan, is far away from the valley, having transferred to Central Arkansas last year after beginning his college career ar BYU.

THIS DAY IN SPORTS…July 20, 2014:

A few weeks after he considered giving up professional golf during what had been a tough season, veteran Steve Wheatcroft wins the 25th annual Albertsons Boise Open on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff. Wheatcroft and Steven Alker had each gone a record 24-under par at the end of regulation before Wheatcroft dropped in a 10-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole. The victory vaulted him all the way from 89th to 10th on the Web.com Tour money list and assured him of a PGA Tour card for the following season.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.) 

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