BOISE, Idaho — Friday, April 3, 2020.
My head-start celebration of Albertsons Stadium’s 50th anniversary continues with a game that remains iconic in Boise State history—the one against Grambling in the 1980 Division I-AA semifinals. Before a crowd that for almost 20 years was considered the loudest in stadium history, the Broncos shocked the legendary Tigers 14-9 to advance to the I-AA championship game the following week. Grambling dominated the game statistically, but was psyched out by the foggy 25-degree weather—coughing up four costly turnovers. A 63-yard touchdown pass from Joe Aliotti to Kipp Bedard off a flea-flicker (with Bedard dragging Everson Walls into the end zone) provided the winning points. From there, the Boise State defense repelled drive after drive deep in its territory to hold on for the win.
The weather was half the story. Many will tell you the field was solid ice and the temperature below zero, but it was actually 25 degrees. It just looked so cold, with the fog enveloping the upper deck at kickoff and leaving hoarfrost on the trees around the stadium. Boise State was out-sized and seemingly out-matched, but not out-hearted. Grambling brought the “Trees of Terror,” a massive defensive line that chased Aliotti all over the field. But the game effectively ended with Aliotti running out of the back of the end zone to take an intentional safety. Stuck inside their 10-yard line and facing a fourth down in the final minute, it was the only way the Broncos could get the Tigers out of their territory.
STARTING LINEUP – WITHOUT THE BENEFIT OF SPRING
Boise State offensive line coach Brad Bedell has had his media session this week, and it was interesting how open he was about the depth chart with his group. Even without spring football, Bedell knows how he expects it to go. Junior John Ojukwu is at left tackle—that was a given. According to Bedell, here’s how the other four spots shake out right now: Garrett Curran at left guard, Kekaniokoa Holomalia-Gonzalez at center, Jake Stetz at right guard, and some combination of Ben Dooley and Nick Crabtree at right tackle.
“Our X-factor who deserves a lot of praise—you take a guy who has looked at a challenge and taken advantage of it—it’s Donte Harrington, said Bedell. Harrington is coming back from a torn ACL a year ago, but Bedell is anxious to see him compete at right guard and notes he can also play center. Crabtree, meanwhile, has paid a lot of dues in the Boise State program and is already a senior. He came to the Broncos as a tight end in 2016 but moved to the offensive line during his redshirt freshman season.
BEHAVE YOURSELVES, PACK AND BRONCOS FANS
When I first saw this, I thought it was an innocent little news item. After listening to Idaho SportsTalk Thursday, this could be a troll-fest for Bronco Nation (although I hope not). The Nevada athletics department is hosting a digital watch party tonight to re-live the 2010 Wolf Pack football upset victory over Boise State. Down in Reno they call it “Blue Friday,” marking Nevada’s comeback from a 24-7 halftime hole to win 34-31 in overtime. Pack faithful take great glee in this, as the Broncos were ranked fourth in the country and were poised to go to the Rose Bowl. Nevada was ranked 19th and rallied for the win behind Colin Kaepernick. That was the best team in Wolf Pack history. Certain Nevada fans became infamous for their bad behavior that night.
DESTINY DONE IN CORVALLIS
Not that we’ve been following the Oregon State women’s basketball program that closely this season, but Destiny Slocum dropped a bombshell on it Thursday. The former two-time Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year out of Mountain View High announced on Twitter that she’s entering the transfer portal going into her senior season. Slocum intends to be a graduate transfer. It wasn’t that surprising when she left Maryland for OSU three years ago, but she seemed to have found a home in Corvallis. In one season with the Terrapins and two with the Beavers, Slocum has averaged 14.2 points and 5.1 assists in 88 games. Her sister Trinity is about to graduate from Mountain View after helping the Mavericks’ to the state 5A title in February. Did that figure into Destiny’s decision?
THIS DAY IN SPORTS…April 3, 2017:
The Gonzaga Bulldogs finally reach the pinnacle, winning their way into not only their first Final Four, but into the national championship game against North Carolina. The Bulldogs had previously made it to the Sweet 16 six times and the Elite Eight once. The Zags couldn’t finish the impressive run, though, falling 71-65 to the Tar Heels in Glendale, AZ. It was Gonzaga’s 19th consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament, 18 of them under Mark Few. The Bulldogs won their first 29 games of the season before being upset by BYU. Few won his 500th career game during the tournament as the Zags finished 37-2.
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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