BOISE, Idaho — Friday, April 17, 2020.
It’s Friday, and that means another dip into my head-start celebration of the 50th anniversary of Albertsons Stadium. Today it’s the game that was probably the highlight of Boise State’s Skip Hall era. The 1990 Broncos were a senior-laden team, and on November 10 they welcomed the top-ranked team in Division I-AA, Nevada, to the blue turf. The Wolf Pack was no match for Boise State on this day, as the high-powered Nevada offense was held to 218 yards in a 30-14 Broncos win. Bart Hull had one of the most interesting games ever: three carries, 10 yards…three touchdowns. The hockey guy had a TD hat trick. Boise State and Nevada would meet again four weeks later in the Division I-AA semi-finals in Reno, with the Wolf Pack prevailing 59-52 in the triple-overtime classic.
MEANWHILE, ON THE RADIO
I know I’m going to be out in the yard Saturday afternoon. And I know what I’m listening to: the radio version of the throwback broadcasts, a collaboration between Boise State and KBOI/KTIK. The debut replay is the 2014 Mountain West championship game between the Broncos and Fresno State, winning the fan vote over the 2017 title game against the Bulldogs. The 2014 contest came three weeks after the infamous 9-degree game against San Diego State. This time it was a balmy 42, and Boise State cruised to a 28-14 victory, earning coach Bryan Harsin a trophy in his first season. Senior quarterback Grant Hedrick was the game’s offensive MVP after rushing for touchdowns of 20 and 21 yards. Sophomore linebacker Tanner Vallejo won defensive honors after a 63-yard interception return for a touchdown. Boise State’s postseason destination would be the Fiesta Bowl.
AND THAT’S A SPRING WRAP
Normally we’d spend the week after Boise State’s Spring Game recapping various aspects of the Broncos’ spring session. What we draw from today is last Saturday’s KBOI/KTIK Spring Football Preview Show from Learfield/IMG College. Coach Bryan Harsin wishes he could have seen quarterback Hank Bachmeier finish what he saw as a promising beginning. “In the three practices, with Hank, you could just see it in his mechanics, you could just see it with his demeanor and command that he’s more comfortable,” Harsin told Bob Behler. “That was the encouraging part—you felt like this thing was really going to go in a positive direction.”
Beyond Bachmeier, you can guess what the target areas of spring ball were going to be. “The D-line and the O-line,” said Harsin. “Those are the ones that we really wanted to focus on this spring.” He especially wanted to get a good look at defensive tackle Jackson Cravens, the transfer from Utah who had to sit out last year. “He was on the scout team,” noted Harsin. “Well, now he was going to get a chance to go out there and compete.” Cravens, a 6-2, 293-pounder, is just as anxious to show his stuff to Harsin. He was a first-team 4A all-state pick in Utah as a junior at Timpview High in 2016 before missing his senior season with an injury. He has played in exactly one football game the last three years—as a true freshman for the Utes against Colorado in 2018.
WHEN IT BEGAN FOR BRYANT
You’ll see below that today is the fifth anniversary of Kris Bryant’s major league debut. Bryant made his pro debut in the summer of 2013 with two games in Mesa before joining the Boise Hawks. That was a golden era for big-time talent in Boise. The following year, Kyle Schwarber was the fourth overall pick by the Cubs and got his start with the Hawks. Bryant’s Boise debut was much like the one I refer to below in the bigs. He went 0-for-5, striking out all five times. But he tore it up over the following 17 games and batted .354 before starting his move up the Cubs’ ladder. Last Saturday, by the way, Bryant and his wife, Jessica, shared the first photos of their newborn son, Kyler Lee Bryant, who was born 10 days ago.
NNU GETS THIS ALLEN FAMILY MEMBER
It was just five weeks ago that the sports world ground to a halt. The Big Sky Tournament was being played in Boise, and it was suddenly scrapped—just like everything else. Two days earlier, Idaho was ending a sour season in upbeat fashion, as the Vandals were within three points of upsetting Southern Utah in the final minute before falling 75-69 in CenturyLink Arena. What a way to go out for Trevon Allen that day, as the Idaho senior star scored 35 points. Now there’s another Allen to follow, and this one will be in the Treasure Valley. Trevon’s brother Tru, who starred at Clarkston High across the river from Lewiston, has committed to Northwest Nazarene. The 6-foot point guard was the Washington Class 2A Player of the Year after averaging 21.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
One more thing: Happy 24th birthday to my son, Ricky!
THIS DAY IN SPORTS…April 17, 2015, five years ago today:
Former Boise Hawk Kris Bryant makes his long-awaited major league debut and goes 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in a 5-4 loss to San Diego at Wrigley Field. The debut performance was an aberration. Bryant would go on to be named National League Rookie of the Year in 2015, and a year later would be named NL Most Valuable Player as he led the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years.
(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.)