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Boise State football: The ‘Jerry Factor’

We don’t know how far along talks are between Boise State and Kellen Moore. But you can bet Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is paying attention.

BOISE, Idaho — Tuesday, December 29, 2020.

There’s a reason they call AT&T Stadium outside Dallas “Jerry World.” It’s kind of Jerry Jones’ world down there. So it figures that the Cowboys owner can be persuasive when he wants to be. Could that apply to Jones’ desire to keep Kellen Moore in Dallas? According to Mike Fisher of SportsIllustrated.com, “People around The Star, due to Jerry's love for Moore, have half-jokingly referred to the young coach as ‘Jerry's Tom Landry III.’” Fisher elaborates: “Sources say Moore, despite his quiet demeanor, has accumulated power here inside The Star—power permitted by the Joneses. When new head coach Mike McCarthy came aboard and expressed a desire to retain Moore (one of just a handful of Jason Garrett staffers who even got to interview with the new coach)? More power for Moore.” The drama continues.

Our intrepid KTIK reporter in DFW, Jeff Caves, said that CEO Stephen Jones of the Cowboys was on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Monday and said that Moore has a great NFL future, but that he and Dad Jerry had not spoken to him yet. As far as timing goes, Fisher writes, “The Cowboys don't have to worry about Moore leaving until after their season is complete. As discussed this week on The Fan, staffer Doug Nussmeier can be a qualified replacement at coordinator. And McCarthy himself is an accomplished play-caller.”

FROM 17 TO 0 IN TWO YEARS

From the “can’t go wrong with Andy Avalos” department, the guy knows turnovers—and Boise State didn’t this season. The Broncos didn’t recover a single fumble this year. Not one. B.J. Rains of the Idaho Press points out that in Avalos' final season as the Broncos defensive coordinator in 2018, they led the country with 17 fumble recoveries. The year before that, Boise State ended the season with two fumble recoveries against Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl. Which is where Ducks coach Mario Cristobal first discovered Avalos. As far as timing goes for Avalos, he’d conceivably be free after Oregon plays Iowa State in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday.

A CAPTAIN FROM START TO FINISH

Avery Williams has added to his first-team USA Today All-America honors, earning a third-team nod from AP Monday as an all-purpose player. What a way to go. Williams’ star rose quickly at Boise State. He was a walk-on in 2016 but was voted the Broncos’ Special Teams Scout Player of the Year that season. The following spring, Williams was named by coaches as the captain of one of the teams in the Spring Game, and in early August the staff surprised him with a scholarship. On the first Saturday of September in 2017, Williams’ first touch as a Bronco—and the team’s first touch of the season—resulted in an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown. He finished with nine punt and kickoff return TDs, tying the NCAA career record.

SAME POLLS – DIFFERENT SPORT

Boise State men’s basketball earned two points in the AP Poll this week. That could mean either two votes at No. 25 or one at No. 24. The Broncos also received votes totaling five points in the Coaches Poll. While that would hardly move the needle for the Boise State football program, it’s a big deal for hoops. This is a team on the rise. San Diego State, which is almost two months away on the Broncos schedule, is on the Coaches list at No. 23 and is second in line to return to the AP Top 25. The Aztecs, like the Broncos, are 6-1.

ALSTON GETS HIS DUE

Derrick Alston Jr. has been a catalyst during Boise State’s six-game winning streak, and he was especially good in the Broncos’ dominating sweep of New Mexico last week. Alston is the Mountain West Player of the Week after averaging 21 points, five rebounds and 4.5 assists per game against the Lobos. Inside of those already-impressive numbers, you’ll find that Alston shot 77 percent from the field (including 9-for-9 in Game 2 with four emphatic dunks) and hit 75 percent from the three-point stripe. Alston joins an elite group of players that has scored at least 22 points on 10 or fewer field goal and free throw attempts combined against Division I opponents. He is the third Bronco to accomplish the feat since 2009. Boise State is the only school in the country with three such performances in the last 11 seasons.

HUTCH PICKS IT UP AGAIN

A healthy Chandler Hutchison is starting to contribute again for the Chicago Bulls. The injury-plagued former Boise State star was valuable off the bench Sunday in a loss to the Golden State Warriors, scoring seven points in 19 minutes while adding eight rebounds and four assists. Healthy is a big word for Hutchison as his third NBA season gets underway. His rookie year was interrupted by a broken foot, and last season ended in late February with a shoulder injury that ultimately required surgery. 

"I feel as close to 100 percent as I've felt since I've been a Bull, which is exciting for me,” Hutchison told NBA.com. “Being available on the court is everything. It's been a lot of time to get that shoulder right. I haven't had any lingering issues." Hutchison also has a fresh start, theoretically, under new Bulls coach Billy Donovan.

THIS DAY IN SPORTS…December 29, 1997:

The first Humanitarian Bowl is played before 16,289 fans in Bronco Stadium, with Cincinnati beating Utah State, 35-19. The Bearcats virtually bid their way into the game out of Conference USA with ticket guarantees and the promise of a future trip of their nationally-ranked basketball team to the BSU Pavilion (which would come to pass two years later). The Aggies, meanwhile, were being coached for the final time by John L. Smith, the former Idaho Vandal head man who had taken the head coaching job at Louisville. USU would not make another bowl game until the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in 2011.

(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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