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Boise State football: Octavius the obelisk

So you don’t have to look up “obelisk,” it’s “a stone pillar, typically having a square or rectangular cross section and a pyramidal top, set up as a monument.
Credit: Boise State Athletics
Boise State’s Octavius Evans finds running room against Colorado State Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, at Canvas Stadium in Fort Collins, CO. Boise State won 28-19.

BOISE, Idaho — Tuesday, November 2, 2021.

The term “obelisk” relates to Octavius Evans in a couple of ways. Evans is a monument to tenacity and perseverance for sticking out his five-year career at Boise State. It started well enough, with a solid true freshman season in 2017 that produced 15 receptions and two touchdowns. Before the Spring Game in his sophomore year, Evans was awarded jersey No. 1, succeeding Cedrick Wilson. That was supposed to be a launching pad, but 2018 was injury-plagued for Evans. He had a grand total of two catches—and he played in five games, erasing his opportunity to take a redshirt year. Evans was back in 2019 but had only 19 receptions despite being an experienced junior. He played the first two games of the COVID-shortened 2020 season, but we didn’t see him again after that.

Finally, fighting all the adversity has paid off. Evans is having the definition of “career year.” He is the Broncos’ second-leading receiver behind Khalil Shakir, with 30 catches for 341 yards and two touchdowns, and he was a key piece of the 28-19 win at Colorado State, making a diving nine-yard TD catch and notching another score on a 13-yard dash after a pitchout. It was Evans’ most important contribution to date at Boise State. It’s telling that his teammates and coaches are piling on the platitudes for the 6-1, 210-pounder from Center, TX, calling him one of the team’s hardest workers.

BULLDOGS IN THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

Everything seems to be going Fresno State’s way as the Bulldogs await Boise State’s visit this week. The 25th-ranked ‘Dogs took Mountain West Player of the Week honors on both offense and defense Monday via Jordan Mims and Evan Williams. Star running back Ronnie Rivers was out with an ankle injury, and Mims filled in against San Diego State with a career-high 186 rushing yards, the most versus the Aztecs by an individual in 10 years. Mims averaged 6.4 yards per carry. Williams logged a career-high 13 tackles from his safety spot and grabbed his third interception of the season, returning it 36 yards. By the way, Fresno State coach Kalen DeBoer indicated Monday that both Rivers and leading receiver Jalen Cropper, who was injured against SDSU, will be back for the Broncos.

RECRUITING CATCH-UP

Fortifying the future of Boise State’s offensive line is an ongoing thing, and coach Andy Avalos took another step at the end of last week with a commitment from Tyson Molio'o from St. John Bosco in Bellflower, CA. “Molio'o is one of the state's best and most versatile offensive linemen,” writes Greg Biggins, national recruiting analyst for 247 Sports. Molio’o made his official visit to Boise last month. According to Biggins, Molio'o “has played both guard and tackle but likely slides inside and plays guard at the college level.” He’s the fourth offensive line commit in the 2022 recruiting class.

BRONCOS-FROGS: WAS IT THAT LONG AGO?

The unceremonious departure of coach Gary Patterson from TCU seems harsh after 22 years. Boise State had a front row seat to the Horned Frogs’ rise to power, and vice-versa. TCU and the Broncos were 2-2 against each other during an intense series between 2003-11, with three of the meetings in bowl games. There was an automatic storyline for the Fort Worth Bowl on the Horned Frogs’ home field in 2003, as both Patterson and Boise State’s Dan Hawkins were “Davis guys,” having had a UC Davis background. The Broncos rallied past the Frogs 34-31 in a wild one in that first matchup.

The second game was in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl, with a different “Davis guy” showdown, as Chris Petersen was in his third season as Boise State coach. TCU won 17-16 during Kellen Moore’s freshman year. The Broncos got even in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl, winning 17-10 in a defensive grinder between two top 10 teams. And in 2011, it was a conference game. The Horned Frogs rallied past the Broncos 36-35 on the blue turf in TCU’s final season in the Mountain West. Not to mention that Patterson and TCU went to the Rose Bowl that seemed to be Boise State’s destiny after the 2010 season. The Broncos’ crushing loss at Nevada paved the way for the Frogs, who would beat Wisconsin in Pasadena.

WHAT’S IT MEAN FOR MCWEAPON?

First thought when news broke Monday of Derrick Henry’s impending foot surgery? Former Boise State star Jeremy McNichols is next in line for Tennessee. The reality? The Titans see McNichols as a role player, and they desperately sought an outsider to replace Henry. Looks like it’ll be 36-year-old Adrian Peterson, who should be activated in time for Sunday Night Football against the Rams. McNichols apparently will still be catching passes out if the backfield. He’s good at that, having made 21 receptions for 203 yards and a touchdown this season. Remember that McNichols came to Boise State in 2014 as a wide receiver and burned his redshirt year when Matt Miller was lost for the season with a knee injury. The Broncos knew McNichols could run the rock, and he did exactly that the following two seasons.

BRONCOS GET THE UPSET

Boise State was the last team in last week in the Mountain West Women’s Soccer Tournament. But the Broncos are sticking around following a first round upset of San Diego State Monday. Boise State’s Morgan Miles scored off a rebound in the 23rd minute, and it held up for a 1-0 victory at the Boas Soccer Complex. The Broncos advance to the semifinals to face second-seeded Fresno State, which had a first-round bye—that match will be Thursday afternoon.

THIS DAY IN SPORTS…November 2, 2016, five years ago today:

History would be made either way, but it’s the Chicago Cubs who end more than a century of futility, winning their first World Series since 1908 with an epic Game 7 victory over the Cleveland Indians. The finale saw the Cubs blow a three-run lead in the eighth inning, sending the game into extra innings tied 6-6. Then a 17-minute rain delay only prolonged the drama. Chicago scored twice in the 10th—then hung on for an 8-7 win, becoming the first team in 31 years to recover from a three games-to-one deficit in the World Series. Seven former Hawks in all appeared in the Series, six for the Cubs and one for the Indians. Cleveland still hasn’t won it all since 1948—now the longest drought in the majors.

(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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