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Scott Slant: Jonah’s kick gets into rarified air

It was a record that had stood for 38 years, since Boise State’s turf was green. But Jonah Dalmas equaled it—and made a little more history to boot.
Credit: Boise State University Athletics
Boise State’s Jonah Dalmas lines up before making a school-record 56-yard field goal against UCF at Albertsons Stadium , Sat., Sept. 2, 2023.

BOISE, Idaho — Boise State kicker Jonah Dalmas and his good buddy Colton Boomer of UCF appear to have made some college football history. Rod Couch, an irrepressible researcher who used to do a lot of work for BroncoCountry.com, wanted to know if two opponents had ever each made field goals of 55 yards or more in the same game. As you know, Dalmas tied the Broncos’ school record with a 56-yarder Saturday night, and Boomer boomed one of his four field goals from 55 yards out. Well, Rod found that in 2017, Lucas Havrisik of Arizona connected from 57 yards and Washington State’s Erik Powell hit from 56. And in 1977, legendary Texas kicker Russell Erxleben made a 58-yard field goal, only to be one-upped by Steve Little of Arkansas from 67 yards away. And that’s it. Dalmas and Boomer are only the third duo ever to do that.


Boise State had to go without Taylen Green the last quarter-and-a-half against UCF. Backup quarterback Maddux Madsen gutted it out with the clutch 28-yard touchdown pass to Stefan Cobbs in the final two minutes that brought the house down. But the Broncos need Green, and coach Andy Avalos said Monday, "He'll be ready to roll this week.” Avalos indicated Green was dealing with cramps, and I’m not going to doubt that—as hot as it was on the field last Saturday. At least we know Boise State won’t have to hesitate to put Maddux in if need be this week against North Dakota.

Hopefully it won’t be because Green is ineffective, because it’s been a tough start for the sophomore star. He’s completing just 48 percent of his throws with one TD against three interceptions. Green’s pass efficiency rating is only 105.5, which falls in the “bad” category. And where would his 388 passing yards be without Ashton Jeanty? Of Jeanty’s 206 receiving yards, 199 have been after the catch. Green is in need of a confidence-builder.


Last Saturday’s 18-16 UCF win over Boise State was a classic example of letting’ a team hang around. The Knights rolled up a staggering 170 yards of offense in the first quarter and had just three points to show for it. The Broncos were hanging’ around at halftime when they still led 10-9, which was the score at the end of the third quarter, too. The Knights were going through Boise State like a knife through butter, yet there it was, a deficit of only five points when the Broncos got the ball at their own 25 with 7:55 left and backup Madsen at the helm. And then the lead with 1:49 remaining. Kudos to the Broncos for hanging around. But Boise State was very fortunate to be in that spot. Here’s the bottom line right now: the Broncos are fourth-to-last in the country in yards allowed per game at 548.


Rather than lock in on the gut-punch aspects of Boise State’s last-second loss, let’s focus on the crowd. Attendance was 36,447, a full house based on tickets distributed, and here’s to the fans who gave the Broncos a homefield advantage they could only partially cash in on. The majority stayed until the end, and it was an incredible finish despite the home team’s defense being overwhelmed. The noise was as good as it gets, especially from Cobbs’ touchdown catch through the Knights field goal that ended it. Now the challenge: can Bronco Nation show up 1) at 10:00 in the morning, 2) after a loss, and 3) to see an FCS opponent—no matter how good it is. It looks promising, actually, as more than 32,000 tickets are already out for the game.


The Boise State offense hasn’t been able to score enough points to compensate for the trials and tribulations of the defense, even with the gifts they received Saturday night. The Broncos would have needed only three more points after two probable UCF touchdowns were wiped out by tip-drill interceptions. But one guy not to blame is Jeanty, who has had a tremendous start to the 2023 season. After accounting for the Broncos’ only two touchdowns at Washington, he got the third with his 38-yard reception from Green in the first quarter. Jeanty rushed for 115 yards and had 97 receiving, coming within three yards of becoming only the sixth Bronco ever to notch 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same game. Jeanty is currently second in the nation in yards from scrimmage at 182.5 per game.


Before the season, there were concerns that George Holani would make it through Boise State’s schedule uninjured—only because he’s been nicked at least once the last three seasons. And with that came intrigue, as Breezy Dubar joined the program as a true freshman. Would the Broncos play Dubar this year? Would the one-two punch end up being Ashton Jeanty and Breezy Dubar? We don’t know the answer to that latter question, but Boise State did dust off Dubar in Game 2. He peeled off six yards on the first carry of his career in the third quarter against UCF last Saturday, and on the next possession he busted off a 24-yard run. Dubar has the look. He stands 6-1 and virtually towers over the rest of the running backs room. Dubar could still redshirt if he plays four regular season games or less.


Usually when Boise State faces an FCS school, we go all Lou Holtz on you and try to build them up. After all, the Broncos are 11-0 versus FCS teams in the 21st century, with an average margin of 37 points. But Saturday morning’s “Breakfast With The Broncos” is no appetizer. The Broncos are going to have to bring it to win this game. The fact that they’re near the bottom of the FBS in total defense plays right into North Dakota’s strengths. You’ve probably heard by now that the Fighting Hawks are tops in the FCS in total offense at 545 yards per game—right around what Boise State is yielding. They’re scoring 46 points per game and are averaging 331 yards through the air. North Dakota has a quarterback, Tommy Schuster, who’s completing almost 77 percent of his throws. That’s genuinely scary.


As fans bemoaned Boise State’s defensive performance after the loss to UCF, one posted this on social media: “We could be Nevada.” The Wolf Pack, of course, was routed 33-6 by Idaho in Mackay Stadium Saturday night. Better yet, though, the fan could have said, “We could be Nevada’s secondary.” As much as the Broncos were torched by the Knights’ John Rhys Plumlee, the Pack had it worse against the Vandals’ Gevani McCoy. Let’s do the math. McCoy was 15-of-21 with two touchdowns, which is solid in its own right. But he opened the game with a 75-yard TD to Turon Ivy Jr. and threw for 313 yards all told. That’s just under 21 yards per completion. McCoy and Idaho have to tackle Cal in Berkeley this week. Who knows? Now, if Boise State doesn’t want to be Nevada, the Broncos have to beat their FCS opponent Saturday.


Fresno State can tell you all about facing FCS foes. The Bulldogs have won 12 games in a row, the second-longest winning streak in the country next to Georgia’s 19. But the last win in the run was 34-31 in double-overtime last Saturday night against Eastern Washington before a sellout crowd in Bulldog Stadium. And that came after a road win at Purdue. Ye shall take nothing for granted. Fresno State plays at Arizona State this Saturday. There are some big ones in the Mountain West this week—Wyoming at Texas, San Diego State at Oregon State, Hawaii at Oregon. But Colorado State will have more eyeballs on it than at any time in its history. The Rams play Coach Prime and Colorado in the Rocky Mountain Showdown Saturday in Boulder. The Buffs are favored by 22½ points. (That’s not enough.)


College of Idaho is on a massive high after the way last Saturday’s game against Montana Western ended. Hopefully you’ve seen it: a mass of Coyotes and Bulldogs going up for Andy Peters’ Hail Mary—and tipping it right to C of I’s Jon Schofield, trailing the play in the end zone. The days since have been fun for the Yotes, too, as they’re No. 8 in the first regular-season NAIA Coaches Poll of the season with their 3-0 record. And Peters is Frontier Conference Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for 335 yards and rushing for 103 in the dramatic win. The Yotes now have a bye week to enjoy it all.


When we left off with the Boise Hawks last week, they needed to sweep their final series of the season—on the road—to notch a winning season. The Hawks did just that, taking three games from the Great Falls Voyagers (and ending with a four-game winning streak) to finish 49-47. It has to feel good for manager Gary Van Tol and crew after last year’s 30-46 record. The Hawks also averaged 3,395 at the gate. That has to feel good for general manager Mike Van Hise.

THIS DAY IN SPORTS…September 13, 2013, 10 years ago today:

Boise State breaks a 30-year-old FBS record for completion percentage in a game, going 29-of-31 in a 42-20 win over Air Force at Bronco Stadium. The 93.5 percent clip eclipsed the old mark set by UCLA against Washington in 1983. Quarterback Joe Southwick was 27-of-29 for 93.1 percent, breaking the Boise State school record. Backup Grant Hedrick was 2-of-2. As a sidebar, sophomore tailback Jay Ajayi notched the first four-touchdown game of his career in the Mountain West victory.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.) 

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