Monday, August 14, 2017.
Maybe the Boise State running game will settle into the expected 19 days from now, with Alexander Mattison starting and Ryan Wolpin and Robert Mahone backing him up. But this is fall camp, and speculation is a favorite pastime. After last Thursday night’s scrimmage, coach Bryan Harsin didn’t mention Mattison, gave some props to Wolpin and Mahone, and waxed eloquent about Drake Beasley, the true freshman who didn’t play his senior season in high school last year because of a transfer eligibility issue. “When you watch him run, he can slither his way through there,” said Harsin of Beasley. (In running back terms, that was eloquent.) In the end, the pecking order may remain what it originally was, but the possibility of a committee approach this season is clearly there.
This Boise State committee will have to display a variety of skills. Jeremy McNichols had them all the past two seasons. “Jeremy’s different than a lot of running backs we’ve had because of how we could use him as a wide receiver,” said Harsin. Witness the 76-yard touchdown catch McNichols had to open the win over BYU last October. Mattison’s receiving ability may yet set him apart on this committee. Later in that same game against the Cougars last fall, Mattison made what he called his favorite play of his true freshman season. He created some yards-after-catch, gaining 15 yards after mowing down BYU star linebacker Fred Warner, who otherwise had a monster game against the Broncos.
Jeff Caves had a good idea Friday on Idaho SportsTalk. He suggested Boise State release the practice footage of a Cedrick Wilson catch that Harsin called maybe the greatest catch he’s ever seen Thursday night in the scrimmage. If it was that good, it’ll go viral—and maybe sell a few more season tickets. Heck, the Broncos could use it in a TV commercial. As Wilson enters his senior year with the highest of expectations, think about how he arrived at Boise State. He was a 6-3 wide receiver out of Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. Wilson was, in effect, slated to replace 5-6 Shane Williams-Rhodes in the starting lineup alongside Thomas Sperbeck and Chaz Anderson. Williams-Rhodes had his.own set of skills, but Wilson brought in a new dynamic. Now, is Boise State set to replace Sperbeck and Anderson?
Kellen Moore's second preseason start wasn’t like the first, as the former Boise State great went just 8-of-19 for 69 yards in the Dallas Cowboys’ 13-10 win over the Rams in the L.A. Coliseum Saturday night. Cowboys fans didn’t take kindly to the performance on social media, spewing the same old doubts about Moore. And, of course, there are calls for Cooper Rush to be Dak Prescott’s backup. Rush completed his first eight throws and was 9-of-11 for 104 yards with a nice 25-yard touchdown strike to Rico Gathers. So we are left to know what we know about Kellen—his unmatched knowledge of the Dallas offense and the fact that his showing in the Hall of Fame Game August 3 is a lot closer to the truth. And that the Cowboys coaching staff realizes that. Rush played really well, but the popcorn’s not popping yet.
Bronco Nation eyes were also on the Tampa Bay box score Saturday night. Doug Martin, with three regular-season games still left on his NFL suspension, is trying to re-prove himself to the Buccaneers and carried four times for 11 yards on the opening drive of a 23-12 loss to Cincinnati. McNichols, the Bucs’ fifth-round draft pick this spring, logged 12 yards on two carries in his NFL preseason debut. Not too many conclusions to be drawn yet.
It was Graham DeLaet’s seventh career major, and a big weekend led to his best result ever in one of golf’s premier events. The former Boise State star carded a three-under 68 on Saturday that included back-to-back eagles on the back nine. In fact, DeLaet almost aced the par-four 14th at Quail Hollow. He then shot a two-under 69 in the final round to finish seventh, earning $317,500 and automatically qualifying for next year’s PGA Championship. Meanwhile, Boise State sophomore golfer Brian Humphreys opens play today at the US Amateur Championship in Los Angeles. Humphreys, the defending Mountain West individual champion, earned his spot by winning the Sectional Qualifier in Medford June 24.
The Boise Hawks had their four-game winning streak squashed last night in a 9-5 loss to the Everett AquaSox at Memorial Stadium. The high point of the weekend came Saturday night, when the Hawks rallied from a 9-5 eighth-inning deficit to win 11-10 in the 10th on a walk-off RBI single by JB Moss. Boise hit four home runs on the night, two of them in the ninth, and one of those off the bat of Luis Castro with two outs to tie it up.
That Brazil routed the USA 5-1 in the indoor soccer international friendly Friday night in Boise was secondary. The big story was that the game sold out CenturyLink Arena, and the atmosphere was said to be electric. Proponents of a USL minor league franchise that would play in a new Hawks stadium planned for Americana Blvd. and Shoreline Drive have to be encouraged, even as influential opposition to the building of the facility has materialized. Elsewhere, former Boise State standout Kurt Felix, competing for Grenada, finished seventh in the decathlon at the World Track and Field Championships Saturday in London. It was Felix’s best result ever in a world event (World Championships or Olympics).
This Day In Sports… August 14, 1977, 40 years ago today:
In the PGA Championship at Pebble Beach, Lanny Wadkins and Gene Littler are tied at the end of regulation and go into sudden death. On the first hole, each guy got a four. On the second hole, same thing. Wadkins birdied the third hole, while Littler parred it—and Wadkins won the only major of his career. Littler’s only victory in a major had come 16 years before: in the 1961 U.S. Open.
(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.)