Tuesday, August 30, 2016.
Last week’s news out of Louisiana-Lafayette was the naming of former LSU Tiger Anthony Jennings as starting quarterback. We’ll know in four days how significant that is. Because Jennings will not be the focus of the Ragin’ Cajuns offense. That role belongs to running back Elijah McGuire, who has been generating buzz for the 2017 NFL Draft for some time. McGuire has 3,185 career rushing yards going into his senior season, including back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns. ULL intends to find out quickly whether the rebuilt Boise State defensive line has what it takes Saturday morning. And if the Broncos lose track of McGuire, he’ll burn them through the air. He has 100 career receptions for 1,145 yards. The Cajuns will line him up all over the place.
McGuire scored Louisiana-Lafayette’s only touchdown, a seven-yard run, in a 34-9 loss to Boise State on the blue turf two years ago. The Ragin’ Cajuns could not run on Boise State that night—they only tried 23 times, and McGuire netted just 31 yards on even carries. ULL had star quarterback Terrance Broadway throw 38 times, and half of his 20 completions went to McGuire for 106 yards. He was the Ragin’ Cajuns’ weapon, and he still is. And Cajun Field and its steamy air is his comfort zone.
Either there’s a lot of bad information out there (which is possible), or Boise State’s quest for consideration for Big 12 membership is over before it began. Over the weekend, the Dallas Morning News “broke” the story that “all the video chats with the Big 12's ‘Interview 20’ are completed, and now the conference is getting closer to the hard decisions about expansion.” Well, Bronco athletic director Curt Apsey said yesterday that BSU has not made a presentation—video, in-person or otherwise—to the Big 12. And Boise State is one of the Invited 20. The wise ones among us are mentally moving on from this Big 12 thing.
Apsey said yesterday Boise State is at about 93 percent of goal in football season ticket sales, with the number currently over 19,500 with 11 days left until the home opener against Washington State. It appears the Broncos will end up down this year—last year 21,421 season tickets were sold. There’s a lot of optimism about this year’s team, and it has star power again with Brett Rypien. It’s pretty easy to point to late kickoff times as the culprit in the erosion of ticket sales, and there’s nothing Boise State can do about it. Bronco games have become placeholders on network programming grids, and it always seems there's a slot to fill at 10:15 p.m. Eastern time.
KTVB reports that College of Idaho coach Mike Moroski, who once thought he’d wait until Opening Day to name his starting quarterback, has settled on Boise High grad Tyler Cox as his signal-caller. And former Centennial Patriot Michael Blackwood-Kirby will be the Coyotes’ starting running back. The Yotes begin the season Saturday in Simplot Stadium against Montana Western, who will have to feel things out early on with the C of I offense. Cox threw one pass last year, completing it for 21 yards. Blackwood-Kirby is new to Caldwell after two seasons as a special teams player at Utah.
As an American, Colin Kaepernick has the right to say what he wants about America. As fellow Americans, we have the right to agree or disagree. But what an odd time for Kaepernick to refuse to stand for the national anthem and blame it on U.S. oppression of minorities. With NBA athletes (in particular) asking that as a people we work together constructively for change—and coming after an inspiring American effort by people of all color in the Rio Olympics—Kaepernick’s timing was horrible. I like former Nevada coach Chris Ault’s letter in the Reno Gazette-Journal, which said, “You never lead by sitting down–during the national anthem or anywhere–so for me it’s not the message that’s troubling, it’s the platform and the way it was delivered.”
What has happened to this guy? Longtime Nevada broadcaster Don Marchand was a guest on KTIK’s Morning Grind yesterday and told Ian Johnson and Jake Hamar that Kaepernick is an entirely different person since he became a San Francisco 49er and starting making massive amounts of money. I can tell you he was an open, engaging guy when Nevada played Maryland in the 2008 Humanitarian Bowl. I emceed the Fellowship of Christian Athletes breakfast the day before the game, and Kaepernick represented the Wolf Pack as a guest speaker. A hall full of youngsters and their parents gathered at the Boise Centre on the Grove and were inspired by Kaepernick’s talk.
The Turk is making his rounds now in NFL training camps, as teams have to pare their rosters to 75 players by 2 p.m. today (Mountain time). The first casualty among local ties is Washington running back Kelsey Young, the graduate transfer from Stanford who spent his senior season backing up Jeremy McNichols at Boise State. Four other former Broncos who are in camps as undrafted free agents are holding their collective breath.
The Boise Hawks were trudging along with just four hits and a were facing a 3-1 deficit in the eighth inning against Everett last night. Two walks, a balk, a hit-by-pitch and three singles later, the Hawks had scored four runs and had forged a 5-3 lead—and that’s how it ended. The eventual winning runs came home on a two-run single to center by Willie Abreu, who now has 35 RBIs this summer. The Hawks and AquaSox meet again tonight—just four home games remain this season.
Pat McCurry resigned earlier this summer as head track and field coach at College of Idaho after 12 successful years. We now know his destination. The Boise State distance program should grow only stronger now, as McCurry has joined Corey Ihmels’ Bronco staff as an assistant coach. McCurry will not only oversee the middle-distance group and the cross country team, he’ll also work with the throwers and vertical jumpers. He resurrected the C of I program in 2004 after a 27-year hiatus and turned it into one of the most respected squads in the NAIA. The Coyotes have won the last four Cascade Conference women’s championships. McCurry (a one-time Race To Robie Creek champ) helped Yotes star Hillary Holt to nine individual NAIA national titles between cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field.
It’ll be all Utah Grizzlies all the time in October for the Idaho Steelheads. Not only do the familiar foes play the first four games of the 2016-17 season against each other, they’ll play their usual home-and-home exhibition series October 10-11. The Monday night tussle will be at the Utah Olympic Oval, with the Tuesday night game back in Boise at CenturyLink Arena and will serve as the Steelheads’ annual “Season Ticket Holders Only” event. The Steelies were 10-2-1 versus the Grizzlies last season.
This Day In Sports…August 30, 2002:
For the first time in nine tries, major league players and owners reach a collective bargaining agreement without a work stoppage. The deal was announced just hours before the deadline for a players strike, which would likely had wiped out the 2002 World Series (at least). There was a sense of desperation this time, because a majority fans across the country were prepared to abandon big league baseball forever had the players walked.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)