Thursday, September 7, 2017.
How did Luke Falk ever get out of Logan, UT, as a walk-on quarterback in 2013? He was 6-4 back then, too, wasn’t he? Here Falk is as a senior at Washington State, the nation’s active leader in career passing yards with 11,204 and touchdown passes with 92 (that’s also a new Cougars record). He’s 24 TD passes away from Matt Barkley’s Pac-12 record of 116. If Falk stays healthy this season, that one’s goin’ down, too. He needs 101 yards against Boise State Saturday night to become Wazzu’s career leader in that category. If Falk doesn’t get that in the first half, it’ll mean the Bronco defense is playing out of its mind. He threw for 480 yards in the loss on the blue turf last September. Falk started the season by going a perfect 20-for-20 in the first half last week. Yes, it was versus Montana State—but that’s pretty good against air.
GAME DAY GUIDE: Boise State vs. Washington State
Falk is proud to be a former walk-on, and he’s doing something to help guys in that financial boat. His sister, Alexa, is a Nashville-based musician, and she’s created Washington State’s pump-up song for Martin Stadium this year. Alexa Shea Falk-Johns has written a Cougars-themed song called “Claws Are Out,” and it sounds pretty good. According to the Seattle Times, she and Luke hope the song will raise money for an endowment they want to start for future WSU football walk-ons. They’ve set up a GoFundMe page to get it going.
After the way the Washington State offensive line played last Saturday, depth on the defensive line would certainly be an asset for Boise State at Martin Stadium Saturday night. That was something the Broncos didn’t have as the season progressed in 2016. But defensive line coach Steve Caldwell was able to use two full sets of D-linemen against Troy, and there didn’t appear to be a drop-off with Curtis Weaver, Daniel Auelua, Emanuel Fesili and Chase Hatada in the game. In fact, Weaver, the redshirt freshman STUD end, was a man-child out there, recording the first two sacks of his career. The stalwart among the starters was the guy who plays ahead of Weaver, Sam Whitney, who had a sack and forced fumble during Troy’s last gasp at the end of the game.
Three head coaches with Boise State ties made their debuts last Saturday. Former Bronco coach Dan Hawkins had the task of facing San Diego State on the road, and his UC Davis Aggies fell 38-17. The Aztecs’ Rashaad Penny lived up to his billing by rushing for 197 yards. One-time Boise State defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, who wasn’t named head coach at Cal until mid-January, got a huge win when the Bears defeated North Carolina 35-30 in Chapel Hill with a quarterback who had never thrown a pass in a college game. Ross Bowers threw for 363 yards and four touchdowns. And former Bronco quarterback and offensive coordinator Mike Sanford Jr., all of 35 years old, debuted at two-time defending Conference USA champion Western Kentucky with a 31-17 win over Eastern Kentucky.
More from the ol’ college gridiron: the Mountain West’s first-ever Facebook telecast drew 509,000 total viewers for last Saturday’s San Diego State win over UC Davis. The second Facebook venture will be tonight when Utah State hosts Idaho State. Expect both teams to turn the tables from last week—the Aggies in a good way after a 59-10 win at Wisconsin, and the Bengals in a not-so-good way after a 37-6 victory over Western Oregon. Here in the valley, College of Idaho is relishing the friendly confines of Simplot Stadium this week after two losses on the road. The Coyotes play their home opener Saturday against Southern Oregon, and they’ll have more fans in the stands than they saw last week at Northern Colorado, an FCS school. There were only 3,547 fans in Greeley.
Former Boise State stars Orlando Scandrick and Tyrone Crawford were named Dallas Cowboys defense captains yesterday after a team vote. For Scandrick, it’s a full-circle accomplishment for a guy who spent a little time in the doghouse at BSU and slipped to the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft due to questions about his character. Scandrick was suspended the first four games of the 2014 season for violating the NFL’s drug policy. Now he’s settling into his 10th season with the Cowboys. “I’m just going to do what I do best and be myself,” said Scandrick. “Being myself got me selected as a captain; being myself got me here. Everybody thinks being captains is about being a rah-rah guy, but if you go out and you lead by example and you do things the right way, people know how it’s done.”
You have to see this. It comes from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. As you can imagine, the paper was all over the news that former Green Bay Packers star and Idaho alum Jerry Kramer was back in the Hall of Fame conversation a couple weeks ago. But how about this: “Correction. A story in Friday’s Journal Sentinel on Jerry Kramer being nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame incorrectly named Ringo Starr as a center for the Packers instead of Jim Ringo.” LOL.
Other local notes: the Idaho Steelheads will carry on with their usual preseason routine a month from now, playing a pair of exhibition games against the Utah Grizzlies before the season opens. The teams will face off in West Valley City on Friday, October 6, and in Boise at CenturyLink Arena the following night. And Idaho and Idaho State have created a year-long “Battle of the Domes” trophy for the next three years. The schools will accrue points from competition in men's basketball, women's basketball, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball this fall and winter. Football will be added in 2018 when the Vandals and Bengals resume their series in the Big Sky.
This Day In Sports…September 7, 2006:
Indisputably the best performance ever by a Boise State running back, as sophomore Ian Johnson gains 240 yards and ties a school record with five touchdowns in a 42-14 rout of Oregon State at Bronco Stadium. Johnson was named Division I-A Offensive Player of the Week after his nationally-televised effort, which is a perfect word for it. He not only had scoring runs of 59 and 50 yards, he continually broke tackles and dragged Beaver players along for the ride. It was an exclamation point to Boise State’s celebration of its 20th anniversary on the blue turf.
(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.)