Monday, October 23, 2017.
Just when fans are ready to throw in the towel on the Boise State offense, the Broncos figure things out again. The Broncos’ two-headed quarterback system, as much as it drives people crazy, got into something of a flow after halftime Saturday night, and the result was an important 24-14 win over Wyoming on the blue turf. Boise State managed just 118 total yards, 29 passing yards, and three points in the first half and trailed 7-3 at halftime. Then on the first possession of the third quarter, Brett Rypien was 6-of-8 for 39 yards, getting the Broncos down to the Cowboys 32-yard line. With Rypien in a rhythm, enter Montell Cozart? In the end, it was an epic 18-play, 71-yard drive that took 9:44 off the clock, capped by a four-yard Cozart touchdown run. So what can you say?
The next two Boise State drives scored touchdowns, too, with Rypien and Cozart rotating in and out. One ended with what appeared to be a four-yard touchdown pass from Rypien to Cozart, but it was ruled a lateral, and Cozart was credited with another four-yard TD run. He expressed disappointment after the game, not only because of the irony of the connection, but the fact it took away what would have been a passing-rushing-receiving touchdown trifecta for him. The switching of QB’s mid-drive did give Wyoming problems. “It’s tough because you don’t know what they’re going to do,” said Cowboys star safety Andrew Wingard, noting that the Pokes had to significantly change their defense when Cozart came in.
What to make of Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen after what we saw Saturday night? The Boise State defense harassed him into a 12-for-27 night that produced only 131 yards and one touchdown, with two interceptions. The TD was a 20-yard roll-out, back-foot bullet in the back of the end zone to Austin Fort, reminiscent of the dagger throw he made to Tanner Gentry a year ago to help beat the Broncos in Laramie. But other times there were plays that Gentry may have made—that Allen’s current crew of wideouts didn’t. On the other hand, Allen wasn’t particularly accurate. So are his struggles due to a lack of true potential or the lack of a supporting cast? Probably more of the latter. Allen is still an NFL-worthy quarterback. Just not a No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
Utah State is next up. You never know what you’re going to get from the Aggies this season. After two straight losses, the Aggies exploded for 578 yards of total offense in a 52-28 win at UNLV Saturday. The Aggies did it by replacing starting quarterback Kent Myers with redshirt freshman Jordan Love, who threw for 316 yards and touchdowns covering 70 and 75 yards. USU was unpredictable two years ago as well. Nobody needs to remind Boise State of that. Do you think that game’s going to come up this week?
The West Division race in the Mountain West has been turned inside out the last two weeks. Boise State’s 31-14 drilling of San Diego State was one thing, but the Aztecs were expected to bounce back with a victory over Fresno State and win out from there to take the division title, something they were unanimously picked to do. But the resurgent Bulldogs, who went 1-11 last year, had other intentions and dominated San Diego State 27-3 Saturday night. Fresno State is now 4-0 in conference, while SDSU is 2-2. That means the Aztecs will have to win all the rest of their games and hope the Bulldogs lose three of their last four contests. San Diego State’s two-year reign on top of the Mountain West is all but over.
Defense had been the constant this season for Idaho—until it arrived at Missouri on Saturday. In a dizzying first half, the Tigers roared out to a 51-14 lead and had a staggering 465 yards at the break on the way to a 68-21 romp over the Vandals. A normally tight Idaho secondary was torched for 475 yards and six touchdowns, with Mizzou quarterback Drew Lock going deep early and often and averaging 20 yards per completion. The Tigers did their damage without leading rusher Damarea Crockett, the one-time Boise State commit. Crockett injured his shoulder the previous week against Georgia, and a timeline for his return is to be determined.
Turnovers and sacks will derail a high-flying offense every time, and so it was for College of Idaho at Southern Oregon Saturday. The undefeated Raiders sacked Coyotes quarterback Darius-James Peterson a stunning 11 times and collected five Yotes turnovers in a 36-7 victory. The Yotes coughed it up on five of their first six possessions and never had a chance. In Pocatello, the story was different. Idaho State evened its record at 4-4 by trampling winless Portland State 59-30 in Holt Arena. The Bengals amassed 691 yards of total offense while scoring their most points against an FCS foe since 1980. ISU quarterback Tanner Gueller threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 23 yards per completion.
The Boise State men's basketball team’s fifth annual Blue & Orange open scrimmage preceding the Wyoming game Saturday was a success by all accounts. Preseason Mountain West Player of the Year Chandler Hutchison led the Broncos with 15 points on 6-for-14 shooting in the specially-formatted event. Now Boise State gets a surprise bonus—a charity exhibition game Wednesday night against Portland State in Taco Bell Arena. There are lots of these popping up around the country in an effort to help with hurricane, flood and wildfire disaster relief. The game will tip off at 6:30 with general admission seating, and donations will be accepted at the door.
The local pro wrap—the Utah Grizzlies limped back into CenturyLink Arena early Friday night, and left their home arena with their chests puffed out at the end of the night Saturday. After dropping a 3-1 decision to the Idaho Steelheads last Wednesday, the winless Grizzlies scored twice in the first 50 seconds of the game Friday—then held on for a 4-3 overtime victory. The first period was all the Grizzlies needed Saturday in West Valley City, with three goals holding up in a 3-0 shutout. Idaho is now 2-2-1 on the young season. And Graham DeLaet withdrew from the CJ Cup in South Korea after shooting an eight-over 80 in Friday’s second round. DeLaet’s perennially painful back was the culprit—it’s the former Boise State star’s seventh career mid-tournament withdrawal.
This Day In Sports…October 23, 1976:
In a 45-0 defeat of Navy in Annapolis, Pittsburgh running back Tony Dorsett breaks the all-time college rushing record of Ohio State’s two-time Heisman Trophy winner, Archie Griffin. Dorsett eclipsed the mark on a 32-yard touchdown run. On the day, Dorsett would also become the first player ever to run for over 1,000 in four different seasons. He’d go on to total 6,082 career rushing yards and would win the Heisman himself later that year. Dorsett’s record was later broken by Ricky Williams and Ron Dayne—and it’s now held by former San Diego State star Donnel Pumphrey with 6,405 yards.
(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.)