08 Jan 2019

Jake Plummer: ‘The Snake’ goes from Hill Road to the Hall

08 Jan 2019

Just over 22 years after his storied career at Arizona State ended, Capital High grad Jake Plummer has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. That’s quite a journey for a guy who says he learned how to evade defensive linmen by dodging nerf balls thrown by his brothers while jumping on his backyard trampoline on Hill Road. Plummer’s redshirt year was burned early in the 1993 season with the Sun Devils, and by the time he was a senior, he had led ASU to an undefeated regular season and a spot opposite Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. Plummer, the 1996 Pac-10 Player of the Year, nearly took the Sun Devils to the top before falling to the Buckeyes 20-17. After that, of course, came his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos.

“Really floored, actually,” Plummer said yesterday on Idaho SportsTalk when asked about his reaction. “Just looking at the great players on the list, I didn’t think it would actually happen.” He thanked, among other people, his coaches at Capital, Tom Swindell and Steve Vogel. By my count, Plummer is only the third Idaho high school graduate in the College Hall, joining the late Randy Trautman, the former Boise State and Caldwell High standout, and John Friesz, the Idaho Vandal and Coeur d’Alene High legend. Plummer’s official induction will happen December 10 during the National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner in New York.

Also elected into the College Football Hall of Fame is Dennis Erickson, who got his head coaching start at Idaho in 1982. Erickson established his pedigree in his first four-year stay with the Vandals, winning the 1985 Big Sky championship, advancing to the Division I-AA Playoffs twice, and beginning Idaho’s infamous 12-year winning streak over Boise State. Erickson then moved on to Wyoming, Washington State and Miami, where he won two national titles. He later wove NFL stops at Seattle and San Francisco in with Oregon State, a one-year return to Idaho, and Arizona State. The final game of his college head coaching career came in the 2011 Las Vegas Bowl, a 56-24 ASU loss to the Broncos in what was also Kellen Moore’s finale as a player.

BRONCOS HOLD STEADY – AND GET LEAPFROGGED

What in the world would voters do with Boise State in the final polls after the First Responder Bowl was cancelled two weeks ago? Since nothing happened, how about nothing? We found out after Clemson crushed Alabama 44-16 in the CFP championship game that the Broncos stayed at No. 23 in the final AP Poll. And in a nice little table-setter for the 2019 season, Utah State was ranked No. 22 and Fresno State No. 19. Boise State went into the bowl season at No. 23 in AP and No. 24 on the Coaches list—the Coaches Poll comes out this morning. The Broncos have thus finished the season in the Top 25 in 12 of the previous 17 years. They ended up at No. 22 in both polls in 2017.

The past several years, Boise State has been a regular entry in the “Way Too Early Top 25” rankings. That’s unlikely to be the case this year. Athlon’s list was the first one out, and the Broncos are in the “other teams to watch” category (although they’re the only ones from the Mountain West to appear anywhere). You can imagine what the party line is going to be on Boise State. Writes Athlon’s Steve Lassan: “The Broncos have to replace the prolific duo of quarterback Brett Rypien and running back Alexander Mattison next fall, a task only made tougher with a schedule that features a matchup against Florida State to open the year. A defense that held teams to 22.1 points a game will be the strength of coach Bryan Harsin’s program in 2019.” Way too early to say that.

BOISE STATE IS 7-8, BUT…

It’s already Mountain West midweek bye time for Boise State men’s basketball, with the next test for the Broncos coming up Saturday afternoon at San Jose State. It may seem like getting the ball to go in the hoop has sometimes been like pulling teeth for the Broncos in this uneven season, but they did shoot 57 percent in rolling up their 88 points against San Diego State Saturday night. Now you check out conference stats, and Boise State is No. 1 in shooting percentage at 47.3 percent. And it’s a team thing—there’s only one Bronco in the top 10 in the MW individually, RJ Williams at 56 percent. David Wacker is shooting 61 percent and Zach Haney 59 percent, but neither has enough attempts to qualify.

Nevada paid the price yesterday for its 85-58 drubbing at the hands of New Mexico Saturday night in Albuquerque, but not a steep one as some predicted. The Wolf Pack dropped from No. 6 in both rankings to No. 10 in the AP Poll and No. 11 in the Coaches Poll. That’s good for the Mountain West, considering Nevada is one of only three Top 25 teams without a “Quad 1” win (over opponents ranked Nos. 1-30 at home, 1-50 on a neutral court, and 1-75 on the road). Utah State is the only other top 75 team in the conference, with an NCAA RPI rating at No. 48—Nevada’s win over the Aggies came in Reno. Predictions that the Pack would roll through the regular season undefeated were, um, premature.

The Northwest Nazarene men are contenders this year, and Adonis Arms has been a catalyst. Arms, NNU’s junior guard from Milwaukee, has been named Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Week after combining for 43 points, nine rebounds, nine assists, five steals and three blocks in Nighthawks wins over Central Washington and Montana State Billings last week. Arms currently leads the conference with 21.2 points and 2.6 steals per game. NNU, 8-2 and tied for first in the GNAC, hosts Western Washington Thursday night in Nampa as part of a doubleheader with the Nighthawk women. And the latter group is worth mentioning, as it is undefeated at 12-0.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by CLEARVIEW CLEANING…where green really means green.

January 8, 2009, 10 years ago today: Tim Tebow leads Florida to a 24-14 victory over fellow Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford and Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship Game in Miami. Tebow was 18-of-30 for 231 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for an additional 109 yards. Bradford finished 26-of-41 for 256 yards and two TDs. Each quarterback threw two interceptions. It was the Gators’ second national title in their fourth season under coach Urban Meyer.

(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.)

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