Well, here’s what I wrote Friday in advance of Boise State’s Spring Game: “Pay no attention to Brett Rypien’s numbers tomorrow, whatever they may be, because the senior will just be getting courtesy work.” Wrong. Today we are paying attention to Rypien’s numbers, because he got five possessions on the blue turf Saturday and milked everything he could out of them. A 58-yard strike to Octavius Evans on the second snap of the day set the table for a 14-of-19, 267-yard, three-touchdown performance. Rypien looked like a guy very locked in on his senior year. Likewise, the Bronco wide receivers seemed to grasp the task at hand this season. Evans and A.J. Richardson both logged 100-yards games and two touchdowns on five catches apiece, while CT Thomas made four grabs for 89 yards and a TD.
Chase Cord is the obvious No. 2 quarterback for Boise State and was a closely-watched figure on Saturday. Cord started slowly against the Broncos’ No. 1 defense, throwing an interception to Tyler Horton that accounted for the only turnover of the day. The redshirt freshman ended up 7-of-10 for 67 yards and a touchdown, but the tantalizing play of the game was his 67-yard touchdown run on a bootleg. Cord sprinted around the right side and down the sideline untouched (we know he was untouched, because in the Spring Game the whistle blows any time a QB is touched). That dimension of Cord’s game could come into play in special situations this season. And it bodes well for a guy who is poised to be Boise State’s starter in 2019.
Boise State coaches wanted to see something from the ground game Saturday, even with Alexander Mattison on the shelf. The rushing attack had trouble getting untracked against a very good defense, be it first-team or second-team. Robert Mahone carries seven times for 26 yards, Drake Beasley had eight attempts for just 19 yards, and Skyler Siebold three for 13. There’s still some work to do at that spot.
The Boise State Athletics Hall of Fame is back after a special night Friday honoring the seven 2018 inductees. As the emcee (and thanks to the university for the opportunity), I’m surely biased. But the event had it all—emotion, humor and star power. I don’t think there’s any question that Kellen Moore is the most beloved student-athlete in Bronco history, and he received that type of reception from the sold-out crowd. Both publicly and privately, Kellen expresses a love for the city of Boise that makes you believe he may be headed back here one day. Former teammate Nate Potter talked about the incredible talent that surrounded him, making his left tackle job easy. Potter values being an Academic All-American as much as a “regular” All-American.
Golfer Graham DeLaet rattled off all the countries he has seen during his PGA Tour career, all while “bleeding blue.” And Paul J. Schneider? He was his classicly funny self (and he held it together really well). One of my takeaways from Friday night’s event was the effort the three track and field athletes inductees put into making it to town for the ceremony. All are settled in their home countries now—Abigail Ferguson in the Bahamas, Gabe Wallin in Sweden and Eleni Kafourou in Greece. It took a dedicated effort from them (and from the Boise State staff) to get to town for the event. That was one appreciative trio.
“My work is done here” is too simplistic an assessment, but Phil Beckner announced Friday he is leaving the Boise State basketball staff to seek new opportities. Many think that will be in the NBA, as he was almost Chandler Hutchison’s personal coach the past two seasons with the Broncos and was the key to the development of current Portland Trailblazers star Damian Lillard at Weber State. Mike Prater prequalified this as unconfirmed Friday, but he said there’s a rumor recently-fired Utah’s State coach Tim Duryea will take Beckner’s spot at Boise State.
I saw coach Leon Rice at the Spring Game Saturday. Rice was extremely upbeat despite Beckner’s departure. That might be because, unbeknownst to the rest of us, Rice had just received a commitment from junior college transfer forward Roderick Williams of East Los Angeles College. Williams’ height and weight vary according to different sources out there, but let’s settle on 6-6, 215 pounds. He is the first East LA player ever to win consecutive South Coast Conference Player of the Year awards. The one-time UTEP commit will have two years of eligibility remains with the Broncos. Williams fills the spot left open by the transfer of Casdon Jardine, who is reportedly headed to Utah Valley in the WAC.
The Idaho Steelheads could not have ended the regular season on more of a roll, winning nine of their final 10 games. But Friday night marked the beginning of the Kelly Cup Playoffs, and so far it’s going just like so many first rounds in the past for the Steelheads. Coach Neil Graham started goalie Philippe Desrosiers, newly reassigned from Texas of the AHL, in Game 1 only to see Allen win 3-2. That had people clamoring for Tomas Sholl, who had been nearly impenetrable since joining the Steelies in early March. But Sholl allowed four goals Saturday night in a 5-4 lossto the Americans, the first regulation defeat of his ECHL career. Idaho now has to win at least two of the next three games in Allen, TX, in order to get the series back to CenturyLink Arena next week.
It was the biggest home series of the baseball season for College of Idaho, and despite dropping three of four games to Lewis-Clark State, there were some redeeming moments for the Coyotes. C of I dedicated the completion of Phase 2 of Wolfe Stadium Friday before Game 1 against the Warriors. An on Saturday, the Yotes snapped a 13-game losing streak by beating the fourth-ranked Warriors 6-4 in the night cap of a doubleheader. LC State spoiled College of Idaho Senior Day yesterday with a 12-4 victory.
This Day In Sports…April 16, 2009:
An iconic sports building makes its debut, and an iconic sports figure bows out. The new Yankee Stadium opened, replacing the storied ballpark next door that had served the Bronx for 86 years. It didn’t go so well on the field, as the Cleveland Indians routed the Yanks, 10-2. And John Madden, the former Oakland Raiders coach who became arguably the most popular NFL color analyst of all-time, retired after 30 years in the broadcast booth. Madden made his mark working alongside Pat Summerall on CBS and Fox, then cemented his legacy working with Al Michaels on ABC Monday Night Football and NBC Sunday Night Football.
(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.)