With NFL training camps opening, there are 22 Boise State products on NFL rosters. Four of them are running backs, and that’s the most intriguing position involving former Broncos right now. Doug Martin started this parade of Boise State rushers into the NFL when he was drafted in the first round by Tampa Bay in 2012. Martin is hanging on, prepping for his second season with the Oakland Raiders. Next came Jay Ajayi, a free agent who is still looking for a team after not being re-signed by Philadelphia. Jeremy McNichols, criticized for not sufficiently grasping playbooks, has another chance with Tennessee. It’s his fifth NFL team in the past two-plus years. The flag-bearer now is Alexander Mattison, Minnesota’s third-round pick this year. Who’s to say he won’t be the most successful back of the bunch?
You seldom see all four Boise State stars stacked up next to each other statistically. It’s kind of eye-popping. We’ll go chronologically with their career totals (rushing only). Martin: 3,431 yards, 43 touchdowns. Ajayi: 3,796 yards, 50 touchdowns. McNichols: 3,205 yards, 44 TDs. Mattison: 2,829 yards, 33 TDs. The one trend that Mattison has to buck is sleepy Septembers. For purposes of this discussion, we’ll take out the pinball numbers from last year’s rout of UConn. In non-UConn games in September, Mattison averaged just 139 yards per month with four yards per carry and a total of five touchdowns. Methinks he’ll snap out of that with the Vikings.
This comes with help from Mark Snider, Scott Slant reader and former Idaho Stampede play-by-play man. It’s more background on “Gold Yeller,” who created the 2007 Fiesta Bowl Lego video. His name is Jared Jacobs, and yes, he lives in Boise. “He’s originally from Calgary,” Snider said. “He used to be an intern with the Steelheads, and he still works with the team. He even does some color for them on the radio. Jared has quit his fulltime job, and now does the Lego stop-action videos as his job. He produces these videos out of his apartment in Boise. Pretty interesting how he’s carved out a career for himself—enough to support his family (he and his wife have 3 kids!).”
Jacobs has worked with the PGA Tour and the Big-10 Network, and—this spring—a number of NBA teams. He Lego-animated Damon Lillard’s dramatic three-pointer for Portland to eliminate Oklahoma City. Then he recreated Kawhi Leonard’s incredible four-bounce-on-the-rim buzzer-beater by Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard that finished off Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Jacobs was then pulled in by the Golden State Warriors during the NBA Finals. He did some great stuff. The Warriors surely wish they could have given Jacobs an iconic moment of their own, though.
VEGAS MADNESS TO CONTINUE
There’s been a lot of March heartbreak in Las Vegas for Mountain West men’s and women’s basketball teams over the years. It is going to continue (the Boise State women don’t mind, though). The Mountain West Tournaments’ stay at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center has been extended through 2023. The facility has hosted the MW Tournaments for 17 of the conference’s 20 years of existence. Attendance has slipped for the event in recent years—due to a combination of UNLV’s struggles, new distractions like the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and a glut of tournaments (the Pac-12 and West Coast Conference also hold their postseason events in Las Vegas). But it’s still the best destination for the Mountain West.
HUNTER OSTROM HUNTING FOR A TITLE
There will be a new champion when the smoke clears Sunday on the 90thIdaho State Men’s Amateur at BanBury. None of the past four Men’s Am winners is in the 2019 field as the tournament tees off today. And that includes last year’s champ, Eagle’s Colby Dean. The only guy close to Dean last summer was Meridian’s Hunter Ostrom, and it would seem he is due. The Notre Dame senior, who won the Southwestern Amateur in Scottsdale last month, finished fourth in 2017, tied for fifth in 2016 and tied for 10thin 2015. Footnote: the 2013 champion, former Boise State golfer Ty Travis of Eagle, is entered this year.
GIANTS FIRST-ROUNDER HELPS SINK HAWKS
San Francisco Giants fans saw Salem-Keizer’s 7-2 win over the Boise Hawks with orange-colored glasses last night. Giants first-round draft pick Hunter Bishop out of Arizona State made his Volcanoes debut, singling in his first at-bat and hitting a home run in his second. The highlight for the Hawks was Bladimir Restituyo’s second homer of the season. Restituyo, who just turned 18 on July 2, hit a solo shot in the fifth inning. Boise has now dropped six of its last eight games.
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July 18, 2015: The turf at Albertsons Stadium turns temporarily green for the first Basque Soccer Friendly, an international exhibition between Spain’s Athletic Bilbao and Mexico’s Club Tijuana. A platform was laid over Boise State’s iconic blue turf, and on top of that went natural turf sod, transforming the field into a soccer pitch. A crowd of 21,948 took in the surreal scene and watched Bilbao blank Tijuana 2-0. It was the largest crowd to watch a soccer match in the state of Idaho. By about, oh, 20,000. The hope is that it can happen again.
(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.)