Air Force’s first win over Colorado in 51 years followed the Falcons’ offensive blueprint, one Boise State is painfully familiar with. Certain elements of the Academy’s 30-23 overtime victory in Boulder were reminiscient of Air Force’s confounding three-game winning streak over the Broncos from 2014-16, particularly the middle game of that sequence on the blue turf. The Falcons rushed for 328 yards in their stunning 37-30 upset in Albertsons Stadium—and passed for 279. Included were touchdown passes of 67 and 51 yards to go with a TD run covering 48. At Colorado on Saturday, Air Force rushed for 289 yards and threw for 155. “They’ll just run you to sleep and then they’ll hit you with the pass,” CU linebacker Akil Jones explained. “It’s just Air Force.”
Air Force goes into this Friday’s showdown at Boise State with both the Mountain West Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week. Quarterback Donald Hammond III was 7-of-12 for 155 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. But there you go—155 yards on just 12 attempts. He had an 81-yard touchdown to Ben Waters, the fourth-longest In academy history. Hammond missed last season’s 48-38 loss to the Broncos with an ankle injury. Conference defensive honors went to Falcons senior safety Jeremy Fejedelem, who had 12 tackles, with two for loss, including a sack versus the Buffaloes. Fejedelem’s final stop was a two-yard tackle for loss in overtime, forcing Colorado into a fourth-and-12 that failed.
DUCT-TAPING THE O-LINE
“Patchwork” may be an unfair tag to place on the Boise State offensive line we saw against Portland State. “Makeshift” is very fair, though. Star left tackle Ezra Cleveland did not suit up, so—with right tackle John Ojukwu already out—the Broncos moved John Molchon to left tackle and inserted first-time starters Garrett Curran at right tackle and Kekaniokoa Holomalia-Gonzalez at left guard. Harsin indicated Monday the Broncos may go with that combination again versus Air Force. He’s hopeful there’ll be progress. “It’s the finishing,” Harsin said. “Some of the inexperience showed up.” Now that Curran and Holomalia-Gonzalez have seen live action, Harsin expects them to “keep your eye on the prize all of the time”—and finish. “We did that for the most part, but we didn’t do it enough.
HE’S GOOD WHEN HE’S UPRIGHT
Well, did Hank Bachmeier live up to his ESPN.com billing against Portland State? Bachmeier made big plays—when he wasn’t pulling himself up off the blue. On Friday, Tom VanHaaren ranked “the top 10 true freshmen in college football.” No. 2 was Bachmeier. Here’s what VanHaaren wrote: “Bachmeier was a very good quarterback prospect in high school, ranked 265th overall in the ESPN 300. He had offers from Power 5 programs but turned them down for Boise State. He has seemingly made a good choice in terms of fit and opportunity, already helping his team beat Florida State and Marshall in the first two games.” The rest of the list was made up of Power 5 guys.
INJURIES: COLLIN HILL CAN’T WIN
Since 2016, Collin Hill has been touted as the next star Colorado State quarterback. And he still might be, but injuries keep derailing the grand plan. Hill absorbed a late hit on his left knee from an Arkansas defensive back in the third quarter of the Rams’ 55-34 loss in Fayetteville Saturday. He was scheduled to have an MRI Monday—no word on results yet—but coach Mike Bobo has already declared him out for this week’s pivotal game against Toledo. bHill has twice torn the ACL in his left knee, once during his true freshman season in 2016 and then again in the spring of 2018.
BIG WIN ON THE WASATCH
Somebody beyond Air Force helped Boise State’s strength-of-schedule Saturday. You know who: BYU. Just two weeks ago after taking major heat for another marquee loss at home (30-12 to Utah), Cougars coach Kalani Sitake is hearing talk of a contract extension. BYU picked up a thrilling 30-27 overtime victory over No. 24 USC Saturday in LaVell Edwards Stadium, a week following another OT win at Tennessee. Zach Wilson, who threw for 280 yards and a touchdown, worked the Provo crowd of 62,546 into a frenzy with a 16-yard quarrerback draw for a touchdown that gave the Cougars the lead with about 5½ minutes left. Sitake is now 2-5 against Power 5 teams at home.
YOTES HIT NEW HEIGHTS
It’s been a long wait for the first NAIA Coaches Poll of the regular season. But it was worth it for College of Idaho. The Coyotes, with a 3-0 record and a nine-game winning streak dating back to last season, rose four spots to No. 11 in the new rankings, the highest in program history. Two other Frontier Conference teams are in the Top 25—Montana Western at No. 20 and Rocky Mountain at No. 24. It’s Rocky that awaits C of I on September 28 in Billings after this Saturday’s bye.
Boise State women’s soccer also played Portland State over the weekend, beating the Vikings 2-0 Sunday at the Boas Complex, and Raimee Sherle nailed a career milestone. After going scoreless in three straight games (a rarity for the Rocky Mountain High grad), Sherle tallied Sunday to notch her 50th career goal. There was soccer news at Northwest Nazarene, too, as Rikki Myers scored a school and Great Northwest Athletic Conference record four goals in the Nighthawks’ 6-2 victory over Cal State East Bay on Saturday. No surprise that Myers is the GNAC Player of the Week. There had been 60 hat tricks recorded by GNAC women’s soccer players over the past 19 years, but no one had ever scored four goals in a game until Myers did.
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September 17, 1994, 25 years ago today: Boise State’s magical 1994 season is kick-started in the third game of the year as the Broncos upset Nevada, their only Division I-A opponent, 37-27. Offensive coordinator Al Borges emptied the playbook, scoring touchdowns on a flea-flicker and a hook-and-lateral to beat a team that had pounded BSU the year before in Reno, 38-10. Nevada would go on to a 9-2 season, and Boise State would be 13-2 after a trip to the Division I-AA national championship game.
(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.)