Albertsons Stadium 50th anniversary, Part XVIII

Since we have an indefinite amount of time to burn now, we return to my early-bird celebration of Albertsons Stadium’s 50th anniversary.I’m going to 2014, where there are several choices for memorable moments: the 9-degree game against San Diego State and the Mountain West championship game among them. I’ll choose the October showdown against BYU here. The Broncos avenged a 17-point defeat in Provo the previous season by blasting the Cougars 55-30 on the blue turf. Boise State built a 41-16 halftime lead behind the passing of senior quarterback Grant Hedrick, who finished with a career-high 410 yards through the air. That was the seventh-best mark in school history—only Ryan Dinwiddie, Kellen Moore and Jim McMillan had thrown for more yards in a game at that point.

ALBERTSONS BOISE OPEN: HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?

Hillcrest Country Club lived up to its reputation Thursday, yielding a slew of low scores in the first round of the 31st annual Albertsons Boise Open. Tommy Gainey played early and tamed the 6,880-yard layout with a nine-under 62. The math was easy: nine birdies and no bogeys. It came on Gainey’s 45th birthday, and it was a week after he slogged through an 81 at the Portland Open. It’s the first time Gainey has ever led after the first round on the Korn Ferry Tour. Charlie Saxon is one stroke back after carding a 63. Saxon shot a 64 in the opening round at Hillcrest last August. Thirteen golfers were at six-under or better on Day 1.

It was relatively “mild” Thursday, with a high of 90 degrees. And just like last year, there was no smoke (we’ve been very fortunate so far in this fire season). That temperature is going to change dramatically by Sunday, with a high of 100 predicted for the final round. We’ll see if par continues to take a beating as conditions change. On the PGA Tour, Boise State grad and Meridian resident Troy Merritt started the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, NC, with a three-under 67 Thursday. It was a bogey-free round, leaving Merritt in excellent position to make the cut today.

HUGO JUST MISSES A HUGE WIN

It would have been a signature win for the Boise State men’s golf program—and Hugo Townsend. The Swedish sophomore was in a battle with Michael Thorbjornsen of Wellesley, MA, in the round of 32 at the U.S. Men’s Amateur in Bandon, OR. Townsend built a two-hole lead after seven holes over Thorbjornsen, who had made the cut at the U.S. Open last year as an amateur. But Thorbjornsen was nails around the turn and down the stretch, and he posted a 4-and-2 victory to move on to the round of 16. Townsend’s Broncos teammate, Brian Humphreys, placed second Thursday at the Washington State Amateur. The Vancouver native was one shot back Oregon State’s Sean Kato. Humphreys was third last month at the Idaho State Amateur, a tournament won by Townsend.

A SLIVER OF HOPE FOR HOOPS

The Pac-12 declared earlier this week that there would be no sports played in the conference until at least January. So it’s kind of early to be making any assumptions about the timing of the Mountain West basketball season. But in a Thursday interview, commissioner Craig Thompson said, “At this point we are still targeting a November start.” Key words: at this point. “This can change on a moment’s notice,” he added. When would a decision have to be made on hoops? “I would probably say in that late September time frame,” said Thompson. Of course, Thompson said this spring that early July was crunch time for football, and that decision didn’t happen until the second week of August.

REGGIE RETIRES

Reggie Larry, perhaps Boise State’s best men’s basketball player of the 2000s, has announced in a Tweet that he’s hanging it up after 12 seasons of pro hoops. Larry finished strong, averaging 14.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game last season for Los Leones in Chile’s Liga Nacional. He has also played in Cyprus, France, the Phillipines, Spain, Australia, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela and Brazil. Whew. Larry led the Broncos to their only WAC championship in 2007-08, putting up 19.4 points and 9.2 boards per game. His pro career also included three seasons in what is now the NBA G-League, two in Boise with the Idaho Stampede and one with the Reno Bighorns.

‘ROUND THE HORN ON THE GRIDIRON

Football notes: Boise State athletic director Curt Apsey said Thursday that the Broncos are actively trying to get the Florida State home game back on the docket, but it won’t be next year. They have to sync up future schedules. Air Force is still exploring the possibility of salvaging its games against Army and Navy this fall. But would just two games be worth all the blood, sweat and tears that would go into preparation? BYU is back up to four games on its schedule, with the addition of Troy on September 26 (and a return game on the Trojans’ home field in 2026). The Big Sky has nixed nonconference games this fall, so that ends any designs Idaho had on getting some games in. The Vandals had been preparing for Temple as recently as Wednesday night.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by SUPERIOR POOLS OF IDAHO…the newest pool store in the valley!

August 14, 1993: The New York Yankees retire the iconic No. 44 of Reggie Jackson. He played only five seasons with the Yankees (1977-81), but during that time he crafted his image as “Mr. October,” helping bring World Series championships to New York in 1977 and 1978. Jackson was also pivotal in the Oakland A’s three straight Series titles from 1972-74. He was at the heart of baseball’s free agency revolution in the 1970’s, as well as the sometimes chaotic Yankee clubhouse known as the “Bronx Zoo.” Jackson hit 563 career home runs, retired in 1988, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.

(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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