An unfortunate Demarcus detour

There are four Boise State alums on the Dallas roster, but it’s been a chore to get them all active at the same time. There are four Boise State alums on the Dallas Cowboys roster, but it’s been a chore to get them all active at the same time. There would have been a shot this season, with Demarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford back as starters, Kellen Moore having an apparent role as a backup to Tony Romo, and Orlando Scandrick coming back from an ACL and MCL tear. But Lawrence is now reportedly facing a four-game NFL suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The Dallas Morning News surmises that Lawrence is challenging the ruling, but not many are optimistic that he will be in uniform for the Cowboys in the month of September.

If so, Lawrence will be dealing with a setback of his own making just when he was on the verge of becoming a star in Dallas. The 6-3, 265-pound defensive end was a second-round draft pick two years ago after skipping his senior season at Boise State, where he had led the Broncos in sacks in 2012 and 2013. But Lawrence fractured his foot during the first week of training camp in 2014 and missed the first half of his rookie season. Last year he became a starter—and a force, topping the Cowboys with eight sacks. Dallas is in a pickle on the edge now, as it’s already without another standout defensive end, Randy Gregory, who was similarly suspended for the first four games over the NFL drug policy.

This could have an effect on Kellen Moore in Dallas. Will the Cowboys be tempted to pick a defensive end in the first round next week, further pushing the quarterback position down the priority board in the NFL Draft? It’s already a given that the Cowboys won’t go for a QB in the first round, just as they haven’t in each of the past 26 drafts (since Troy Aikman in 1989). I envision Moore beginning the season as Romo’s backup, assigned with bringing a mid-round selection along as a mentor—and perhaps being supplanted by that guy at the No. 2 spot sometime during the fall. We’ll see.

Amid numerous predictions that the Miami Dolphins will cut him loose, Jamar Taylor is still on the roster. The NFL Draft may alter the former Boise State star’s status, though. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald is not in Taylor’s corner. Writes Salguero: “Taylor should currently be the most obvious choice to vie for a starting job opposite veteran Byron Maxwell. Except that Taylor has been progressively worse the past two years. He was a healthy scratch three of the final five games (last season), and had another game in that stretch when he was active but did not play. So Taylor finished the season sitting four of the final five games because nobody trusted him on the field. And he’s a candidate to start for this team right now.” I wonder if JT reads his press clippings.

We talked about finances yesterday—it behooves us to talk about academics today. Boise State reports department records in Academic Progress Rate for both single-year (994 in 2014-15) and multi-year (982) periods. Thirteen of the Broncos’ programs recorded perfect single-year scores of 1,000 for 2014-15, all of them Olympic sports. Boise State football ranked second in the Mountain West with a multi-year score of 982, up one point from 2013-14 and tied for 15th nationally in the FBS. The men’s basketball multi-year score of 961 is up 10 points from last year’s release. The APR accounts for the eligibility, retention and graduation of each athlete on scholarship, providing a measure of each team’s academic performance.

Allen lost a playoff game at home last week and apparently didn’t take too kindly to it. The Americans got one back on the road last night, scoring less than five minutes into the game and going on to beat the Idaho Steelheads 3-1 in CenturyLink Arena to take a two games-to-one lead in the ECHL Western Conference quarterfinals. All three games in the series have produced 3-1 results. The Steelheads outshot Allen 38-30, but goalie Riley Gill made 37 saves for the Americans, who regained home ice advantage in the best-of-seven series. Tomorrow night’s Game 4 isn’t an absolute must-win for the Steelies, but it’s close.

Troy Merritt returns to the PGA Tour today, one week removed from a great experience at his first Masters. Merritt saw it all on his way to a tie for 42nd in Augusta. The former Boise State star now tees off at the Valero Texas Open, where he’s made the cut the last two seasons. Merritt goes into the tournament with $714,960 in earnings this season and a No. 86 world ranking. Nampa’s Tyler Aldridge is also in the field in San Antonio, coming off a tie for 14th last week at the RBC Heritage.

Boise State’s Thomas “Tommy Bahama” Tenreiro has earned his third career Mountain West Men’s Tennis Player of the Week honor after leading the Broncos past San Diego State and UNLV by identical 4-1 scores last weekend. In the victory over the Aztecs last Friday, Tenreiro rallied from 5-1 down in the first set to win it in a tiebreaker, then cruised with a 6-2 result in set two to clinch the team victory. This Saturday, Boise State hosts Gonzaga in the morning and Idaho in the evening at the Appleton Center.

It’s been awhile since former Boise Hawk Ricky Nolasco has been taken seriously as a threat in the Minnesota rotation. But Nolasco has been a pleasant surprise so far in April. The 33-year-old righthander doesn’t have a decision in his two starts, but he’s gone seven innings in each and has a 3.21 ERA going into tonight’s outing against Milwaukee. Nolasco was rolling when the Dodgers picked him up in a midseason trade with Miami in 2013, and he finished nicely in L.A. that year. The Twins then signed him as a free agent, but he’s had injury problems and posted ERAs of 5.38 and 6.75 the past two seasons. Nolasco was in Boise in 2002, when he helped the Hawks to a Northwest League championship with a 7-2 record and a 2.48 ERA.

This Day In Sports…April 21, 2012:

Safeco Field in Seattle sees a perfect game pitched for the first time, but the Mariners are on the wrong end of it. Chicago White Sox hurler Phil Humber tossed the 21st perfect game in major league history in a 4-0 blanking of the M’s. It was only the second time a perfecto had ever been thrown in April. Humber threw only 96 pitches in recording his first career complete game. Really something for a guy the White Sox had claimed on waivers from Oakland just 15 months earlier—and is now out of baseball.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)