My first thought upon Boise State quarterback Jaylon Henderson entering the Hawaii game when he did last Saturday night—on the second possession of the third quarter in the heat of the battle—was that the Broncos were immediately prepping him to be the No. 2 quarterback for the rest of October. Hank Bachmeier had departed in the second quarter, and Chase Cord had already thrown his first two touchdown passes. For those who have forgotten what a great locker room guy Henderson has been the past year, he emerged last spring as a leader and had as good a Blue & Orange Game as any Bronco. Henderson was 9-for-13 for 187 yards and threw the day’s lone TD pass. Now, after the first extended playing time of his career versus Hawaii, the coaching staff has no hesitation in putting him out there.
DOESN’T GET BIGGER THAN THIS THESE DAYS
“Reeling BYU, No. 14 Boise State both dealing with injury questions at QB as rivalry game approaches.” That was a headline in the Deseret News. It talks, of course, about the Broncos going without Hank Bachmeier Saturday and the Cougars forging ahead with Zach Wilson—and now probably Jaren Hall—absent. But go back to that headline. In Provo, this is considered a rivalry game. When this 22-games-in-23-years series began, that kind of talk would have been ludicrous. But with Boise State winning five of the first seven games in the current series, and BYU in its ninth year of independence and lacking the juice of conference clashes, it’s feeling like a rivalry. The Broncos don’t have Nevada or Fresno State on an annual basis anymore (nor Idaho, for that matter). Both teams will have an extra gear this week.
SENATORIAL TIES AT QUARTERBACK
As for that BYU quarterback situation, the Cougars are “hopeful” Hall can pass the concussion protocol but are prepared to go with redshirt freshman Baylor Romney Saturday night in LaVell Edwards Stadium. Romney, a distant relative of Utah Senator Mitt Romney, went 6-for-10 for 73 yards in relief of Hall at South Florida last week. The other option for BYU is sophomore Joe Critchlow, who surprisingly burned his redshirt year versus Boise State two years ago before sitting out last season. Critchlow was bypassed at USF when Hall was injured and still has not played yet this year. “I think (Romney) is more suited for what we had established in the game plan against South Florida,” said coach Kalani Sitake. On a personal note, Critchlow’s married to Mitt Romney’s daughter. So there.
A COUPLE DRAFTABLE BRONCOS
The Athletic has unveiled its midseason All-America squads, and Boise State’s Curtis Weaver is a first-teamer. Weaver, listed as a defensive end, is one of only two Group of 5 players on the first team. The other is Nevada true freshman kicker Brandon Talton. Also from The Athletic, a list of “five draft-eligible NFL prospects who aren’t being talked about right now as first-round players, but that could change over the second half of the season and into the NFL Draft process.” One is Boise State wide receiver John Hightower. “Projecting players forward is about identifying key traits (like game-changing speed) that translate well to the next level,” writes Dane Brugler. “Hightower has that type of speed and that is why he has at least an outside shot of working his way into the top-50 mix and maybe the first round.”
BOISE STATE IN THE MIDDLE, ALSTON AT THE TOP
The Mountain West’s current hoops elite, Utah State, San Diego State, New Mexico and Nevada, were picked to finish at the top of the conference (in that order) in the preseason media poll Tuesday. The Broncos have four starters back and could easily overachieve this prediction. USU has just about everybody back, too, including Preseason Player of the Year Sam Merrill, but the Aggies received all 17 first-place votes in the poll. Boise State’s Derrick Alston was an honorable mention All-MW selection last March, but the junior guard is first-team all-league in the preseason poll. Alston’s 12.8-points-per-game scoring increase from his freshman to sophomore years was the second-best leap in NCAA Division I last season.
SHOLL’S SEASON-OPENING SHOW IS REWARDED
It’s like old times for Idaho Steelheads netminder Tomas Sholl. For the fourth time in his career, Sholl has been named ECHL Goaltender of the Week after a solid opening weekend. Sholl won both games at Utah, posting a 1.50 goals-against average and a save percentage of .958. Here are some cool numbers on Sholl: in 60 career ECHL games with Idaho and Adirondack, he has an overall record of 42-12-4 with seven shutouts, a 2.00 goals-against average and a save percentage of .935. He and his fellow Steelies make their season home debut Friday night in CenturyLink Arena against the Wichita Thunder.
DESPERATE TO AVOID A REPEAT
Back to football—it’s difficult to think Idaho State isn’t getting Idaho at a good time Saturday in the Kibbie Dome. The Bengals have topped 50 points in two of their past three games, and the Vandals are coming off their first shutout in six years, the 24-0 loss at Portland State last week. And then there was last year’s Battle of the Domes at Holt Arena, a 62-28 Idaho State romp. ISU rolled up a staggering 754 yards on the Vandals as Tanner Gueller threw eight touchdown passes and the Bengals gained 10.9 yards per snap on the day. Idaho totaled 514 yards of its own but could not keep up. Another track meet Saturday would not favor the Vandals.
SECOND RODEO WITH THE OREDIGGERS
College of Idaho plays three home-and-home series this season as part of the Frontier Conference schedule, and the first of them wraps up Saturday when the No. 8 Coyotes host Montana Tech at Simplot Stadium. The two teams first met in Butte in Week 2, with the Yotes dropping the Orediggers 28-14. Montana Tech is stout defensively, allowing only 249 yards per game. But C of I tailback Nick Calzaretta had 247 yards rushing by himself against Tech in September. The Yotes ran for 347 yards as a team that day amassed 510 overall. Watch the red zone Saturday—C of I is a perfect 24-for-24 inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, notching 19 touchdowns and five field goals.
COWBOYS CORRAL IS MISSING A BRONCO
Former Boise State star Tyrone Crawford hasn’t had much to show for the 2019 season, and now it’s over. The Dallas defensive lineman is going on injured reserve and will undergo surgery for an ailment that’s been described as “hip bursitis.” Crawford was held out of training camp because of the problem and has played in four games this season, with only three tackles and one sack. There’s still no word on any kind of punishment for Crawford over his bar altercation last spring in Florida. The probe remains open in the NFL front office. Crawford is in his seventh NFL season and has 180 career tackles and 23 sacks.
This Day In Sports…brought to you by BBSI BOISE…we’re payroll, we’re risk, we’re HR, we’re business!
October 16, 1969, 50 years ago today: They went into the season as 100-to-1 shots to win the World Series, but the New York Mets shock the world by beating Baltimore 5-3 to take the championship four games-to-one. Symbolizing the “Miracle Mets” moniker, the team earned that season, the Mets rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win the decisive Game 5. The surge began when the Mets’ Cleon Jones was awarded first base after shoe polish on the ball proved he was hit by a pitch. Jones then scored on a two-run homer by Donn Clendenon.
(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.)