When we heard that Brett Rypien was going to wear No. 4 in Denver, there was some comfort in knowing he’d don his old Boise State numeral. But the nostalgia doesn’t extend back to high school, and that’s a story worth revisiting. Rypien graduated early from Shadle Park High in Spokane, where he wore No. 11. He wanted to keep it, and the Broncos’ support staff issued it to him originally. Rypien took a photo of his locker and posted it on social media, where coach Bryan Harsin heard about it for the first time. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa,” said Harsin. There was no way he going to allow his highly-touted freshman quarterback to put that kind of pressure on himself. There would be no Kellen Moore number on that Boise State quarterback. Hence the switch to No. 4. Hopefully no one ever wears No. 11 again.
Moore’s No. 11 is not retired at Boise State, but hopefully it still will be. It’s definitely on the shelf now. The season after Moore graduated, true freshman wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes was given No. 11. The Broncos get a mulligan for that, as Williams-Rhodes distinguished himself in a distinguished numeral, finishing as Boise State’s second all-time leading receiver with 233 career catches. But that should be it. I understand the fear of available jersey numbers eroding if every deserving Bronco had his number retired. But there will only be one Kellen Moore. Git ‘er done.
REMINISCENCES FROM 2006
Lots of people want to drum San Jose State right out of the Mountain West these days. The feeling about the Spartans was different when Dick Tomey was leading their football team, though. Tomey, who really made his mark during his years at Hawaii and Arizona, passed away last Friday at the age of 80. The guy could coach. Boise State fans will recall that the Broncos’ undefeated Fiesta Bowl season in 2006 very nearly wasn’t, thanks to Tomey and San Jose State. Boise State was struggling in Spartan Stadium and was down 20-12 in the fourth quarter. A 44-yard Marty Tadman punt return set up a touchdown and a tying two-point conversion. And it took a 37-yard field goal by Anthony Montgomery as time ran out to survive 23-20. Tomey led San Jose State to a 9-4 record and a win in the inaugural New Mexico Bowl.
Another 2006 memory comes from one of the coolest things to come out of Boise State’s graduation ceremony over the weekend: Jovan Hutchinson getting his degree. Hutchinson had waited 12 years to take the one class he needed, and on Saturday he walked in Taco Bell Arena. Bronco fans will remember Hutchinson’s story and its perfect finish. He was a wide receiver who played sparingly for Boise State but was beloved in the locker room. And when Senior Day rolled around in 2006, they drew up something special for him. With the Broncos leading Utah State 42-10 in the fourth quarter, quarterback Taylor Tharp threw a 10-yard fade to Hutchinson—touchdown or bust. And it was a touchdown. The Broncos were flagged with a celebration penalty when virtually the entire team mobbed Hutchinson in the end zone. By design.
BRONCOS NEED A HOME SCHEDULE ANCHOR
B.J. Rains of the Idaho Press reports that—according to sources—Boise State hoops has added UNC-Wilmington to its home slate on November 29. We don’t know much more. Scheduling is tough for the Broncos, as few teams from power conferences feel the need to test the waters at Taco Bell Arena. Next season’s home lineup remains under construction, with Boise State still in search of a marquee matchup, as in Oregon last December. The Broncos didn’t get a name opponent in Boise the previous two seasons. They have to try to augment their straength-of-schedule away from home with events like the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu over Christmas break. Boise State also wraps up its 2-for-1 with the Ducks with a trip to Eugene.
DRMIC’S LONG-SUFFERING FEET GET SOME HELP
Former Boise State star Anthony Drmic has been thriving as a pro in Australia, and he’s been doing it despite plantar fascia issues in both of his feet. Drmic will undergo surgery this week to relieve him of the pain. His primary job is with the Adelaide 36ers of the National Basketball League, but he’s been playing this spring (it’s fall Down Under) in the semi-pro Premier League. That will no longer be possible with the surgery, but Drmic will be ready to roll next season in the NBL. He started 21 of 28 games for the 36ers this past season, averaging 9.2 points and shooting 36 percent from three-point range. Drmic played at Boise State from 2011-16 and ended up two points short of Tanoka Beard’s school career scoring record.
Despite being swept at Fresno State to end the regular season over the weekend, the Boise State women’s softball team didn’t put away its bats and gloves—just in case. Now the pleasantly-surprised Broncos are preparing to meet Stanford in the NCAA Tournament Friday morning in Gainesville, FL. The strength of Boise State’s non-conference schedule won out, but there are some frayed feelings in San Jose, Las Vegas and Fresno. Also in the softball world, College of Idaho is on to the final of the Hattiesburg Bracket of the NAIA National Championship Opening Round after defeating host William Carey 4-1 on Monday. The Coyotes face Vanguard University this morning.
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May 14, 2011: Boise State’s final conference competition after 10 years as a member of the WAC, as the Broncos finish second on the men’s side and seventh among the women at the conference track and field championships in Honolulu. It also marked the final time Boise State and Idaho would ever face each other in a conference event. The Broncos’ greatest successes during the WAC era came in football, of course. The final report card showed 75 wins, five losses and six undefeated seasons in league play, and a perfect 40-0 record on the blue turf.
(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.)