This may not go the direction you think. Boise State fans should feel sorry for their Utah State counterparts Saturday night. Why? Because Bronco Nation can relate. It’s USU’s turn to kick it off not at 8:15 p.m. (8:26, wink-wink), but at 8:30 p.m. On November 23. It’s a colder climate than Boise, and the kicker is that the game is on CBS Sports Network. It’s one thing to sacrifice any kind of fan comfort for ESPN and ESPN2 like Boise State did the past two weeks. There is value in that national exposure. But CBS Sports Network’s distribution is miniscule compared to the Worldwide Leader, and the actual viewership pales in comparison. Mountain West football is just programming on a grid, and it’s the go-to source for the late Saturday night window in the East.
MEET THE USU BACKUP
It’s likely that Jaylon Henderson will start at quarterback again for Boise State Saturday night, although we don’t know for sure. But we have had a chance to get to know Henderson. If Utah State star QB Jordan Love is unable to start against the Broncos, inquiring minds want to know: Who is Henry Colombi? He’s a 6-2, 205-pound sophomore from Hollywood, FL, who came in when Love exited the Wyoming game last week and went 3-of-6 for 35 yards. Colombi played more last year due to USU blowouts, going 33-of 40 for 239 yards and rushing for 108 yards and a touchdown. This season he’s thrown for 143 yards and two TDs. Colombi hasn’t run much, but he appears to be capable of it.
NEW MEXICO MET BSU’S NO. 3
Everyone knows it’s been an awful year at New Mexico. But there’s no reason to believe Lobos coach Bob Davie wasn’t being earnest in his assessment of Henderson last Saturday. “They played with their third quarterback, but it really didn’t make much difference,” said Davie. “I mean, the first play of the game they come out throwing, he makes a couple throws there in the first half, I mean you didn’t notice much difference, which is a compliment to them. They just kind of keep rolling.” Will the Broncos roll in Logan? Utah State’s defense is good, but not lights-out this year. The Aggies are giving up 251 yards per game through the air and 180 on the ground—not terrible. But put them together, and it’s 431 yards allowed per game defensively, ninth in the Mountain West.
LOOKING FOR A CT RESURGENCE
Which Bronco is due for a breakout Saturday night? It’s junior wide receiver CT Thomas, who has cooled considerably. Thomas started the season a house afire, with 103 yards receiving at Florida State. He had another 100-yard night versus Air Force. Over his first five games of the year (he missed the Marshall game), Thomas made 20 catches for 355 yards and three touchdowns. In the past four games, he has just seven catches for 55 yards. The Broncos could use his third and fourth-down magic in Logan.
BREAKING NEW GROUND IN CALDWELL
This is what College of Idaho dreamed of when it revived the Coyotes football program in 2014 after a 37-year hiatus: a home game in the NAIA Playoffs. It happens Saturday at noon when the Yotes host Ottawa University of Arizona at Simplot Stadium. C of I is in its sixth season since football’s revival, and making the playoffs is impressive. But Ottawa is in just its second season of intercollegiate football. That’s somethin’ else. The Yotes, who jumped to No. 5 in the final NAIA Coaches Poll this week, have won 16 games in a row and set a school record for single-season victories with their 10-0 record. This is the first postseason game for the Frontier Conference champions since the 1953 Refrigerator Bowl.
DARIAN THOMPSON DELIVERS IN DALLAS
Today we’ll bypass the usual Boise State-related storylines with the Dallas Cowboys. In last week’s 35-27 win over Detroit, Boise State alums were second, third and fourth in tackles for the Cowboys behind Jaylon Smith. Second, ahead of Leighton Vander Esch and DeMarcus Lawrence, was safety Darian Thompson with eight stops. Thompson signed to a one-year $720,000 contract last March, and—after working mainly on Dallas special teams last season—he has worked his way into the defensive rotation. Thompson has 22 tackles this year, second only to the 61 he logged as a New York Giant in 2016. He also has one fumble recovery. All Thompson needs now is an interception. Sunday against Tom Brady and the Patriots, anyone? He had 19 in his Broncos career, the most in the program’s FBS era.
MOMENTUM FOR THE ROAD
Boise State men’s basketball has to let the euphoria of Wednesday’s overtime win over BYU subside—and focus on Pacific. The Broncos play the Tigers in Stockton, CA, Saturday afternoon, and face a tricky opponent. UOP is 5-2 and is allowing just 57.7 points per game, tops in the West Coast Conference. The Tigers are also top 15 nationally in rebound margin at plus-12.4. Speaking of “nationally,” Boise State’s Derrick Alston is not only sixth in scoring at 25.3 points per game, he leads the country in made free throws with 34. Elsewhere, the Bronco women would like to regain momentum after Wednesday’s loss to Washington State, but this is a heckuva way to do it. Boise State is on the road at No. 7 Louisville on Sunday. The Broncos have lost to the Cardinals each of the past two seasons.
FRIDAY PRO BEAT
After being shut out by Orlando Wednesday, the Idaho Steelheads hit the reset button tonight in CenturyLink Arena as they open a two-game series against the Kansas City Mavericks. It’ll be Tomas Sholl in goal, as fellow netminder Colton Point has been assigned to the Texas Stars of the AHL. Point had middling results in seven appearances for the Steelies, going 2-3-1 with a 2.52 goals-against average. On the PGA Tour, Meridian’s Troy Merritt opened the RSM Classic with a two-under 68 Thursday at Sea Island, GA. The former Boise State star is tied for 43rd going into the second round.
A FOND GOODBYE TO BARB
We lost a community treasure Wednesday. The first lady of Idaho tennis, Barbara Chandler, passed away in Boise at the age of 96. Nobody personified positive, meaningful contributions to youth sports in the state more than Barbara. She worked tirelessly with schools, and—though she’d never take credit for it—was largely responsible for the building of more than 30 tennis courts we enjoy in the city today. Barb burst on the national tennis scene as a Californian in the 1940’s and was later a three-time quarterfinalist at the US Open. She and her husband, Bill, moved to Idaho in 1952, and we thank our lucky stars. She dedicated her life to growing the sport of tennis and building character among young players. Barbara Chandler will be dearly missed.
This Day In Sports…brought to you by VETERANS PLUMBING…eliminate your drips and drops!
November 22, 2003: Utah ends BYU’s NCAA-record streak of 361 consecutive games without being shut out when the Utes, under first-year coach Urban Meyer, edge the Cougars 3-0 in Provo. Blustery winds and bouts of snow limited both offenses as a 41-yard Bryan Borreson field goal was enough for Utah to clinch the Mountain West title, its first outright conference championship since 1957. The Cougars, who had scored in every game dating back to October, 1975, ended with their first back-to-back losing seasons in 32 years.
(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.)