Broncos know how the fourth quarter counts

One of the running themes for Boise State this year is “finishing,” something that didn’t always happen in 2016. The 28-23 win over Colorado State on the blue turf was a case in point. The Broncos led 28-3 in the fourth quarter before the Rams staged a wild comeback, executing two successful onside kicks and turning quarterback Nick Stevens loose to the tune of 141 yards and two touchdowns passing over the final 11 minutes. Boise State has been much better down the stretch this season, outscoring opponents 84-45 in the fourth quarter. The only team that’s gotten the best of the Broncos in the final period was Washington State in Week 2. The Cougars outscored Boise State 37-27 in the fourth quarter and overtime combined. The Broncos need to bring it for 60 minutes tomorrow night at CSU.

Getting pressure on Stevens will be crucial for Boise State. The Bronco sack parade has slowed down the past two weeks—there were none at Utah State and only one versus Nevada. The Colorado State offensive line has allowed only six sacks all season, the fourth-best mark in the nation. Boise State did a quick fade in the sack department last year and needs to ensure this season is different. With improved depth in 2017, the Broncos theoretically don’t have the fatigue factor they had last November on the defensive line. It would help if David Moa was healthy tomorrow night. The junior defensive tackle left the Utah State game with an ankle injury and didn’t play against Nevada last week.

So Colorado State has Stevens and Michael Gallup, one of the best throw-and-catch combos in the country. That’s not all, of course. Before you think the news that junior running back Izzy Matthews—No. 5 on CSU’s career rushing touchdowns list—has a broken collarbone is going to do the Rams in, remember that senior Dalyn Dawkins has rushed for 1,050 yards and averages more than 6½ yards per carry. Dawkins is one of only 19 players in the country to top the 1,000-yard mark so far, but he’s often lost in the hype that surrounds the national leader, San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny. The Rams are always fresh in the backfield, as they also use sophomores Rashaad Boddie and Marvin Kinsey Jr. and redshirt freshman Darius May.

The Colorado State crowd will be boisterous, although maybe not as boisterous as it would have been without Rams losses the past two weeks. Whatever the case may be, Boise State is used to it. The average attendance for the Broncos’ first three road games was 47,146. Then at Utah State attendance was only 19,012, but there was energy at Maverik Stadium. CSU is hoping to get some mojo by wearing an all-white alternative uniform featuring the red-and-yellow Colorado state flag’s “C” on the helmets, shoulder pad sleeves, and on the left hip of the pants. Therefore, Boise State will be wearing its home uniforms. This will be the second time the Broncos have done that in Fort Collins—they wore all blue when they played at CSU for the first time in 2011, as the Rams staged a white-out.

In the Mountain West this weekend, Wyoming will be facing Air Force in Colorado Springs while the Broncos and Rams are colliding in Fort Collins. A Falcons upset of the Cowboys would obviously help Boise State in the Mountain West race, as the Pokes still have only one conference loss. You wonder what kind of jet lag Fresno State will have when it hosts the Broncos Thanksgiving weekend. The Mountain West schedule-makers are sending the Bulldogs to the humidity of Hawaii tomorrow—and the frigidity of Wyoming next week in advance of the Bulldog Stadium visit by the Broncos.

Man how time flies. Seems like just yesterday then-College of Idaho athletic director Marty Holly was announcing the return of Coyotes football. And just like that, the Yotes will say goodbye tomorrow to the final eight seniors who were a part of the 2013 “zero year” program that helped resurrect the C of I football team. And what would it mean to those guys to cap their careers by beating Montana State-Northern to clinch a winning season? Four of them are on offense: wide receiver Charlie Shepherd, running back Zach Garzoli and offensive linemen Andrew Galloway and Dylan Garcia. They’re joined by defensive end Trevor Henderson and defensive backs Nate Moore, Malik Whitfield and Hunter Temple as part of that initial recruiting class.

The official season opener is here. The Boise State men’s hoops team hosts Eastern Oregon tonight in Taco Bell Arena. If the Broncos get the win over the Mountaineers, coach Leon Rice hopes it comes without a lot of turnovers. Rice bemoaned the rash of what he called “3rd grade turnovers” in the narrow defeat of College of Idaho last week. You’ve gotta believe it was an aberration. After all, seven of the Broncos’ 19 turnovers came from Chandler Hutchison. And yesterday, Hutchison was one of 50 players named to the watch list for the 50th Naismith Trophy that goes to college basketball’s most outstanding player. Hutchison was the only Mountain West representative on the list, and one of only 12 players from non-Power Five conferences.

The Idaho Steelheads have shaken things up between the pipes as they begin a two-game road trip tonight against the Allen Americans. The Steelheads saw plenty of goaltender Ryan Faragher with the Utah Grizzlies the last three seasons. Idaho has now acquired the rights to Faragher from the Manchester Monarchs, and he will be in Steelies gear tonight. He has a professional record of 57-48-10. At the same time, Brandon Komm was traded by the Steelheads to Quad City, a team he faced just two weeks ago in a 3-2 overtime loss. Komm was 0-2-2 this season.

Around the horn with other weekend things: Troy Merritt is on the cut bubble after the first round of the PGA Tour’s OHL Classic at Mayakoba. Merritt is tied for 74th following a one-under 70 yesterday in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The Boise State men’s and women’s cross country teams compete in the NCAA West Regional today in Seattle. The top two teams from each of the nine regions will automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships in Louisville next week, along with the top four individuals not on qualified teams. Bronco star Allie Ostrander was fourth at the Mountain West Championships two weeks ago. And the Idaho men’s basketball opens the season in Reno tonight night against defending Mountain West champion Nevada.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by GREENWOOD’S SKI HAUS…plenty of reasons to shop locally!

November 10, 2007, 10 years ago today: Navy and North Texas combine to score the most points in regulation in college football history when the Midshipmen outduel the Mean Green, 74-62 in Denton, Tex. North Texas quarterback Giovanni Vizza tossed eight touchdowns and threw for 478 yards, while Navy rushed for 572 yards and eight scores. Just four weeks earlier, Boise State and Nevada had also combined for 136 points, but that game went four overtimes (a 69-67 Bronco win).