Bryan Harsin tweeted a “Go Broncos” late Thursday afternoon. That meant an additional 2019 commit to the Boise State football program. It took awhile, but the mystery man was revealed Friday to be Khafari Buffalo, a graduate transfer from The Citadel. The curious thing at the outset: Buffalo played both safety and cornerback at The Citadel, but the Broncos’ official release lists him as a safety. And it’s quite apparent they have a bigger need at corner right now. Buffalo has the size of a safety at 6-2, 190 pounds. He’d be five inches taller than Boise State’s lone returning starter at corner, Avery Williams. But the Broncos have a well-documented logjam at safety, beginning with starters Kekoa Nahawhine and DeAndre Pierce. They’re joined by Kekaula Kaniho, Jordan Happle, Evan Tyler and Tyreque Jones.
If Boise State does choose to fit Buffalo in at cornerback, what would the expectations be? Opposite Williams going into fall camp, in heavy pencil, is junior Jalen Walker, who’s been a reliable backup ever since starting in place of the injured Tyler Horton in the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl against Oregon. Redshirt freshman Chris Mitchell is also a strong candidate after leading the Broncos with six tackles during the spring game. Buffalo’s profile is good but not overwhelming. He started six games for The Citadel last season and recorded 38 tackles and an interception. But he reportedly has run the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds. That speed can be coached up, no?
THE LAW OF AVERAGES DID NOT APPLY
When KTVB’s Will Hall tweeted last Wednesday that the Utah Grizzlies had lost 13 straight overtime games and seven consecutive home games in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, I didn’t think it could possibly continue. But incredibly, the Idaho Steelheads handed Utah two more home losses over the weekend, and both were in overtime. And the Steelheads are headed to the ECHL Mountain Division Finals. Idaho won Saturday night when Kyle Schempp potted a goal 12½ minutes into a tense OT period. The Steelies had rallied from a 4-1 deficit Friday night for a 5-4 overtime win. Henrik Samuelsson tied it with 4:45 left in the third period with his second goal of the night, and Brad McClure won it with a tally eight minutes into OT.
After losing Game 1 in an unthinkable 7-1 shellacking, the Steelheads took the series versus Utah four games to one, with all the victories in overtime. The Grizzlies had won nine of 15 games against the Steelies in the regular season. Now the Steelheads recharge for Game 1 against either Kansas City or Tulsa this Friday night. KC leads that series three games-to-two, and if the Mavericks win Game 6 Tuesday night, the Mountain Division Finals will begin in Boise.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN FOR TROY MERRITT
After two rounds of the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, SC, Troy Merritt was in contention. The former Boise State star shot a four-under 67 on Friday and was three shots off the lead. Then on Saturday Merritt carded four bogeys, including a devastating triple on the 18th hole that left him with a 72 for the day. He settled back in with a two-under 69 in Sunday’s final round, though. Merritt finished tied for 10th, five strokes behind winner C.T. Pan, earning $152,950. It was still a pretty impressive week for a guy who had played only one tournament in the previous three months after having a rib surgically removed.
THE BRONCOS’ BASH SISTERS
The Boise State women’s softball team is showing some championship form. Whether it’s too late for the Broncos to defend their Mountain West title remains to be seen. They needed a sweep at New Mexico but stumbled on Thursday in a 7-4 loss to the Lobos. Then Boise State scored a staggering 39 runs over the next two days to go over .500 in conference play. Bradie Fillmore kick-started the Broncos with a three-run homer, her ninth of the season, in a 17-5 rout on Friday. Then the Eagle High grad socked her 10th on Saturday, one of a school-record seven homers hit by Boise State in a 22-10 victory. The 22 runs were the second-most in program history.
ROBIE ROCKS IT AGAIN
Surprise—defending women’s champion Megan Lacy entered the 42nd Race To Robie Creek after all on Saturday. And she won it. Lacy ran the legendary half-marathon over Aldape Summit in one hour, 41 seconds, finishing ninth overall. The men’s winner was fellow Boisean Greg Montgomery, who ran a crisp 52:52 on a 68-degree afternoon. The curiosity of the day, besides the array of superheroes on the course, was Boise’s Eric Teig, who just five days earlier had finished 82nd out of 30,000 runners at the Boston Marathon. Teig managed a seventh-place result, less than six minutes behind Montgomery.
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April 22, 1876: The first game in National League history, with Boston defeating Philadelphia, 6-5. The winning pitcher was Joe Borden, who was rewarded with a then-unheard of $2,000-per-year salary. When he failed to live up to expectations, Borden was forced to moonlight as a groundskeeper to earn his pay. Conventional wisdom says the Angels’ Mike Trout doesn’t have to so much as mow his lawn, as he makes $33.25 million per year.
(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.)