Although he showed no signs of it, you can’t help but think Boise State quarterback Hank Bachmeier was nicked up after the all the hits he absorbed over the first four games of the season. So the Broncos’ bye week had to benefit the true freshman as much as anyone. It’ll be interesting to see what a fresh Bachmeier can do Saturday night at UNLV. We have a good idea of what he can do on third down. Bachmeier has passed for 454 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions on third down this season, completing 70 percent of his throws and averaging 12 yards per attempt. Twenty-one of his 26 attempts have gone for first downs or touchdowns. He has 736 passing yards on the other downs, with two TDs and three picks, and his accuracy at 61 percent.
Boise State is seventh in the country in third-down conversions at 53.2 percent, with an assist from not only Bachmeier, but also guys like CT Thomas, Khalil Shakir, John Hightower and Akilian Butler. But there’s still that red zone issue to take care of. The Broncos have converted only 47 percent of their red zone trips into touchdowns, the 113th-best rate in the country. And that has factored into scoring, which should be higher than 31.3 points per game when you average 476 yards of total offense.
THE GENERALLY SMOOTH OCTOBER ROAD
The road warrior thing has been kind of under the radar for Boise State, but the Broncos are shooting for their sixth straight road victory Saturday night at UNLV. That streak dates back to the victory at Wyoming just over a year ago. You have to like Boise State’s chances of extending it now that October is here. The Broncos are 18-3 in October under Bryan Harsin—and 68-4 in the month since a loss at Rice in 2001. That 45-14 defeat was so bitter that Boise State won its next 50 October games in a row. That’s right, 50. The run ran almost all the way through the Dan Hawkins and Chris Petersen eras. It didn’t end until a 37-20 loss at BYU in 2013, Coach Pete’s final season at Boise State.
ARMANI ON THE SIDELINE
The Broncos may not see UNLV quarterback Armani Rogers Saturday night, not that they wouldn’t like to. Rogers, who sprained his knee at Wyoming last week, was held out of practice Wednesday and will not start versus Boise State, though he will be available. Backup Kenyon Oblad took the first-team reps Wednesday and will get the call at QB. “(Rogers) didn’t look 100 percent,” coach Tony Sanchez told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We decided to rest him up and get Kenyon ready to go.” Rogers has completed only 52 percent of his passes this season, with two touchdowns and three interceptions. The Broncos’ biggest challenge will be Rebels tailback Charles Williams, who was also injured at Wyoming but is said to be 100 percent and was full-go in practice this week.
MW HOPES THE AGGIES WILL REPRESENT
The Mountain West has two matchups remaining against the Power 5 in the regular season. One of them is Saturday, and it’s plenty interesting. But Utah State will need quarterback Jordan Love to bring his “A” game at LSU. Love, the Preseason MW Offensive Player of the Year, has thrown for 1,210 yards and six touchdowns this season—but with five interceptions. His pass efficiency rating is a middling 133.4, fourth in the league. The conference’s eight victories so far against Power 5 opponents are the most since 2008, when it set the record with 10 such wins. Even with a USU upset in Death Valley, the MW is unlikely to break that mark, as UNLV travels to Vanderbilt next week. (But wait: San Jose State-Arkansas…)
VANDALS HAVE SOME REBOUNDING TO DO
Exhilaration one week, exasperation the next. What’ll it be for Idaho against fourth-ranked Weber State Saturday in the Kibbie Dome? The two teams haven’t met since 1995, Idaho’s final season in its previous Big Sky life. The Wildcats of today are pretty darn good. They’re coming off an impressive 29-17 win over ninth-ranked Northern Iowa. One key for the Vandals is doing something they didn’t do in the upset loss at Northern Colorado: getting after the quarterback, whomever it may be. Weber’s Kaden Jenks had been getting into a rhythm after taking over several weeks ago for the injured Jake Constantine, the one-time Boise State backup. But Jenks dinged his arm versus Northern Iowa, and Constantine is close to coming back.
GONE BEFORE IT EVEN STARTED
We may never know what it was, but something must have happened. B.J. Rains of the Idaho Press reports that forward Mikey Frazier “is no longer a member of the Boise State men’s basketball team.” Per Boise State, Rain tweeted, “Both sides agreed it was in Mikey’s best interest to continue his athletic and academic career elsewhere.” You don’t invest a year as a redshirt and then abruptly part ways just over a week into preseason practice without a sudden change or tipping point. I, for one, was looking forward to seeing Frazier, a 6-10, 255-pounder from Salt Lake City.
This weekend brings your first sneak peak at the revived Boise State baseball program. The Broncos will be hosting Northwest Nazarene this evening and MSU Billings tomorrow afternoon in scrimmages at Memorial Stadium. Admission and parking are free for both. The Bronco women’s soccer team beat San Jose State 1-0 last night on another Raimee Sherle goal. And two Boise State gymnasts, one former and one current, are entered in the FIS Artistic World Championships, which begin today in Stuttgart, Germany. Sandra Collantes, currently a student manager with the Broncos, will be representing Peru, and current senior Courtney McGregor will compete for New Zealand, Both will be seeking bids to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. McGregor was an Olympian in 2016 in Rio.
Local eyes were on Graham DeLaet Thursday as he returned to the PGA Tour after two years away. The injury-beleaguered former Boise State standout and Eagle resident opened the Shriners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas with bogeys on four of his first five holes, including a triple-bogey on No. 3. Two more bogeys would kick off the back nine, but DeLaet settled down from there. He birdied three consecutive holes on the back and shot a two-over 75. Troy Merritt was great out of the gate with a five-under 66. He’s tied for eighth. And the 2019-20 Idaho Steelheads get their first competitive icetime tonight in the first of two exhibition games against the Utah Grizzlies. After tonight’s contest in West Valley City, the two teams travel to Boise for a Saturday night game in CenturyLink Arena.
This Day In Sports…brought to you by LOUIE’S PIZZA & ITALIAN RESTAURANT…an Idaho tradition for more than 50 years!
October 4, 2014, five years ago today: At six hours and 23 minutes, it’s the longest postseason game in major league history. Washington was one out away from evening the National League Divisional Series against San Francisco when the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval delivered a run-scoring double to tie the game 1-1 in the top of the ninth. The game went on, inning after scoreless inning, until San Francisco’s Brandon Belt smacked a solo home run in the 18th to decide it. Only one other postseason game in baseball history lasted 18 innings—when Houston beat Atlanta in a 2005 NLDS contest.
(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.)