While we bide our time during a bye week, we mark a memorable 10th anniversary for Boise State football. It was on this day in 2008 that the Broncos picked up a landmark win, their first-ever over a BCS/Power 5 school on the road, with a 37-32 victory at Oregon. It was the one validation long-time naysayers had been looking for, even a year and a half after Boise State’s first Fiesta Bowl. And who was in the middle of it all? Redshirt freshman quarterback Kellen Moore, who was remarkably unfazed by the loud throng of 58,713 in sold-out Autzen Stadium, throwing for 386 yards and three touchdowns in only his third college game.
Moore keyed a 24-point second quarter that allowed Boise State to hold off a wild fourth quarter Ducks rally. But it was the third quarter that gave the Broncos enough breathing room to win. The play of the game happened then. Moore was calling signals with Vinny Perretta lined up next to him. Perretta quickly shifted wide into the slot, and Moore noticed that Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews (Clay’s brother) followed Vinny out there. Bingo. Kellen lofted a pass over Matthews’ head and right into Perretta’s arms, and the latter dashed 73 yards for a touchdown that put the Broncos up 31-13. Despite a 10-3 season in 2007, the Broncos had to start over in the polls. They made their season debut at No. 19 in the AP Poll and No. 20 in the Coaches Poll after the win in Eugene, and they wouldn’t lose until the Poinsettia Bowl.
Back to the present—accentuating Brett Rypien’s hot start is the fact that Boise State and Hawaii are two of only 14 FBS teams remaining that haven’t thrown an interception this season. UH quarterback Cole McDonald and Rypien are one-two in the conference in pass efficiency, with ratings of 190.4 and 179.4, respectively. McDonald, in fact, leads the nation in passing yards with 1,486 (although he has played four games already). The Broncos and Rainbow Warriors don’t meet during the regular season. But if Hawaii keeps playing well—and if Boise State gets back to business—could McDonald and Rypien meet on December 1?
Jalen Walker’s fill-in start at cornerback for Tyler Horton at Oklahoma State got me thinking about Reid Harrison-Ducros, and what might have been. Harrison-Ducros left the Broncos in mid-November last year, about six weeks after he was replaced in the starting lineup by Avery Williams. So it was Walker who replaced the injured Horton in the Las Vegas Bowl and last Saturday at OSU—in two high-profile Bronco games. Harrison-Ducros ended up at Duquesne in Pittsburgh, the same FCS program quarterback Tommy Stuart landed at when he departed after the 2016 season. Harrison-Ducros has 13 tackles and a pass breakup so far for the Dukes. Duquesne lost its opener 63-15 at Massachusetts but has won three games since. The Dukes will be a significant underdog Saturday night at Hawaii.
ESPN lists Boise State’s defeat at Oklahoma State as one of the four worst non-conference losses of the season, not in a New Year’s Six way, but in a College Football Playoff way. Writes Heather Dinich, “Multiple former selection committee members have said they do believe there is a chance for a Group of 5 team to be in the CFP debate—but it has to win these big non-conference games. The Broncos lost their opportunity at even being considered for a top four spot with the 23-point loss to Oklahoma State. The highest-ranked champion from the Group of 5 is guaranteed a spot in a New Year’s Six Bowl, but if any team is going to make a case for more than that, the stars have to align. It has to be undefeated, win a game like this, and the entire conference has to be held in high regard by the committee.”
Idaho State and North Dakota have something in common as they prepare to face off in ISU’s Big Sky opener Saturday in Grand Forks. Both played relatively well in payday road games against Pac-12 schools this month. The Bengals fell 45-23 to Cal in Berkeley last Saturday, while the Fighting Hawks lost 45-3 to Washington two weeks ago in Seattle in a game that saw the Huskies score 21 fourth quarter points to finally pull away. ISU was able to get the long ball going some against the Bears, with Mitch Gueller making six catches for 156 yards and a touchdown, including receptions of 63 and 54 yards. Maybe the Bengals can be more multi-dimensional versus an FCS foe. North Dakota is no longer in the Big Sky, but any conference member who plays UND this season will have that game counted in the standings.
The Seattle Seahawks appreciate what Marcus Henry brings to the table, even if he never plays an NFL regular season snap. Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times that the Seahawks have re-signed Henry to their practice squad as they compensate for center Justin Britt’s shoulder injury. This is pretty cool for the former Boise State star, who’s had a second taste of the NFL this year (this is his third stint with Seattle in 2018). Henry is from Bellevue, so he grew up a Seahawks fan. Britt was hurt during the fourth quarter of the 24-17 loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.
Can you believe it? Boise State men’s basketball practice is around the corner. The Mountain West has announced that 17 of the Broncos’ games (not including the Cayman Islands Classic) are slated for national telecasts of some sort during the 2018-19 season, but it’s important to drill that down. There aren’t any on ESPN’s main stages, and just two that have a chance at ESPNU. Seven are scheduled for CBS Sports Network, and four will be on AT&T SporttsNet (ROOT Sports locally). Only one weeknight home game has been tagged with the dreaded 9 p.m. tipoff—the date with UNLV on Wednesday, February 6.
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September 20, 2013, five years ago today: Fresno State finally snaps Boise State’s seven-game winning streak in the battle for the Milk Can with a thrilling 41-40 victory at sold-out Bulldog Stadium. The Broncos fell behind 34-19 in the third quarter before scoring 21 straight points to take the lead midway through the fourth. But quarterback Derek Carr, who riddled Boise State with 460 passing yards and four touchdowns, marched Fresno State 87 yards for the winning score. For Carr, it was an emotional atonement for the Broncos’ legendary 35-30 upset of the eighth-ranked Bulldogs in 2001, when his older brother, David, was quarterback.
(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.)