Through the first three games of the season, Boise State’s Hank Bachmeier has proven to be mentally tough. Sometimes, ill-advisedly so. But that trait is something the Broncos hope carries Bachmeier through Friday night against Air Force. Here’s the perception in the Colorado Springs Gazette: “Rattling Boise State’s freshman QB Hank Bachmeier imperative for Air Force football.” The Falcons see a true freshman out there. “There’s so much that goes in when you put a game plan together, it’s not only the age of a quarterback,” Falcons coach Troy Calhoun said. “Not that that’s not a factor, because it’s certainly a variable we’re going to consider.”
Brent Briggeman points out that the worst two games of Brett Rypien’s college career came in losses to Air Force as a freshman and sophomore. “The Falcons blitzed from everywhere and took away short routes, daring the Broncos to complete low-percentage deep passes but then limiting their time to do so. Rypien completed just 32 of 74 passes in those two matchups while taking six sacks,” writes Briggeman. But are those deep throws as low-percentage with Bachmeier? Here’s some of that exquisite research from KTVB’s Jay Tust: Bachmeier is tied for third among all FBS QBs this season with 19 completions of 20 or more yards. He’s on pace for 82 such pass plays. The national leader leader last year was Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa with 72.
DON’T GO BY THE DEPTH CHART
Boise State coach Bryan Harsin doesn’t comment on injuries unless they’re season-ending. By the same token, the Bronco depth chart doesn’t change, either. So this week, John Ojukwu is listed as the starter at right tackle, Ezra Cleveland at left tackle and DeAndre Pierce at safety. Those are three really good football players. But Boise State could be missing all three again versus Air Force. The beleaguered offensive line will feel the absence of its respected bookends. And how much will the Broncos miss Pierce and his leadership Friday night with a defensive challenge like this looming? Ojukwu and Pierce have both been gone since injuries at Florida State, and Cleveland was not suited up for Portland State last week.
KIESAU: THE MAN BEHIND THE SACKS
The trivia gem of the week came Wednesday from Boise State wide receivers coach Eric Kiesau during his session with the media. You know that Curtis Weaver tied a Bronco single-game record with four sacks last Saturday against Portland State. And you know that the last player to do it was Chris Wing in 1996 against those same Vikings. Well, Kiesau revealed that he was the Portland State quarterback that Wing nailed four times 23 years ago. Sure enough, Kiesau’s there in the box score of Boise State’s 33-22 win. He had a pretty good night, going 24-of-32 for 283 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. But Kiesau was sacked nine times total by the Broncos. Egads.
MW NON-CONFERENCE NUGGETS
The two most compelling games in the Mountain West this week are the two humongous conference openers. One you are fully aware of on the blue turf. More on the other—Utah State at San Diego State—here on Friday. But there are other storylines. Colorado State hosts Toledo and is in real danger of going 1-3. Turns out quarterback Collin Hill has been lost for the season with another torn ACL. New Mexico coach Bob Davie will be back a week from Saturday as he recovers from a serious health issue suffered after the season opener. He’ll miss the Lobos’ rivalry game Saturday against New Mexico State. And we’ll find out a lot more about Wyoming when the Cowboys visit Tulsa Saturday. The MW would surely enjoy a win over the American conference.
QUALITY ROAD FOE FOR ISU
Idaho State travels to meet perennial FCS power Northern Iowa Saturday. The Panthers, ranked eighth in the country, are 1-1 and are rested after a bye week. Both ISU and NIU have Power 5 experience under their belts. The Bengals were skunked by Utah 31-0 last week, while the Panthers took Iowa State to the brink in the season opener before falling 29-26 in overtime. Northern Iowa sounds imposing, but it’s controllable offensively. The Panthers are averaging just 314.5 yards per game. If Kody Graves and his defensive mates are on point, Idaho State has has a chance. Graves, the junior linebacker from Skyview High, is the Bengals’ leading tackler and had 13 stops against the Utes.
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS FOR WILSON
Cedrick Wilson was signed off the practice squad by Dallas last week as the Cowboys’ No. 5 receiver, replacing the injured Tavon Austin. Theoretically, the Boise State product, is up a notch now. Michael Gallup, the former Colorado State star, tore the meniscus in his left knee last Sunday at Washington and will be out 2-4 weeks. Dallas will look to Wilson and Devin Smith to pick up the slack. Wilson made 11 receptions for 122 yards and also returned punts and kickoffs in the preseason before being released on Cutdown Day. He made his NFL debut last week—his only touch was on a punt return.
THE RECRUITING BAR RAISED
Catching up on new recruits in the Boise State women’s basketball program. The Broncos got a commitment Monday from Elodie Lalotte from San Juan Capistrano, CA. Lalotte is a 6-3 power forward, originally from France, who also had offers from Washington State and New Mexico. That came on the heels of a verbal late last week from Alexis Mark, a 5-11 guard from Chatsworth, CA. Marks plays for Sierra Canyon School, the defending CIF Open Division champion. It appears that three Mountain West titles in four years carry some weight on the recruiting trail for coach Gordy Presnell.
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September 19, 1992: Defending national champion and second-ranked Washington wins one of the highest-profile games of the college football season, 29-14 over No. 12 Nebraska at Husky Stadium. UW recovered two fumbles and grabbed an interception to keep the Cornhuskers at bay and scored two touchdowns in 42 seconds in the fourth quarter to pull away. It would turn out to be legendary coach Don James’ final season with the Huskies, who would finish 9-3.
(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.)