One thing BYU’s Tanner Mangum had looked forward to was a start against Boise State on the blue turf, the field where he starred at quarterback at Eagle High. It wasn’t to be two years ago, as Taysom Hill had returned for a fifth season of eligibility and went the distance in the Cougars’ 28-27 loss to the Broncos. Now Mangum is a senior, but he was benched three weeks ago in favor of true freshman and one-time Boise State commit Zach Wilson. “It’s just part of the game,” Mangum said last week. “It’s something that comes with playing the position, and it’s never easy, but that’s just the way it is. You make sure you take that same mindset of staying positive and working hard.” Mangum will be suited up in his familiar No. 12 this Saturday. “You’re always one play away so you have to be prepared,” said Mangum.
Mangum had a pass efficiency rating of just 115.4 six games into the season, hitting 5.7 yards per attempt with five touchdowns agains three interceptions. Wilson, who flipped to BYU at the 11th hour before the early signing day last December, has completed 63 percent of his passes and thrown for 402 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in his two starts. Coach Bryan Harsin said yesterday there’s nothing weird about seeing a guy he knows so well wearing No. 11 in blue and white this week. “That’s just part of recruiting,” said Harsin. “It’s not an awkward deal. We don’t really worry about the ones we don’t get—we worry about the ones we get, and try to develop them.”
Mangum’s and Wilson’s counterpart, Boise State’s Brett Rypien, is on a roll not only in the obvious stats, but the ones that are sometimes off the radar. My KTVB colleague, Jay Tust, has been all over this one. A tweet by Tust detailed Rypien’s performance on third-and-10 and longer. This season he is 18-of-24 for 366 yards and three touchdowns in those situations and has earned a first down 58 percent of the time. At Air Force Rypien was 4-of-5 on third-and-10 or more, and after the one incompletion, he hit CT Thomas for the momentum-changing 35-yard TD on fourth-and-10 right before halftime. Tust is hoping the nickname “The Eraser” will stick, as in, erasing long down-and-distance deficits.
Utah State’s Jordan Love, not Rypien, is Mountain West Player of the Week. What’s a conference to do? Love threw for 448 yards and four touchdowns in the first half—first half—of the Aggies’ 61-19 thumping of New Mexico Saturday. Love played one quick series in the second half and took the rest of the day off. The yardage was the most by a USU quarterback in 18 years (in fact, since a 66-38 loss at Boise State in 2000). Rypien threw for 399 yards and five TDs at Air Force. I would have put up Bronco wide receiver John Hightower as a player of the week candidate, with his eight catches, 182 yards and three TDs.
A writer in Salt Lake City suggests a Utah-Utah State matchup in the Las Vegas Bowl could be in the offing in December. But both of those teams could be too good for that. The Aggies debuted in the rankings Sunday all the way up at No. 18 in the AP Poll and No. 20 in the Coaches Poll after punishing New Mexico. At 7-1, USU is off to its best start since 1965 and is ranked for the first time since 2012. The Aggies have won seven games in a row with an average score of 50-20 during that stretch. Speaking of 50-20, that was the count for Fresno State Saturday night as the Bulldogs humbled Hawaii. Fresno State is also in the rankings now—No. 20 in AP and No. 23 on the Coaches list.
There’s some grumbling in Seattle following Washington’s 12-10 loss at Cal Saturday. Nobody up there is putting Chris Petersen on the trading block, but Larry Stone of the Seattle Times calls it “undeniably one of the low moments of the Petersen regime.” Maybe it can be explained away as a case of the Huskies being victimized by Coach Pete’s old defensive mastermind at Boise State, Bears coach Justin Wilcox. Petersen actually pulled star quarterback Jake Browning in favor of redshirt freshman Jake Haener late in the third quarter. But on his second pass, Haener threw a 37-yard pick-six that accounted for Cal’s winning points. UW offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan, the one-time Bronco QB, was willing to take some play-calling heat. “Not a good enough job mixing it up on my part,” said Hamdan.
Kellen Moore is not the fall guy for the struggles of the Dallas Cowboys offense this season. But Paul Alexander is. Dallas coach Jason Garrett has fired Alexander, his offensive line coach, in his first in-season staff change since taking over as head coach full-time in 2011. Marc Colombo has been promoted to replace Alexander. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has already been sacked 23 times this year. Prescott has been inconsistent this season, but a lack of protection and other O-line mishaps are seen as the main culprits. Moore and the Cowboys get back to work tomorrow coming out of their bye week and will face the Tennessee Titans next Monday night. Maybe the arrival of Amari Cooper from Oakland will help Prescott—and Moore.
Chandler Hutchison has to be flexible as he gets his feet wet in the NBA. The former Boise State star has gone from a few minutes to zero to a starter, all in the matter of a week with Chicago. Hutchison came off the bench to score eight points in 13 minutes in the Bulls’ first victory, 112-110 over Charlotte last Wednesday. Then on the road at Charlotte last Friday, he got his first start but went scoreless (although he did pull down seven rebounds). Start No. 2 came at Detroit Saturday night, with four points, four boards and two steals in 18 minutes. Last night Hutchison had the pleasure of facing the two-time defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors. He started and scored three points while the Warriors’ Klay Thompson was hitting an NBA-record 14 three-pointers on the way to 52 points in a 149-124 win.
B.J. Rains of the Idaho Press reported kind-of secret details of the Boise State men’s hoops “secret scrimmage” against Weber State at Taco Bell Arena over the weekend. Nobody was allowed inside, but according to Rains’ source, the Broncos beat the Wildcats 84-66. “Junior college transfer RJ Williams led the Broncos with 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Justinian Jessup and Alex Hobbs sat out with minor injuries,” reported Rains. That one statistical line has to be encouraging for Boise State as it tries to fill the sizeable Hutchison void. Williams, the 6-7 guard from East Los Angeles College, is looking like a prime presence on the floor. He’ll have a chance to show it in front of real people next Monday night when the Broncos face Vanguard in an exhibition game.
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October 30, 2013, five years ago today: The Boston Red Sox, who had clinched World Series titles in 2004 and 2007 on the diamonds of their opponents (like they did Sunday night), finish a world championship at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918 with a 6-1 victory over St. Louis. Visible throughout was the “B Strong” logo mowed into the outfield in honor of the Boston Marathon bombing victims 6½ months earlier. Former Boise Hawk John Lackey won the decisive Game 6 for the Red Sox 11 years after his Game 7 victory gave the Anaheim Angels the 2002 World Series crown.
(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.)