The Boise State quarterback battle is indeed wide open right now—not only due to Chase Cord’s healing ACL, but Hank Bachmeier’s considerable skills. Bachmeier is blossoming, it appears. Maybe it just seems that way because the media has more access to practice now than it did in the spring, but it’s clear that the true freshman from Murrieta, CA, can play. Bachmeier’s spring game performance is all most people have seen, and it isn’t a fair barometer of what he can do; he was 3-for-3 for 33 yards before misfiring on his final four attempts (with the help of one drop). Cord is still the favorite if he’s healthy. Um, you may have heard that. Keep in mind that if Bachmeier plays in the Florida State game, he could still redshirt this year.
THE BROTHERS KANIHO ON THE BLUE TURF?
Boise State safety Kekaula Kaniho’s younger brother, Kaonohi, confirmed via Twitter Thursday that he is the fifth commit in the Broncos’ 2020 recruiting class after another trademark “Go Broncos” tweet from coach Bryan Harsin. The younger Kaniho, a 5-10, 160-pound cornerback, is going into his senior year at Kahuku High in Hawaii. He’s rated as the No. 11 prospect in Hawaii by 247 Sports. If Kaonohi plays as a true freshman in 2020, the Kanihos might be able to get on the field at the same time.
MATTISON MAY SIT
As excited as everybody is to see Alexander Mattison play in an NFL uniform, USA Today’s Kyle Ratke suggests that—while the former Boise State star has been impressing in training camp—it may not happen tonight when Minnesota visits New Orleans. “Hopefully he can play and then if he can, then we will give him a good dose,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said on Wednesday. “We will have to see if he can play or not.” Writes Radke, “Judging by the nature of Zimmer’s comments, it feels like there’s some sort of injury.” Mattison, Minnesota’s third-round draft pick this spring, is listed as the No. 2 running back behind Dalvin Cook on Minnesota’s first depth chart.
THURSDAY NIGHT BRONCO BITS
As indicated before the game by Denver coach Vic Fangio, Brett Rypien did not play in the Broncos’ 22-6 loss in Seattle Thursday night. Jamar Taylor did play for the Seahawks, making three tackles. Elsewhere, the best showing by a Boise State product came from Jeremy McNichols, who led Tennessee in rushing in a 27-10 win over Philadelphia. McNichols had eight carries for 44 yards and busted off a 37-yarder for the Titans. Other standouts included Baltimore’s Sean Modster, who made good on all three of his targets in the Ravens’ 29-0 shutout of Jacksonville with three catches for 17 yards. And Durrant Miles logged two tackles with a sack in Atlanta’s 34-27 loss to Miami.
THE LONGSHOT IN THE KIBBIE DOME
Idaho jumps into its first fall camp scrimmage Saturday afternoon in Moscow. With doubts persisting (at least in the fan base) over how far quarterbacks Mason Petrino and Colton Richardson can take the Vandals this season, inquiring minds will be anxious to see what Nikhil Nayar looks like. Nayar is a 6-5, 227-pound redshirt freshman, giving Idaho the height Petrino lacks—and minus the pounds the plague Richardson. As a senior at Mercer Island outside Seattle in 2017, Nayar threw for 2,525 yards and 30 touchdowns and added 300 rushing yards and a score. Coach paul Petrino has said he’ll get equal reps early in camp. Can Nayar make a run at the starter’s job?
MERRITT’S MARVELOUS DAY IN JERSEY
It may have been the best performance of Troy Merritt’s life in a high-stakes round of golf. The Meridian resident and former Boise State standout opened the FedExCup Playoffs with a nine-under 62 on Thursday for a one-shot lead in The Northern Trust. Merritt’s score tied the course record at Liberty National in Jersey City, NJ. He started the day with a 10-foot par save—then he drained a pair of 20-foot birdie putts, and he was off and running. “It’s nice to make some putts early,” said Merritt after his round. “It gives you confidence—and they kept going in.” The math was easy: nine birdies and no bogeys on the rain-softened course. Three more rounds that are merely similar, and Merritt will advance to the BMW Championship next week.
SOCCER GOES INDOORS, AND SCORING GOES UP
The U.S. National Arena Soccer team faces Mexico Saturday night in CenturyLink Arena, and Landon Donovan is the featured performer. Donovan, who plays for the San Diego Sockers in the Major Arena Soccer League, is the career leader in assists for the U.S. Men’s National Team and is tied with Clint Dempsey for all-time points. He’s also the namesake for Major League Soccer’s MVP honor, the Landon Donovan Award. He was on Idaho SportsTalk yesterday and said he’s thoroughly enjoying this phase of his career. “This is soccer without the pressure and expectations,” said Donovan. “We just go out and have fun. It’s fast and high-scoring.” He said that while growing up often visited extended family and friends in the Treasure Valley and looks forward to seeing a familiar throng.
FLOODGATES OPEN ON THE HAWKS
Most of the Boise Hawks—those who weren’t selected for Tuesday’s All-Star Game—got a rare three-day midseason break before going back at it Thursday night against Eugene. Thing is, the Emeralds were rested, too, and they ripped the Hawks 9-3. The Ems plated four runs in the top of the first inning and didn’t look back. The highlights of the night for Boise consisted of first-round draft pick Michael Toglia’s eighth and ninth home runs of the season, a pair of solo shots.
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August 9, 1969: One of the most successful of former Boise Hawks, Troy Percival, is born. Percival played two seasons in Boise, the first as a catcher; manager Tom Kotchman helped convert him to a closer in 1991. He went on to become the Angels’ career leader in saves, retired in 2006 after one injury-shortened season with the Tigers, and then returned in 2007 with the Cardinals and pitched another two seasons with Tampa Bay. Percival notched 358 career saves and was the first ex-Hawk ever to play in the All-Star Game (in 1997). Troy Percival is 50 years old today.
(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.)