Boise State has the longest streak of 1,000-yard rushers in the nation at 11 seasons. Can the Broncos make it 12? Sure they can, but the math is compressed. It’s easy to figure out, though. If Boise State plays all eight games, plus the Mountain West championship game, plus a bowl game, the team’s feature running back (presumably George Holani) would have to average exactly 100 yards a game. If the Broncos don’t make the title game and play nine, it would have to be just over 111 yards a game. Eight games, with perhaps a COVID cancellation woven in? Holani would have to go for 125 per. Anything beyond that, we don’t want to think about. Last year, Holani averaged 72.4 yards per game, but Boise State played 14 games, and he nudged over the threshold at 1,014 yards.
In his media session Sunday, Holani was asked what gives him the great vision he displayed last season as a true freshman. “Rugby probably played a role in that,” Holani said. “Being a rugby player, you’ve gotta be able to see the whole field. Just learning the game, as I get older, it’s all about angles. You’ve gotta hit it downhill, but make sure you learn the angles of the game.” Holani found all the angles at Utah State last November, rushing for 178 yards and two touchdowns on just 16 carries. It’s the Aggies he’ll face out of the gate on October 24.
Jordan Happle has found a new football home, and it’s as home as it gets for him—at Oregon. Happle left Boise State and went into the transfer portal last week and was pulled right out by the Ducks and defensive coordinator Andy Avalos. Happle, who’s from Portland, tweeted that he’s going Oregon to “fulfill my dream.” He must have had Avalos in his corner, because the Ducks have returned to their status as one of the top recruiting programss in the country. Avalos may be a Boise State alum and longtime assistant coach, but make no mistake: he is loyal to his current employer. As for Happle, it’s ironic. The first big play he made as a Bronco was an interception of the Ducks’ Justin Herbert in the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl.
RYPIEN ON STANDBY
Word out of Denver is that Broncos quarterback Drew Lock will start throwing today for the first time since the injury to his throwing shoulder on September 20. Then the Broncos will decide if Lock can go this Sunday against the New England Patriots (coach Vince Fangio said last Friday he was “50/50”). Brett Rypien will start if Lock can’t, and it would seem Denver won’t want to rush Lock back into action. When he does return, will Rypien be able to hang around as his backup? The former Boise State star is obviously ahead of Jeff Driskel on the depth chart for the long-term. And it sure looks like he’s ahead of recently-signed band-aid Blake Bortles.
DOES KELLEN NEED TO PUT UP 700?
The even-keeled Kellen Moore has to be frustrated right now (understanding that some Dallas fans are frustrated with him, especially with sluggishness in the first half). But what’s an offensive coordinator to do? The Cowboys offense racked up 566 yards at home against Cleveland Sunday—and Dallas still lost 49-38. Over the past three games, quarterback Dak Prescott made some mistakes, but he has thrown for 1,424 yards, the most over a three-game stretch in NFL history.
The killer is that defense, one that allowed 307 rushing yards to the Browns, the most in the storied Cowboys franchise history. Former Boise State star DeMarcus Lawrence doesn’t mince words. We got to hold ourselves to a higher standard,” Lawrence told The Athletic. “We got to play together as one. And I don’t feel like we are holding ourselves accountable, including myself. So, I call the s—t soft, and we will get better from it.” Lawrence’s Twitter rant wasn’t that tame.
MATTISON, TAYLOR AND HIGHTOWER
Here are three highlights from former Broncos in the NFL Sunday. Alexander Mattison scored his second NFL touchdown, and it was the clinching one in Minnesota’s 31-23 win at Houston. Mattison was held to 17 yards on seven carries, though. San Francisco signed Jamar Taylor to its practice squad last Friday, and he was activated for Sunday Night Football against Philadelphia. Taylor came in after K’Wuan Williams was injured early in the fourth quarter, and on his first snap he blitzed Carson Wentz and sacked him. Three minutes later for the Eagles, John Hightower pulled in a Wentz throw on a crucial fourth-and-four for nine yards and a first down. The Eagles scored the go-ahead touchdown on the drive. Hightower had two catches for 22 yards.
THE YOTES AND THEIR 2020-21 ASSIGNMENT
Defending NAIA Division II national champion—well, we can’t say that, because the NAIA Tournament never finished last March due to COVID-19. But College of Idaho still ended last season as the No. 1 team in the country with a 31-3 record, and the Coyotes will begin defense of that distinction on Thanksgiving weekend with the Taco Bell Shootout in Caldwell. That event will feature the only two non-conference games of the season, as the 2020-21 slate has been reduced to 24 games. The other 22 will be Cascade Conference contests. This season, there are no divisions in the NAIA; the all-in-one national tournament begins with Opening Round sites March 12-13, with the winners advancing to the final site in Kansas City.
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October 6, 2010, 10 years ago today: Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay becomes the second major leaguer ever to throw a no-hitter in postseason play. The only other one was the legendary perfect game by the Yankees’ Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series. Halladay, making his first playoff appearance of a 13-year big league career, allowed just one batter to reach base (on a walk) in the Phillies’ 4-0 win over the Reds in the first game of the National League Divisional Series. It was quite a year for Halladay—he had thrown a perfect game earlier in the season against the Florida Marlins. Halladay died tragically in a plane crash three years ago.
(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.)