Okay, so the Golden Era is over for Boise State. If you really, really think about it, well, how are Bronco players feeling right now? These are 18 to 23-year-old kids who are really hearing about it after the disappointing 19-point loss to Virginia on the blue turf. The majority of them are from out of town. They were recruited to Boise on the notion that the city has great fans who back the team. There’s a generation of Broncos who have never heard boos like they did in the third quarter last week when everything went so terribly wrong—Brett Rypien’s bad incompletion to Cedrick Wilson on a miscommunicated route, followed by a timeout on fourth-and-one, and a delay of game penalty coming out of that. The booing is a knee-jerk reaction at the height of fan frustration. But it can have a lasting effect. Just sayin’.
Boise State wide receiver A.J. Richardson went vertical for the first time this season in last Friday night’s loss to Virginia. Richardson had five receptions for 80 yards, 33 of them on back-to-back catches to start the Broncos’ touchdown drive at the end of the first half. It’s still not Thomas Sperbeck-esque, though, behind Cedrick Wilson. For the season, Richardson has 13 catches for 152 yards. Sean Modster made just one grab for four yards and had the well-chronicled three drops against the Cavaliers. Modster has six receptions for just 26 yards on the season. No wideout other than Wilson has a touchdown catch. But that’s 2017 for you.
It seems like everybody has a bye this week. In fact, Idaho State is the only one of the state’s four football-playing schools that’s active (the Bengals host Cal Poly Saturday afternoon). Idle Boise State will tempted to cast an eye on the BYU-Utah State game Friday, since they face the Cougars in Provo next week—and the Aggies in Logan later in October. The Broncos won’t be able to scout their old friend Tanner Mangum, though, as the Eagle High grad is expected to miss the USU game while he rehabs the left ankle he injured at the end of BYU’s loss at Utah. No matter who’s called the signals for the Cougars, it’s been tough sledding this season. They’re dead last in the country in scoring at 9.8 points per game (the only team that’s not scoring in double-digits).
New Mexico quarterback Lamar Jordan is back after undergoing concussion protocol and will start Saturday against Air Force, according to coach Bob Davie. Jordan was knocked out of the Lobos’ 28-14 loss at Boise State two weeks ago after a targeting hit by the Broncos’ Chase Hatada, and he missed last Saturday’s 16-13 victory at Tulsa. “It was a good football hit,” Jordan said of the shot he took from Hatada. “I didn’t think it was dirty, or nothing like that. Like my pops told me growing up, that’s football. You’re gonna take big hits, especially if you’re on the offense.” Coltin Gerhart, who came on for Jordan on the blue turf, was pretty good at Tulsa last week, rushing for 156 yards.
Doug Martin originally thought he’d be returning to action with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota this week after serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse recovery. But the postponement of the Bucs’ opener versus Miami on September 10 due to Hurricane Irma pushed Martin’s 2017 debut back a week. Now it’ll be a week from Sunday at home against the New York Giants. There was a time that we thought fellow former Boise State star Jeremy McNichols was going to be the beneficiary of Martin’s unfortunate circumstance, but McNichols flamed out in Tampa Bay and is on San Francisco’s practice squad now. The Buccaneers’ leading rusher is Jacquizz Rodgers, the former Oregon State standout, with 24 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown.
In case you missed it, former Boise State standout Tanner Vallejo made his first career tackle for the Buffalo Bills Sunday, one week after his NFL debut. The treasured stat came in the 26-16 win over the Denver Broncos—the debut had come versus the Carolina Panthers on September 17. Elsewhere, maybe it just took a change of continents to get Kamalei Correa off the schneid, but the former Boise State star played a lot better in Baltimore’s 44-7 loss to Jacksonville Sunday at London’s Wembley Stadium. Correa had two tackles, a pass deflection and a quarterback hit for the Ravens across the pond. Maybe it’s a harbinger of better things to come for the 2016 second-round draft pick.
Of the two Boise natives in the majors this season, one is headed to the postseason—and the other is not. James Hoyt seems to have regained his rhythm with the AL West champion Houston Astros, allowing just one earned run in his last 11 appearances, taking his ERA from a bloated 5.86 down to 4.50. The Boise High grad threw one perfect inning with two strikeouts in the Astros’ 11-2 rout of the Texas Rangers Monday night. Bishop Kelly alum Josh Osich has had a challenging season, right along with the rest of the San Francisco Giants. In his last 10 games, Osich has allowed no runs eight times—and four runs twice. He’s 3-2 this year with a sky-high ERA of 6.31. Osich’s next month is going to bear watching.
And this final note on a beautiful, sunny autumn day: Boise State men’s basketball practice officially starts Monday. Players have been working amongst themselves all summer, re-tooling things with Paris Austin now gone. Make no mistake—Austin, now at Cal, was a good player and is a significant loss. But the Broncos developed depth at the guard position as last season progressed, with true freshman Justinian Jessup starting and growing all season, and fellow true freshmen Alex Hobbs and Marcus Dickinson emerging late. It’ll be interesting now to see how graduate transfer Lexus Williams from Valparaiso fits in.
This Day In Sports…September 27, 1997, 20 years ago today:
Boise State suffers the worst loss in its history—a 58-0 shutout at Washington State. The Cougars, in the middle of their first Rose Bowl season in 67 years, held the Broncos to 115 total yards—their second-lowest output ever. It was (and still is) one of only two shutouts ever suffered by Boise State as a four-year school. Houston Nutt, in his only season as Bronco coach, gave the team a pep talk after the game, and it recovered to go 3-4 the rest of the season and beat Idaho in the Kibbie Dome for the first time in 16 years.
(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.)