Scott Slant Wednesday Weekly: Don’t forget this Bronco on Friday night

Through all the offensive angst since last week, the most important player for Boise State against San Diego State Friday night might not be Taylen Green, who’s officially been named the starting quarterback. It might be Jonah Dalmas. Where would the Broncos be without him? Dalmas has recovered from an off-night at Oregon State and has hit all five of his field goal attempts since the trip to Corvallis, two of them 48-yarders. Boise State needed three Dalmas field goals to get to 30 points against FCS foe UT-Martin. Last week in the debacle at UTEP, he scored the team’s only points of the first half. The Broncos were hoping they’d get touchdowns instead of field goals this year. Right now, it’s TDs nine, field goals six. They’re going to need the latter from Dalmas against the Aztecs.


Friday night is the Field Position Bowl on the blue turf. With neither offense likely to muster must (at least on paper), the team that keeps the other bottled up deep in its own territory will have a huge advantage. Which brings up the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week, San Diego State senior punter and kicker Jack Browning. In the Aztecs’ 17-14 squeaker over Toledo last Saturday, Browning averaged 40.4 yards on nine punts. More importantly, six of them landed inside the 20-yard line, and three of those were inside the 10. Browning also connected on his only field goal attempt of the game, a 50-yarder that was rather key in a 17-14 victory. It’ll be an interesting battle for points between Browning and Dalmas.


Green is now Boise State’s No. 1 quarterback moving forward. And Dirk Koetter has two more days to get him ready for arguably the Mountain West’s best defense, San Diego State. After the Oregon State game, you heard comparisons to a young Colin Kaepernick at Nevada. Well, Kaepernick made some vertical throws as a freshman that Green did not at OSU. Development is the key from here. Green has not thrown a pass since the loss to the Beavers. He’s taken eight snaps and has handed off each time (except for one kneel-down versus UT Martin). It’ll be intense Friday night on the Blue.


Why would Koetter take the interim offensive coordinator position at Boise State? Why not? He’s retired from the NFL, and he’s living in Boise, and his son is on the team. Koetter’s not doing this because he wants a job. He’s doing it as a hobby—and as a challenge. Oh, and because he cares. Having served as an offensive analyst since fall camp, he knows what the heck is going on down there. Now the San Diego State game has gone from ominous to interesting. But instant success may be elusive, as Rome wasn’t built in a week.


What can we expect when we’re unsure what Koetter’s got in his toolbox? There are four freshmen in the quarterbacks room. There’s an offensive line with clear deficiencies, leaving running backs in cramped quarters in the backfield. There are wide receivers who have been unable to stretch the field. Can Koetter scheme his way out of those issues? Somebody asked me what Koetter’s offenses were like from 1998-2000. He likes the vertical passing game. But Koetter might not be able to go there with this group. The prevailing theory is that he’ll come up with something, though.


First thing on Hank Bachmeier: he needs to be saluted for the time and effort he put into the Boise State program and his involvement in the community. He graduated early from high school so he could enroll early and become a Bronco. But Bachmeier’s decision to transfer, as shocking as it was, is best for all concerned. The book is now closed on his Boise State career, and a couple of things stand out. One thing Bachmeier didn’t do enough of during his four years was throw touchdown passes. In 29 career games, he threw for 41 TDs. It’s unfair to compare that to Kellen Moore’s pinball numbers, but Brett Rypien is fair. Rypien threw 90 touchdown passes in 50 games. To match him, Bachmeier would have to be around 55 at this point. The other thing: his career completion percentage was just 61.6 percent.


Last November, Boise State was a 2½-point favorite over San Diego State at the Aztecs’ temporary home in Carson, CA. Oddsmakers liked the Broncos’ four-game winning streak, with three of the victories coming by double-digits. And they lost by 11. What in the world do the oddsmakers like about Boise State now? Incredibly, after the fewest yards in 25 years and the sixth-fewest in school history, and all the chaos since, the Broncos are favored by 5½ points Friday night. That can only be due to the Aztecs’ offensive struggles, which are similar. SDSU quarterback Braxton Burmeister threw for only 11 yards in the first half against Toledo last week. But the difference is the Aztecs’ ground game behind Jordan Byrd. Just like always, right? Here’s an amazing number: the over/under for this game is 39.5 points.


Max Stege liked what he saw at Boise State, from the hometown feel to the mojo the Broncos are developing on the defensive line. Stege is a defensive lineman himself, from Germany no less, and last week he gave coach Andy Avalos his commitment for the recruiting class of 2023. He took his official visit to campus during the UT-Martin weekend. “My parents and I were blown away by everything they showed us,” Stege told 247 Sports. “We don’t have anything in Germany that comes close to that.” Stege is a 6-5, 250-pounder with tremendous upside. An international recruiting service said he could be the best defensive lineman in Europe.


Boise State’s weekend news cycle started last Friday—before we knew what was to come in the UTEP football game—with the Bronco Nation News report that Broncos redshirt freshman hoopster RJ Keene will miss the entire upcoming season due to a shoulder injury. Keene is supposed to be a Justinian Jessup-type 6-6 sharpshooter, but we’ll have to wait another year to find out. The Houston area product tweeted Tuesday that his surgery was a success and that he’ll be granted a medical redshirt. Boise State officially begins practice for the 2022-23 season today.


It’s still September, but new Idaho coach Jason Eck appears to be turning around the Vandals more quickly than anyone expected. Idaho is on fire on both sides of the ball after dominating Northern Arizona 27-10 last week in Flagstaff. Gevani McCoy has been a find at quarterback and was an ultra-efficient, going 18-of-20 for 184 yards and a touchdown at NAU. And the defense allowed 184 yards all night—just 33 in the second half. It wasn’t so long ago that the Vandals would give up 500 on a regular basis. Make no mistake, they are in the Big Sky race. It’s Homecoming this week in Moscow, with Northern Colorado visiting the Kibbie Dome Saturday night.


This season is shaping up to be something special at College of Idaho. The Coyotes are 4-0 after taking apart Eastern Oregon 41-0 last week and look to notch another one on Saturday. This one should be the toughest test yet, as the Yotes take their No. 11 NAIA ranking to Carroll College in Helena, MT. It’s a confident bunch, though. The running game has been amazing. A week after Hunter Gilbert rushed for 153 yards and three touchdowns at Southern Oregon, former Columbia High star Allamar Alexander put up 145 yards and three TDs in the shutout of the Mountaineers. C of I has rolled up 568 yards on the ground the past two weeks.


It starts between the pipes, and the Idaho Steelheads have last season’s primary goaltender back. Jake Kupsky returns after going 19-7-0 in 2021-22, with a 2.57 goals-against average and a 90.7 save percentage. The 26-year-old Kupsky first played in Boise in early 2020, winning both of his starts. The Steelies begin training camp on October 10. And did you know? This will be the franchise’s 25th season. The Steelheads open the campaign on October 28.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by BBSI BOISE…payroll, process and prosperity for your business.

September 28, 1941: Boston Red Sox outfielder Ted Williams goes 6-for-8 in a doubleheader on the final day of the season to finish with a .406 batting average—the last time a major leaguer has topped .400. The closest anyone has come since is San Diego’s Tony Gwynn, who batted .394 in 1994. Three players have hit .372 in the 21st century: Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies and Nomar Garciaparra of the Red Sox in 2000, and Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners in 2004. And oh by the way, on this day in 1960, Williams played the last game of his career and hit a home run in his final at-bat.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)

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