Three choices for a quarterback. Pitch the ball to running back A, running back B, or keep it himself. The triple option. Three choices for a running quarterback. Pitch the ball to running back A, running back B, or keep it himself. Defending this thing is just not fun. We’ll have plenty of time next week to talk about the Broncos’ experiences with Air Force. As for New Mexico, the Lobos gashed Boise State in the second half three years ago before falling 32-29—and, of course, in the first half last season before dropping that 60-49 track meet to the Broncos. “I just tell ‘em to tackle the guy with the ball,” grinned coach Bryan Harsin Monday. But seriously, folks. “They’re counting on guys not to do their jobs,” said Harsin of the Lobos. Which is something that happened to the Broncos last year in Albuquerque. “We respect this team, and we’ve got to come out and play better than we did last year.”
Linebacker Ben Weaver has memories of last year’s New Mexico game. “Not fond ones,” he said. “But stuff that we definitely reflect on and use to get better this year.” Weaver particularly remembers Teriyon Gipson, who hung 205 rushing yards on the Broncos last November. “He’s definitely a fantastic player—fast, physical, changes direction well,” Weaver said. Coaches talk a lot about “eyes.” It’s all about having defenders’ eyes in the right place tomorrow night on the blue turf. “If you lose your guy, he can end up with a touchdown,” noted Weaver. “Can you be disciplined for 80 plays?”
New Mexico coach Bob Davie says quarterbacks Lamar Jordan and Austin Apodaca both will play against Boise State tomorrow night. Which brings up the fourth option, the surprise passing play. Apodaca is seen as the passing specialist among the two. But it was Jordan who hit Delane Hart-Johnson with the game-turning 86-yard touchdown throw last week in the Lobos’ upset of Utah State. Here are the QB numbers for that game. Jordan was 2-of-5 for 97 yards and rushed for 45 yards on 11 carries. Apodaca was 2-of-5 for seven yards and had minus-11 yards on the ground, but Davie is not shying away from his situational two-quarterback approach.
If the Mountain West is to regain its football perch atop the Group of Five conferences, the lower-echelon programs are going to have to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. A good New Mexico football program would benefit the conference greatly, and the Lobos appear to be on their way. UNM is 5-5 in its last 10 Mountain West games after going 5-41 in its previous 46 conference contests. Elsewhere in the MW tomorrow, the one game that affects Boise State is Utah State at Air Force. Now it’s the Aggies who Bronco Nation is pulling for. What a difference a week makes.
Despite its glaring stumbles the past two weeks, the Idaho defense is improved this season, and Quinton Bradley is at the core. The defensive end from San Antonio is having a terrific senior year and was added midseason to the Ted Hendricks Award watch list. Bradley is second in the Sun Belt in sacks with six and tackles-for-loss with 13. He has 43 tackles overall, plus a fumble recovery and six pass breakups. The second half, especially recently, has driven the Vandals’ defensive numbers up—they’re allowing 486 yards and 41 points per game. And tomorrow in the Kibbie Dome they face one of the Sun Belt’s best. Appalachian State leads the conference in total offense, scoring offense, total defense and scoring defense.
College of Idaho is set for its first Senior Day since 1977 when it hosts Carroll College tomorrow at Simplot Stadium. The Coyotes had one senior last year, Boise State transfer Greg Dohmen, but he was granted another year of eligibility. So Dohmen will be introduced with 13 other Yote seniors, including quarterback Teejay Gordon, a key cog in getting the program relaunched the past two seasons. Gordon needs just four yards passing against Carroll to become C of I’s all-time leader in that category. He’s already the first Coyote quarterback ever to pass for over 2,000 yards in a season and the first player to eclipse 5,000 yards in total offense for a career. An upset of the perennial NAIA power from Helena tomorrow would trump it all, though.
There are five Boise State alums on postseason rosters as the CFL Playoffs open on Sunday. You have Mike Atkinson and Cleshawn Page of the Hamilton Tigercats, Brandyn Thompson and Jon Gott with the Ottawa RedBlacks, and Geraldo Boldewijn of the BC Lions. Thompson has had the best season of the bunch with 42 tackles and three interceptions. Little-known fact: there have been nine former Broncos to drink from the Grey Cup as CFL champions: Cedric Minter in 1983, Mark Urness in 1989, Dave Vankoughnett in 1990, Michel Bourgeau in 1993, Nate Sparks in 2000, Stefan Reed in 2002, Bart Hendricks in 2003, TJ Acree in 2006, and Andrew Woodruff in 2009-10.
How about a trap game right out of the gate for Boise State men’s basketball tonight? The Broncos venture into hostile territory to take on Montana, the defending Big Sky regular-season champion. This is Boise State’s first trip to Missoula since 2009—the Broncos have lost their last three games at Montana, with the last win coming more than 20 years ago during their own Big Sky days. Anthony Drmic makes his official return tonight, his first real-for-real game since last December. But Drmic was magnificent in Boise State’s 72-67 double-overtime win over the Grizzlies earlier in the season in Taco Bell Arena. He scored 29 points, 12 of them in the two OTs. The Broncos hope the Griz never know he was gone.
Housekeeping for tonight’s game: Boise State doesn’t have much to go on in preparing for the guy who might be Montana’s best player, Snow College transfer Walter Wright. He introduced himself to Dahlberg Arena fans with 31 points in the Grizzlies’ exhibition win over Whitworth last week. Wright scored 49 points in a game for Snow last season. Montana is going to be a tough assignment, and the Broncos are going to need the little things in this one. Like free throws, for example. They went just 14-of-27 from the line in the exhibition win over Northwest University.
On the pro side, the Idaho Stampede open the 2015-16 season tonight at Rio Grande Valley. The Stampede have the same coach, Dean Cooper, but a new feel under the new ownership of the Utah Jazz. E.J. Singler, the former Oregon Duck (not OSU Beaver—way to go yesterday, Tom) is the early favorite to emerge as a leader on this club. And the Idaho Steelheads had a new man between the pipes last night, Maxime Lagace, who was reassigned from the AHL’s Texas Stars earlier in the day. Lagace couldn’t withstand a third-period Orlando onslaught, and the Steelheads fell to the Solar Bears 5-4. Idaho has now lost four in a row.
Other various and sundries: Nampa’s Tyler Aldridge carded a two-under 71 yesterday and is tied for 41st after the first round of the OHL Classic in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Former Boise State standout Ty Travis missed the cut by one stroke in his first professional tournament, the Nevada Open in Mesquite. His goal is a spot on the Canadian PGA Tour next summer. And the Boise State cross country teams compete at the NCAA West Regional in Seattle today. The women are ranked ninth in the country and the men 24th. The big story, as it has been all season, is Bronco true freshman Allie Ostrander, who won the Mountain West individual title two weeks ago in Reno.
This Day In Sports…November 13, 1985, 30 years ago today:
In a game played in Spokane, Lynette Woodard becomes the first woman to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. She had scored over 3,600 career points at Kansas—the most in women’s college basketball history—and was the captain of the US team that won the gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics. Woodard scored seven points as the Globetrotters defeated their perennial opponents, the Washington Generals, 81-65.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)