There are countless angles on Boise State’s Jay Ajayi going into the NFL Draft. There are countless angles on Boise State’s Jay Ajayi going into the NFL Draft this week. How about the British angle? One of London’s leading newspapers, the Daily Mail, has a feature on Ajayi, a London native. There’s a photo of the Jay-Train in an Arsensal jersey, standing last week outside the famed British soccer club’s home facility, Emirates Stadium. It was his first trip back to his homeland in 15 years. Ajayi is a big Arsenal fan—he grew up playing soccer before his family moved to the U.S. In fact, the Mail story by Peter Carline contends Ajayi dreamed of playing soccer for the Nigerian national team all the way until his junior year of high school, when he settled once and for all on American football. Carline wishfully hopes he’ll be drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars, “who just happen to be playing in London in November.”
Not much was ever made of this, but Ajayi tied Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon with 192 points last season to become Boise State’s fourth national scoring leader of the new century. The previous three were Brock Forsey in 2002, Tyler Jones in 2004, and Ian Johnson in 2006. Ajayi also set school records last fall in rushing yards, rushing attempts, total touches, rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns. His resume is solid.
It’s unlikely too much time will go by before Boise State announces its discipline for quarterback Ryan Finley over his Friday night arrest. No one in the Bleymaier Football Center wants this to publicly fester. Question is: how far is the door now cracked open for Tommy Stuart, Alex Ogle and Brett Rypien? Coach Bryan Harsin didn’t really establish a pecking order between those three after the Blue & Orange Game two weeks ago. Those hoping that Brett Rypien can be a four-year starter are no doubt thinking it can still happen now, while Harsin clearly Iikes Stuart’s moxie and Ogle’s arm (the latter threw the only touchdown pass of the spring game). It doesn’t seem like people really believe Stuart is a viable candidate, but Harsin always makes sure he’s in the conversation.
Spring football is complete at Idaho State, with the Bengals still identifying their new starting quarterback to replace 2014 FCS passing leader Justin Arias. But when ISU visits the blue turf September 18, it’ll display a fallback attack it dusted off last year after a long period of dormancy: the ground game. All-Big Sky running back Xavier Finney, who led the conference with 1,495 rushing yards last year, didn’t play during spring ball until the Dave Kragthorpe Classic Saturday, when he rushed 10 times for 32 yards. That gave junior Jakori Ford a chance to prove himself as Finney’s running mate. Ford rushed 14 times for 139 yards (9.9 yards per carry) and two touchdowns in the spring game. One of his TDs went for 65 yards.
The Idaho Steelheads have endured many three-game losing streaks during their 18-year history, but none as painful as this one. The Steelheads’ season ended last night when what was once a two games-to-one lead ended up as a four games-to-two elimination in their first round playoff series against the Utah Grizzlies. After sweeping a pair in Boise over the weekend, Utah took a 2-0 lead into the third period last night in West Valley City. And the way the Grizzlies—and goalie Igor Bobkov—have played in the third in this series, it was all but over. They stopped the Steelies 3-0 to advance to the Pacific Division finals against the winner of the Colorado-Ontario series, which ends tonight with Game 7. What a bewildering way for a 48-win season to end.
Just in time for the end of the Steelheads’ season, the ECHL has released its 2015-16 schedule, and for Idaho there’s no more Stockton Thunder or Ontario Reign or Bakersfield Condors. The change will be evident on Opening Night, as the Steelheads will host Rapid City October 16 in CenturyLink Arena. The slate will be wildly different—a lot of inter-divisional play, which will create some newness for fans. Idaho will be hosting Allen, Florida, Missouri and Tulsa during the season and will visit Allen, Florida, Gwinnett, Orlando, Tulsa and Wichita.
Tickets sales for July’s Basque Soccer Friendly are off to a great start, with more than 8,000 sold out of the gate yesterday according to one source. Organizers have 13 weeks now to sell the other 28,000 or so to fill Albertsons Stadium for the match between Atletica Bilbao from Spain and Club Tijuana from Mexico. Prep work on the stadium began yesterday, with grading on the east side beyond the blue turf to smooth out the dip in the area where the old long jump pit sits. That will allow for a perfectly flat surface when the plastic decking that will support the green sod is put down.
The Boise State men’s tennis team can map its itinerary this afternoon when it learns it opponent and destination in the NCAA Championships. The Broncos were upset winners Sunday at the Mountain West Tournament, their fourth straight MW title. “This is so incredibly special,” said Patton. “I have to hand it to these guys. They didn’t ride the highway to this championship. They had to take the back roads.” Boise State is the first school in conference history to win four Mountain West men’s tennis championships, having won the crown in each of its four seasons as a member of the league. Idaho will also be tuning in today after winning the Big Sky championship Sunday. The Vandals had won the WAC title last year.
Sophomore Genevieve Ling has become just second women’s golfer in Boise State history to earn an individual invitation to the NCAA Regional Championships. Ling will play at the East Regional in Raleigh, NC, next week after posting four top-10 finishes this season. Also, a pair of former Boise State wrestlers helped lead the United States to victory in the Pan American freestyle wrestling championships Sunday. Andrew Hochstrasser, a two-time All-American and two-time Pac-12 champion at 133 pounds, won a gold medal via technical fall over Colombia’s Wilmar Hernandez. Jason Chamberlain, a two-time All-American and a three-time conference champ at 149 pounds, earned a gold medal with a 4-0 victory in the finals over Abel Herrera of Peru.
This Day In Sports…April 28, 2007:
Gerald Alexander kicks off the largest NFL Draft class yet in Boise State history when he’s selected in the second round (61st overall) by the Detroit Lions, then the fourth-highest pick ever out of BSU. The Lions even traded up to get the star safety. The following day, wide receiver Legedu Naanee would go to the San Diego Chargers in the fifth round, linebacker Korey Hall to the Green Bay Packers in the sixth, and tight end Derek Schouman to the Buffalo Bills in the seventh. Hall and Schouman were both drafted as fullbacks.
(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.)