And now, something about sacks

This week it’s been all about San Jose State’s Josh Love and his unexpected rise to top three status among Mountain West quarterbacks. Love led the nation in passing yards in October. He’s been able to sit back, survey the field, and sling. So part of Boise State’s pedigree needs to come into play in Spartan Stadium. The Broncos not only have the nation’s third-leading sacker, Curtis Weaver, they’re second in the Mountain West as a team with 21 sacks. San Jose State has allowed only eight sacks all season, so something’s gotta give. Sacks are in Boise State’s DNA—over the last seven seasons, the Broncos have amassed 271 sacks, the most of any Group of 5 school, and they’re tied for eighth nationally. It’s essential that Boise State live up to that in San Jose.

BEND BUT NOT BREAK

Keeping Love and San Jose State out of the end zone Saturday night will be a lot easier if Boise State can keep the Spartans away from the red zone. The Broncos have done a good job of that this season. They’re fourth in the Mountain West in red zone defense, which is okay, but they’re first in fewest red zone trips allowed with just 16. That’s tied for fifth nationally behind Georgia, Utah, Iowa and Wisconsin. San Jose State is averaging 396 yards per game on offense. That’s a middling number. If the Broncos can hold the Spartans to that and keep most of it outside the 20-yard line, they’ll be okay.

TALE OF THE TURNOVERS

You’ve heard a lot about this. San Jose State is second in the nation in interceptions with 13, and Boise State is 97th in the country with just four picks. It has been pointed out, though, that the Spartans don’t have an interception against an FBS team with a winning record. San Jose State is just as good in overall turnover margin. The Spartans are second in the nation there, too, at plus-12. Last year they were a staggering minus-26. The Broncos are even now for the season; that’s 61st in the country. Here’s a scary footnote: San Jose State has scored 58 points off of opponent turnovers compared to the opponents’ seven. It’s National “Take Care of the Ball Night.”

HEALTH CONCERNS IN MOSCOW, CONFIDENCE IN CALDWELL

How healthy is Idaho at quarterback? That’ll go a long way in deciding the outcome of the Vandals’ Big Sky tilt against Cal Poly in the Kibbie Dome. Mason Petrino didn’t play in the 45-21 win over Idaho State, but he’s had a bye week to heal. Colton Richardson starred against the Bengals, but he left the game with a leg injury in the third quarter. Third-stringer Nikhil Nayar finished versus ISU. We’ll see if he’s called upon at some point against the Mustangs. College of Idaho has to feel good about its chances at going 8-0 tomorrow at Eastern Oregon. Confidence starts at quarterback, where Darius-James Peterson not only recorded his school-record third 300-yard passing game last week at Southern Oregon, he pulled to within 276 yards of becoming the Yotes’ career rushing leader. Did I mention DJP’s a QB?

TAYLOR STILL GETTING HIS NFL REPS

In an NFL season that has seen local talk dominated by Alexander Mattison and Kellen and the Cowboys, Jamar Taylor has been way under the radar. But with season-long Seattle cornerback starter Tre Flowers dealing with a neck stinger and made inactive, Taylor logged a season-high 35 defensive snaps against the Atlanta last Sunday. The former Boise standout made seven tackles, six of them solo in Seattle’s 27-20 win. Taylor was signed by the Seahawks after Week 1 and has played in every game since. He has 15 tackles and two forced fumbles in this, his seventh NFL season. Seattle is home at CenturyLink Field Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

TAKEAWAYS FROM PLAYING WEST COAST BAPTIST COLLEGE?

Drawing conclusions from Boise State’s men’s basketball exhibition game Thursday night is challenging. The Broncos routed West Coast Baptist College 95-34 in ExtraMile Arena. That’s a 61-point victory over the Eagles. UNLV beat them last week by 58. No conclusions. But coach Leon Rice did like what he saw from true freshman RayJ Dennis, who scored 14 points and drained four three-pointers. According to Rice, Dennis didn’t look like a point guard in the first half, but he sure did in the second. “He’s got a lot of tools,” Rice said on the Learfield IMG postgame show. Also of note, Derrick Alston led Boise State with 16 points, Robin Jorch added 15 on 7-for-8 shooting, and RJ Williams put up a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

BACK TO THE BIG CLUB

Turns out Chandler Hutchison was sent to the G-League’s Windy City Bulls just to participate in 5-on-5 practices, something he wasn’t able to do with Chicago while rehabbing a hamstring injury. Word is that he’ll be ready to play for the NBA’s Bulls tonight against the Detroit Pistons. Hutchison, the 22nd overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, hasn’t played in a game since January 25 against the L.A. Clippers, two nights after fracturing a toe versus Atlanta.

CAMPUS CHECK

The first look at Boise State women’s basketball comes Saturday afternoon in ExtraMile Arena in an exhibition game against Concordia. The Broncos bring in a bevy of accolades. On Thursday they were picked to win the Mountain West again this season, getting 25 of 29 first-place votes. Braydey Hodgins and Riley Lupfer were named preseason first-team All-MW, with Hodgins nabbing Player of the Year honors. And Oregon transfer Mallory McGwire is the Preseason Newcomer of the Year. Also, today is the day of championship reckoning for the Boise State women’s soccer team. The Broncos can win at least a share of the Mountain West regular season title with a victory at Utah State. They’ve already earned a first-round bye in the conference tournament next week in Boise.

SHOLL IS MINDING THE STEELIES’ STORE

The Idaho Steelheads should enjoy goaltender Tomas Sholl while they have him. He’s playing on an AHL contract and could be called up by the Texas Stars at any time. Sholl has met all expectations in the early part of the 2019-20 season and sits fourth in save percentage among ECHL goalies at .934. He’s also fifth in goals-against average at 1.94. Sholl remains unbeaten in regulation in eight straight games dating back to last March. Idaho plays Utah three times this weekend, tonight in CenturyLink Arena and Saturday and Sunday in West Valley City. Call it a home-and-home-home series. The Steelheads now have 100 all-time wins against the Grizzlies, more than any other team. The Steelies’ record against Utah is a symmetrical 100-50-25.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by MAZ-TECH AUTOMOTIVE…your car says, “Take me to Maz-Tech!”

November 1, 2015: The Kansas City Royals win the World Series for the first time in 30 years after rallying for a 12-inning 7-2 Game 5 victory over the New York Mets. The Royals trailed at one point in all four of their victories, becoming the first team since the L.A. Angels in 2002 to come from behind in all four World Series wins. In fact, Kansas City overcame a deficit eight times in its 11 postseason triumphs that year. It was the first Fall Classic ever to match two teams that were originally expansion franchises. The Mets had been seeking their first title in 29 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.)

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