It could be considered a “fantastic finish” in the Albertsons Stadium history book—a missed field goal in overtime by Wyoming to send Boise State storming onto the field with a crucial 20-17 victory. But it was so unnecessary that it got that far. These Broncos have warts, and many of them showed Saturday night. A Cowboys team that was allowing 289 yards a game through the air yielded only 194 on the blue turf. Sure, Chase Cord was at quarterback instead of Hank Bachmeier. But Cord was being knocked into next week all night because of Boise State’s inability to deal with the Wyoming blitz. The Broncos wanted to counter on the ground, but their running backs were held to 40 yards on 14 carries, including a lost fumble that was nearly disastrous. The “complete game” remains as elusive as ever.
The tweets began as soon as Boise State took the field for pregame warmups. There is no Bachmeier in the Broncos’ quarterbacks group. And so it was official, Cord would start for Boise State against Wyoming. It was a surprise, considering Bachmeier had returned to the game the week before against San Jose State after being injured and then finished the game. And he talked to the media for the first time last week. Did it have to do with Bachmeier’s throwing shoulder? Well, after coming back in versus the Spartans, he was 3-for-3 for 46 yards. He threw his last pass of the game with just under 10 minutes left before the Broncos went exclusively to the run.
WHIMPEY’S LATE-GAME WALLOP
It was about this time last year that Riley Whimpey’s season ended with a torn ACL. This year, Whimpey is hitting full stride. Consider the three defensive plays that led to Boise State’s victory Saturday night. Whimpey was the guy who stuffed Xazavian Valladay for a one-yard loss on fourth-and-one at the Broncos’ 39 with 31 seconds left. On the first play of Wyoming’s overtime possession, Whimpey stayed with his assignment on a flea-flicker and broke up a pass in the end zone. And on third-and-four, he stoned Valladay again for a two-yard loss, forcing a field goal that was just a little bit too far out. Whimpey led Boise State with 12 tackles, two for loss, and two pass breakups. He’s now the Broncos’ leading tackler on the season with 49.
THE TASK AT HAND
The AP and Coaches Polls go from highly scrutinized to largely ignored once the first College Football Playoff rankings are released. So the largely ignored fact is, despite a mighty struggle to get there, Boise State is 8-1 and is up to No. 19 in both major polls. All five of the Group of 5 teams in the rankings are right in a row, from Nos. 17 to 21. But the one that counts comes from the CFP committee, and that will be tomorrow night. It’s time to forget about all of that, though. A Mountain West championship needs to be the sole focus for this team. The game was on the ESPN mothership Saturday night, and it did not look impressive—285 yards of offense and only 15 first downs. But in the Broncos’ defense, the other four contenders in the New Year’s Six race all have their deficiencies.
‘WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS’
Strike up Queen. The Yotes have done it. And they did it the way champions so often do, rallying from a 20-7 deficit to beat Montana Western 38-27 Saturday at Simplot Stadium. College of Idaho corralled three turnovers in the third quarter and turned them all into touchdowns. The result is a solo Frontier Conference championship, the first outright league title for C of I since it won the Northwest Conference in 1953, as well as a school-record 15-game winning streak. The Yotes are in excellent position for not only their first-ever appearance in the NAIA Playoffs, but a first-round home game in the tournament on Saturday, November 23.
QUICK START, DOWNER OF A FINISH
When Idaho fed off a forced fumble and an interception by Tyrese Dedmon to burst out to a 10-0 second-quarter lead at Montana Saturday, it was “upset alert” time. But the Grizzlies were alerted, and they ended up rolling to a 42-17 victory over the Vandals, outscoring UI 28-7 in the second half. Mason Petrino threw for 242 yards and rushed for 39, but was just 21-of-41 on the day, and Idaho’s tumble was exacerbated by two interceptions and two lost fumbles from the senior quarterback. Idaho’s Aundre Carter, who had romped for 179 yards the previous week versus Cal Poly, was held to 44 yards on 14 carries. The Little Brown Stein stays in Missoula.
DUCKS COULD NOT HAVE BEEN HOTTER
Boise State’s 106-75 men’s hoops loss at Oregon Saturday night looks really bad. And it is—the most points given up by the Broncos in regulation in almost 45 years and one of less than two dozen 100-point games the team has allowed in its history (and the first in almost nine years). It was a very sobering night. But nobody could have figured the Ducks would shoot an unconscious 70 percent from the floor and 68 percent from three-point range. Former New Mexico foe Anthony Mathis poured in 30 points for Oregon and went 9-for-12 from beyond the arc. Really? Boise State’s Derrick Alston did nothing to diminish his rising value in front of NBA scouts in Eugene, though, scoring 28 points and going 4-for-9 from deep.
A TEST THAT WILL PAY DIVIDENDS
The value of the Preseason WNIT to Boise State women’s basketball is in the chance to be battle-tested for the long haul. Mission accomplished Sunday, as the Broncos and Missouri State went to the wire in ExtraMile Arena. The Lady Bears, the defending Missouri Valley champions coming off a Sweet 16 run, eked out a 72-69 win over the Broncos. Mallory McGwire was a menace for Boise State, scoring 19 points with 17 rebounds. The Broncos opened the Preseason WNIT with an 82-57 thumping of defending Big Sky Tournament champion Portland State Friday night. Fans saw some vintage Riley Lupfer, as she scored 20 points and drained six three-pointers.
SHERLE’S STORYBOOK SENIOR YEAR
It came down to one winner-take-all game for the Mountain West women’s soccer championship Sunday before a full house at the Boas Complex. And who would nail Boise State’s first goal? Raimee Sherle, of course. The MW’s all-time scoring leader tallied in the 17th minute, and the Broncos went on to beat San Diego State 2-0 to win their first Mountain West title. Sherle now has 16 goals for this season and 61 for her career. And it ain’t over yet. Boise State has earned its first NCAA Tournament bid in 10 years (and only the second ever) and will find out its destination and first-round opponent this afternoon.
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November 11, 1967: With former Borah Lion Steve Preece at quarterback, the Oregon State Beavers continue their dizzying ride through the upper echelons of college football, upsetting top-ranked USC, 3-0, on a second quarter field goal. The OSU defense scrambled to keep O.J. Simpson out of the end zone despite a 188-yard day from the Trojans’ Heisman Trophy tailback. Earlier in the season the Beavers had beaten Purdue and UCLA, each ranked no. 2 at the time. This would be USC’s only loss on the way to a Rose Bowl crown and a national championship.
(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.)