At one time, A.J. Richardson was kind of a mystical figure among followers of Boise State football recruiting. This story dates all the way back to National Letter of Intent Day in 2013. Richardson announced his commitment to the Broncos that morning but didn’t sign his Letter of Intent and wasn’t officially announced as part of the class by the Broncos. He indicated at the time he’d be grayshirting due to what he called “a slight injury.” Richardson was once a Cal commit before the firing of coach Jeff Tedford, which will make for an interesting game on November 9 when Fresno State comes to town. But all’s well that ends well. “The environment up there, the fans, the team, the coaches—everything felt perfect,” Richardson told FoxSports of his visit to Boise State.
Richardson has certainly fostered that environment with his electric play since late last season. The journey started slowly. Richardson finally enrolled in the spring of 2014 and redshirted that year, and the following two seasons he wore No. 28 and caught a combined 12 passes for 155 yards. His only touchdown during that stretch came on a trick play, an 11-yard pass from Thomas Sperbeck against Colorado State in 2016. Then came Richardson’s junior year, when he steadily became a bigger factor, culminating with a 123-yard night against Air Force that included an 87-yard TD throw from Brett Rypien. He’s blown it out of the water this season with 33 catches for 567 yards. Richardson’s six touchdown receptions are tied for fourth in the Mountain West.
The biggest danger to Air Force Saturday is Rypien and his wide receivers. But tight ends finally put their stamp on a Boise State game again last Friday—Garrett Collingham in particular. The one-time Mountain View quarterback had two catches for 27 yards, 26 of it on a big third-and-20 grab in the second quarter. Collingham also scored his first career touchdown on a four-yard run. He’s turned into the quintessential Boise State walk-on story (I smell a scholarship on the way). “That’s kind of the Bronco way right there—guys like that,” said coach Bryan Harsin Monday. Also among tight ends in the CSU game, Matt Pistone finally made his first career reception. And Chase Blakley not only made three catches for 15 yards, he also logged his first career kickoff return (of all things), rumbling for 15 yards.
Devon Modster, now a former UCLA quarterback, paid a visit to Boise State (and his brother Sean) last weekend. Devon saw big bro catch two touchdown passes in the 56-28 win over Colorado State. The younger Modster left the Bruins in late September and transferred to Palomar College, a JC in Southern California. He’ll have two years of eligibility at whichever school he chooses this winter. Modster told 247 Sports that Bronco offensive coordinator Zak Hill was at least interested. “He said they’re still evaluating what they want to do and he would let me know by December if they were going to take an older guy or if they want a young guy out of high school,” said Modster. Boise State already has a commitment from “a young guy out of high school,” four-star prospect Hank Bachmeier.
There are two true traditional rivalries in the Mountain West: Nevada-UNLV and Colorado State-Wyoming. The latter revs up Friday night, as the Cowboys visit the Rams in Fort Collins in the 109th renewal of the Border War. And CSU, coming off its 28-point loss on the blue turf, will have a new starting quarterback. The Rams are going with sophomore Collin Hill, who came off the bench in place of K.J. Carta-Samuels in the fourth quarter last Friday and went 12-of-14 for 135 yards and a touchdown. This will be Hill’s first start in more than two years. “I think we need a spark as a football team,” said Mike Bobo, coach of 3-5 Colorado State.
Dating back to the Austin Rehkow days, Idaho has always known it could get something special out of its kicking game. It’s Cade Coffey doing double-duty for the Vandals now, and the sophomore from Rathdrum is the Big Sky Special Teams Player of the Week after averaging 51.8 yards per punt in last Saturday’s 31-12 win over Southern Utah. Coffey drilled an 80-yard punt against the Thunderbirds, second only to Flip Kleffner’s 82-yard boot in 1953 in Idaho history. Coffey also nailed a field goal and made all four of his extra points. The Vandals are gearing up for Eastern Washington on Saturday in a game that could develop into a natural rivalry.
There’s plenty of buzz on the College of Idaho campus with the Coyotes suddenly having won three games in a row. Quarterback Darius-James Peterson added to it with NAIA National Offensive Player of the Week accolades after rushing for 100 yards and three touchdowns—and adding 266 passing yards and a career-high three touchdown throws in the 45-34 upset of No. 14 Southern Oregon. Peterson, defensive back Nik Lyons and kicker Kyle Mitchell swept Frontier Conference honors this week. The Yotes host Eastern Oregon for Senior Day on Saturday at Simplot Stadium. Also, the preseason NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coaches Poll was released yesterday, and C of I is No. 3. It’s the Yotes’ highest preseason ranking in 19 years.
We’ve been waiting for something to go in the stat column under the name Tanner Vallejo this year in the NFL. Vallejo, now with the Cleveland Browns, finally has numbers now. The former Boise State standout made two nice special teams tackles in the Browns’ 26-23 overtime loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday. George Iloka also started slowly with his new team, the Minnesota Vikings. Iloka was 0-for-September but has rounded into shape in October. He started at strong safety in the Vikings’ 37-17 win over the Jets, making two tackles one week after logging eight stops in a victory over Arizona. Veteran Orlando Scandrick seems to have settled in as a Kansas City Chief as well. Scandrick led K.C. with six tackles and a pass breakup in the 45-10 Sunday Night Football rout of Cincinnati.
Lexus Williams will at least get a chance to play in front of NBA scouts if he decides to stay stateside, as the Texas Legends selected the former Boise State guard in the second round of the G-League draft. The graduate transfer from Valparaiso finished his career impressively as a Bronco, averaging 9.5 points per game. Of course, the singular play Williams will be remembered for at Boise State will be the buzzer-beating halfcourt shot that beat Oregon 73-70 in Eugene last December. Side note: if Williams ends up on the Legends roster, he’ll be coached by Bob MacKinnon, who led the Idaho Stampede in 2009-10.
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October 24, 2015: Weiser’s Lauren Bouvia wraps up her junior year with more goals than anyone in American high school soccer history. Bouvia scored a second-half hat trick to lead the Wolverines to a 4-1 win over Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy in the 3A championship game. She finished with a record 16 goals in three games during the state tournament and a staggering 127 for the season. Bouvia is now in her sophomore season at UC Davis, awaiting her first collegiate goal.
(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.)